India vs South Africa: SA bowlers’ strategy to bowl short-pitched balls to India backfires

first_imgBhuvneshwar Kumar praised the Indian batsmen for the way they handled short-pitched deliveries in the ongoing South African tour and especially the first T20I in Johannesburg.There is a general belief that Indians are not good players of short deliveries and in the past, teams have used that to their advantage to unsettle the batsmen. But on Sunday, it was a different story altogether. The fairly inexperienced Proteas pacers bowled short for the first six to seven overs and were hammered all around the park by the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and the returning Suresh Raina.WATCHBhuvneshwar, who starred with the ball on Sunday, said South Africa’s tactics to unsettle Indian batsmen with short-pitched balls back-fired at the New Wanderers.(SEE PHOTOS)”Whenever India travel abroad, the reputation is that India are not good at batting against short bowling. This time we have not seen that thing. We have really tackled it well. Today they bowled 5-6 overs of short bowling to us early on and it really backfired on them,” Bhuvneshwar said after India’s 28-run win.”Whatever the reputation we had, in the last few years we are playing totally opposite of that. We have managed the short ball pretty well on this tour. They wanted to bowl short but it didn’t really work well for them,” he added.The batsmen did their job well on a flat track but it was ultimately Bhuvneshwar himself, who turned the tide in India’s favour with his maiden five-wicket haul in T20Is. The UP pacer picked up 5 for 24 to help India restrict South Africa to 175-9 in 20 overs.advertisement”What I was trying to do is bring about the change of pace in my bowling. I just wanted to take the pace off the ball because I knew it won’t be easy to hit the ball and that’s what I did. The important thing is how you mix your deliveries according to the wicket,” he said.”For instance, today we bowled a lot of slow balls. It was a part of our strategy on this wicket, to do away with pace and make it difficult for the batsmen to score. Apart from line and length, it’s important to understand how you want to mix your deliveries. It matters. Today, for instance, it was about bowling slow,” the 28-year-old added.The pacer hailed the team’s 28-run win in the first T20I as a “complete performance”.”When we went in there, we knew what we wanted to do as best as a bowling team. We lost the first two Test matches and then we came back. The momentum was on our side and if momentum is on your side, you have got to make it count. Credit has to go the Indian team for the way we have played in every department,” he said.FITNESS IS THE KEYBhuvi’s five wickets on Sunday was the second by an Indian in T20Is and first by a pacer in the shortest format of the game. Yuzvendra Chahal is the only other Indian to pick five wickets in the 20-over format. Incidentally, on Sunday, he also became the first Indian to have five-wicket hauls in all the formats of the game. And talking about his success, he said that getting fitter has helped him reach this level.”First thing, it comes with fitness. It’s not easy playing all three formats, especially on a single tour. So the first thing before coming here what I wanted to do is manage workload. I wanted to practice but in a specific way, so as to not put extra workload on the body,” said Bhuvneshwar.”Taking wickets means a lot to me when you play for your country. It doesn’t matter if you take five wickets or how many as long as you’re winning matches for your country. That’s what matters and taking fifers in every format feels good. I want to do it as long as possible,” he added.Bhuvneshwar said batting first on the Wanderers pitch gave them ample idea about the nature of the wicket and it helped when they returned to defend their total.”After we batted, we had a certain idea of the kind of wicket we would be bowling on after what we saw. But the whole picture begins to emerge only after you’ve bowled because it depends on the bowlers,” he said.”Look at their bowlers, they’re of a different height and have different skill sets. So you get an idea but as I said, the whole thing emerges only after you’ve bowled a few balls. For instance, if I’ve bowled the first over, I can communicate with the rest of the bowlers what’s happening on the wicket,” the pacer added.advertisementlast_img

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