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MI bowling mentor quietly confident about his wards combating RCB’s big guns
By IPL Staff
Bengaluru 13 May 2012
With Rohit Sharmastorming his way back into form with a century against KKR and Herschelle Gibbs hitting the ground running after returning from a finger injury, the Mumbai Indians look a different side now. As they take on theRoyal Challengers Bangaloreat the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, they have a chance to avenge their crushing home defeat. Sitting in third place in the points table, MI will also look to widen the one-point gap between themselves and RCB to press a claim on a playoff spot.
Shaun Pollock, MI’s bowling mentor, spoke to the media ahead of the crucial game. Without revealing much, he assured that his team has plans for RCB’s two big guns –Chris Gayle andAB de Villiers.
The Chris Gayle factor
At the moment, what separates him from the others is the fact that he’s consistent. There are many people who can hit the ball hard, but he’s been doing it consistently. We realise that he’s a very important player for them and we’ve come with our plans to combat that. If we get him early, it will be a big blow for RCB.
AB de Villiers
There’s no doubt he’s a quality player and is now leading South Africa. The first time I saw him, I knew he’ll be a quality cricketer. Along with Gayle, he’s a big player for them. I hope he doesn’t play well against us, and when South Africa go to the World Twenty20 [hope] he’s brilliant.
Lack of yorkers in T20
I played in the pre-T20 era when people like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were brilliant in bowling those yorkers. But fortunately for them there was no one playing the paddles, the reverse paddle sweeps and all those different shots. If batsmen play straight down the ground, the yorkers are No.1 option. But when batsmen go down on their knee to sweep one to the fine-leg or third man when it is up, it is quite tough to pull off the yorker. Having said that, it is still the most effective delivery in cricket and the guys practise it. But nowadays, it is important to know when to bowl it.
Abu Nechim’s absence this season
There’s nothing stopping him from going [to] the next level. It’s just that the MI attack has changed from the last year. Last year, we didn’t have guys like RP Singh and Pragyan Ojha. These are both India international bowlers, and when you have them, there’s not much opportunity for guys like Nechim. We have some other fine bowlers like Dhawal Kulkarni and Rahul Shukla as well. As a coach, it’s frustrating for me that these guys are not getting opportunities because when you work so hard on the players, you want to see how they’re responding. But the team’s make-up doesn’t allow them all a place in the playing XI. Herschell Gibbs’ return
Gibbs opened in the last game for us. Unfortunately, he wasn’t available for us in the previous games as he had broken his finger and was out for five weeks.
RCB bowling coach reveals how change in bowling strategy has worked for the team
By IPL Staff
Bengaluru 13 May 2012
After faltering in the first-half of the league stage, theRoyal Challengers Bangalore have got back to winning ways with three consecutive victories under their belt. They now take on theMumbai Indians– a team that has shown similar resurgence and is currently the biggest adversary for RCB on the points table.
I their last encounter, RCB defeated MI comfortably in their own backyard. The biggest factor behind that victory was the quick wickets taken by RCB bowlers to put their team on top from the word go. It was a refreshing change from the early-innings bashing that the Royal Challengers bowlers have often taken in the season. Ahead of their home game against MI, RCB bowling coach, Venkatesh Prasad, addressed the media and revealed the work that went into improving his bowlers’ performance. Daniel Vettori’s magnanimity
Looks like that. It’s difficult to say about the team’s composition right now, but Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan] has done really well so far, and I hope that he continues in the same way. It was really magnanimous of Dan to sit out for the team’s balance despite being the captain. It proved to be a very good move. AB de Villiers’s brilliance
He’s extremely effective at the end of the innings with his pyrotechnics with the bat. He has an amazing hand-eye co-ordination and his feet movement is extremely quick. That not only helps him get into the position early on, but also enables him to change his position quickly to play those sweeps and reverse sweeps. It’s not possible to play such shots without extraordinary footwork. The importance of bowlers in T20
It’s important for us to just keep winning and not look too much on what the other teams are doing. Although it is a batsman’s game, the bowlers play a very important role. Every run not conceded counts, especially in the first and the last six overs, when we generally see the runs leaking. Whenever the bowlers have done well, the teams have been in a position to win. Abhimanyu Mithun’s technical glitch
There is a slight technical issue with his bowling, which we’re looking to address. Since we’re playing every second or third day, this is not the time to work on any technical aspect as we need to keep everyone in game mode. His non-bowling arm just opens up and hence he tends to push the ball to the right hander on middle and leg. Often, when that happens, the ball goes way down the leg side. Also, in order to compensate for that, he’ll bowl the next ball on the fourth or fifth stump, trying to get it back into the batsman. By doing that, he ends up giving width to the batsman to cut the ball. It’s a highly mental aspect. But if he can sort out the technical aspect of it, the mindset will also improve. I’ve been talking to him about that issue and he’s trying on his part to correct it as well. Turnaround in bowling plans
It took some time doing that. We have been talking about that issue since a long time, and especially the lengths and lines we were bowling and what the ideal areas to bowl in were. In the end, everyone felt that a good ball is a good ball in any format. So, instead of taking too much pressure of doing fancy things thinking it’s the T20 format, we concentrated on bowling wicket to wicket and slightly on the fuller side. I’ll cite the example of the match we played here against KXIP. There was a bit of help from the pitch, but we bowled on the shorter side. Mandeep Singh played those pull shots and took the game away from us. That showed we bowled the wrong length. It took a long time to convince the bowlers, but in the end, they understood the importance of bowling fuller. Having said that, it also depends on the kind of wicket. It is very important to understand what the right length is on a particular track and adapt accordingly. Virat Kohli the leader
He’s been very vibrant on the field and has been taking up the key positions as far as fielding is concerned. He doesn’t believe in staying in the 30-yard circle just because he is a captain. He also mans long-on, mid-wicket, etc, which are key positions in a T20 game. This shows he’s ready to up responsibilities in every way. His bowling changes have been fantastic in the last three games or so. He’s also someone who’s ready to listen to what the coaches have to say in terms of selecting the bowling attack and the strategies.