Bowling at the death always a test: Bichel

CSK bowling coach hints at unchanged line-up

Chennai 27 April 2013
Having gained momentum in the tournament with four consecutive wins, Chennai Super Kings are keen to bank on continuity when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders at home.

The fact that they have been able to get through the line without the services of their injured overseas stars Ablie Morkel and Dirk Nannes is a further pleasing factor for the team.

On the eve of the KKR match, CSK’s bowling coach Andy Bichel hinted the team would field the same playing XI that won them their last two matches, against Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

“We have a few little injuries around the place. Eight games in and we’re looking to play the same side to play Sunday’s game,” Bichel said. While he almost ruled out Morkel’s comeback in the XI for the game, Bichel said Nannes could take the field after recovering well.

“Albie is in the process of recovering; he’s bowling in the nets but I think it might be a little early for him to play again. But Dirk has made some good progress over the last week and depending how he gets through the fitness test, he has a good chance of playing on Sunday,” Bichel said.
While discussing his bowling attack, the CSK bowling mentor also touched upon the aspect of T20 bowling that is most talked about – bowling at the death.

“It’s always an interesting issue in T20 format,” Bichel said, adding, “I think of all the matches we’ve played so far we’ve been under the pump only three times. It’s okay if No.9 and 10 are at the crease and you’re bowling yorkers at them.

“It’s those times when AB de Villiers, Steven Smith and the likes are at the crease when the bowlers are tested. It’s a challenge for all our bowlers to keep on improving on that aspect. We certainly have a strong focus on that in our training,” he said before explaining the system the team has put in place in the nets to help bowlers improve their death bowling.

“We bowl with new balls and old ones in the net session and create a set-up that matches our batting line-up. We see that Vijay and Michael Hussey face the new ball and MS Dhoni bats against the old one.

“Bowlers are told where their fields are and we try to have a match scenario. But we don’t have 50,000 people in the stadium and the scoreboard that matters, which makes a difference. That’s the only problem,” he said.

Considering that the wickets are gradually slowing down, Bichel admitted the discussion of playing an extra spinner will arise at some point. However, he was reluctant on changing the formula that is working for the team so far.

“It’s a big decision to change that formula. But for the fact that it is turning a bit, maybe (Suresh) Raina comes in as an option. It’s a big one to make but we will have to assess the conditions and they are changing week by week.”
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