No chin music for Indians

Imported grass at Barbados may save visitors from short-pitched balls

No chin music for Indians

Given the events that unfolded in the previous edition of the WorldT20 in England, it’s not surprising that doubts are being raised if the young guns have the wherewithal to stand up to the short-pitched stuff. And it’s a supreme irony that these questions are directly aimed at a batsman who is in the form of his life. Suresh Raina, since his fall from grace during the ill-fated India’s campaign in England and the subsequent rise, has worked hard on his technique while handling the rising ball. At the preparatory camp in the immediacy of the World T20 disaster, the youngster had extensive sessions with coach Gary Kirsten, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid to sort out the chink in his batting armour.

 How much of those hard yards put in has worked for the left-hander is yet not known, but it’s a given that rival bowlers are going to work at his perceived short-coming and it will be interesting to see how he copes up with it. More than the technical part, it will be the mental aspect that will be critical as he prepares for the challenge.

 Gautam Gambhir, one of the better players of a rising delivery, wasn’t too perturbed at the talk. “We haven’t played on this wicket so we don’t know how it will play. We have heard from people that it has a got a lot more bounce in it than at St Lucia,” he offered.  
 The left-hander, however, said going into a match with pre-conceived ideas wasn’t going to help much. “You can’t go into the match with set ideas just because the wicket is sluggish or fast. Sometimes it works the other way when a guy goes and turns it around in six overs. You have seen how one player can change the course of the game when Suresh Raina scored a hundred against South Africa,” he explained.

 Boasting of perhaps the best pace attack in the competition, Australia pose the biggest challenge to Indian batsmen when the two clash in their Super Eights’ Group F opener on Friday. The match might just be the precursor of things to follow and needless to say the other two teams in the group, Sri Lanka and Windies, will be keenly watching the proceedings to base their own strategies.    

 Admittedly, the Beausejour pitch was on the slower side as is the case with most of the pitches across the Caribbean. While it is true that the wickets in this part of the world have slowed down over the past few years, the one at Kensington Oval has managed to retain some of its old charm though the warm-up matches showed that there was plenty on offer for the spinners, further evidenced during Wednesday’s Bangladesh-Australia match when the Bangla spinners had Aussie batsmen on the mat at one stage.
 Carl Boom, a former Barbados cricketer, gives his own spin on the nature of wickets here. “Barbados people are traditionalists, for them grass at the wicket is important to the game of cricket. Unfortunately the grass at Bridgetown is an imported one, and I can tell you there won’t be much bounce,” he says.

That should come as music to Indian batsmen who are expecting some chin music.

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