Monday, August 6, 2007

Let's not get psyched out

Everyone seems to be expecting the English bowlers to come hard at us at the Oval. That means bouncers. Tremlett and Anderson unleashed a barrage of those on the final day at Trent Bridge, perhaps at the behest of their South African bowling coach Alan Donald, who often used the tactic against the Indians to soften them up. It also paid dividends. Sachin Tendulkar, after getting grilled in the first innings, turned one dug into his ribs into the hands of short leg with only a few runs left to get for victory. Dinesh Karthick pushed at a rising ball to be caught behind, and Wasim Jaffer has been dismissed more than once to the short stuff already in the series. Sourav Ganguly's discomfort against it is well known, even if he is more determined after his comeback to get out of the way or even take a blow but not hole out or fend it off. So, perhaps it's understandable that Sachin and Sourav are spending hours at a bowling machine practising to deal with short pitch bowling. But chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar's comment that the Indians know what to expect seems an over-reaction. Anderson and Tremlett should hardly be the sort to get an experienced batting line-up such as ours into such a tizzy over bouncers. Besides, the bouncer barrage on the final day may have been designed by Donald precisely to throw the Indians off-track. My own feeling is that it is good old English seam and swing bowling that will again do the trick for both teams in the third test, and we should really be practising for that instead of getting all psyched out.

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