Make NZ batsmen play every ball, Srinath's tells pacers

Make the batsmen play every ball on the front foot - is Javagal Srinath's advice to the likes of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma for the NZ tour.

updated: February 17, 2009 14:10 IST
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Pitch it up and make the batsmen play every ball on the front foot - is former India spearhead Javagal Srinath's advice to the likes of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma for the tour of New Zealand.

According to Srinath, instead of trying to beat the bat, the target before Zaheer and Ishant would be to make the opponents play as much as they can.

"The most important thing is that the fundamentals or the rudiments of the art of pace bowling will not change in them. You got to pitch the ball in the right areas with correct length," Srinath said.

"Broadly, they should not allow the ball to go to the wicketkeeper. They should pitch the ball up and make the batsmen play each delivery. The more they make the batsmen play on the front foot, the better results they would reap," he said.

And once they get early breakthrough, there should not be any let up in intensity, Srinath said.

"When the conditions are good for pace bowling, the bowler will have to play a huge role and should not allow the batsmen to settle. Sometimes when you get wickets you will be able to demolish the opponents for 150 or 200. That is the kind of wickets you get in New Zealand," he said.

Srinath felt the third seamer -- whether it's Lakshmipathy Balaji, Dhawal Kulkarni or Munaf Patel -- would have an important role to play in the three-match Test series.

"I am sure Zaheer and Ishant understand international cricket pretty well. They know the lines and adapt pretty good.

"In my opinion it will be a huge responsibility for the third seamer as he has to really stand up and deliver. Balaji, Dhawal or Munaf, whoever is going to be the third seam bowler has to really change gear to be as effective or at least 80 percent of what Zaheer and Ishant do.

"In that case, I think these guys (Zaheer and Ishant) will not be over bowled. It is important for these guys to come effectively in short spells before the third bowler takes over," he said.

Asked who would be the best choice for the third seamer's job, Srinath said, "All the three are on the same boat. It is up to the captain and the management to see and pick the best among them. Only thing is that the third fast bowler need to play in all the three games. Chopping and changing the third fast bowler in all the Test matches will not do any good to the main fast bowlers.

"It is good to see Balaji making a comeback. Going by performance, Dhawal has earned a place for his Ranji Trophy performance. Both of them have a good chance to cement their place as the third seamer. But for injury, Munaf would have made it as a main bowler and he has been a steady performer too," Srinath said.

He reckoned the Indian pacers have already proved themselves by succeeding in placid tracks and they can now look forward to the pitches in New Zealand which would offer more assistance.

"They have bowled well on Indian wickets which are hard and flat and there were not significant assistance for the fast bowlers. This is the time for fast bowlers to be positive as the wickets in New Zealand would be far better than our home pitches and their performance has to improve further," he said.

Asked whether conditions were trickier in New Zealand than those found in England, Srinath said, "Conditions are the same even though New Zealand and England are in southern and northern hemispheres. Conditions in New Zealand are quite wet and cold. Even if it is summer in New Zealand, it is as good as Indian winter. That is the kind of weather one would expect in New Zealand."