‘Bowlers not canon-fodder at Mirpur’
When the sporty wicket at Mirpur has earned the ire of Dhoni, Waqar and others, Javagal Srinath, ex-Indian pacer expressed his delight at seeing how bowlers had something going in their favour during the ongoing Asia Cup 2016 at Bangladesh.
“Speaking as much as a former fast bowler and as a keen follower of the game, I have been gladdened by what I have seen. For too long now bowlers have been cannon-fodder for the batsmen, especially in the limited-over game.” Javagal Srinath said to the press, reports The Hindu.
“Scores in the region of 200 in 20-over cricket have become the norm, and while there might be some truth to the argument that spectators come to watch fours and sixes, I am sure those who have turned up in Mirpur would have enjoyed the hold the quicker bowlers have had.” International Cricket Council ICC’s match referee added.
The only Indian fast bowler to have taken more than 300 wickets in One Day Internationals, Javagal Srinath explained that the pitches at Mirpur have not been diabolical by any stretch of imagination. He could not recall even a single ball misbehaving, taking off from a length or batsmen falling victim to uneven bounce. Although the dice was loaded too heavily in favour of quick bowlers, he pointed out the quality of fast bowling that was remarkably high.
In the first match where Bangladesh lost to India by 45 runs, Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan bowled only five overs between them. The rest of the overs were bowled by Taskin Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, Al-Amin Hossain and Mashrafe together. Pakistan faced India with a four-pronged pace attack. The ball not only swung in the air but seamed off the pitch as well. Batsmen found their technique thoroughly tested by the new, white ball under the lights when quality pacers were on show.
However, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sri Lankan skipper Lasith Malinga and Pakistan’s head coach Waqar Younis felt that green top pitches in Bangladesh were hardly ideal preparation for the upcoming World T20 since most of the batsmen were struggling in the on-going Asia Cup.
The green tops have made life difficult for the batsmen with the bowlers calling the shots. Barring India’s Rohit Sharma, who hit a stellar 83 against Bangladesh, none of his team-mates have even crossed 50 in the tournament so far. While Virat Kohli came up with a fighting 49 against Pakistan, others in the batting line-up have found the going tough, reports Dawn.
“Against Bangladesh we struggled to reach 166 in the first match, and in fact would have got to only 140 had Rohit and Hardik Pandya not batted brilliantly,” said Dhoni.
“Other than that there have been low-scoring games which I feel is not good. We thought it would be good practice ahead of the World T20, but it’s not in terms of hitting.” The Indian skipper added.
Pakistan’s head coach Waqar Younis concurred with Dhoni’s views that the pitches haven’t been the best advertisement for T20 cricket.
“The wickets have been difficult for the batsmen here. They are not ideal for strokeplay which is the main attraction in T20 games,” said Waqar. “However, as international sides you need to adapt to different conditions. Unfortunately, our batsmen couldn’t do so against India, but we will have to pull ourselves up.”
Sri Lankan skipper Lasith Malinga felt some help for the batsmen would do the teams a world of good in Asia Cup.”There should be a good contest between bat and ball. At the moment, that’s not what is happening,” he said.
The recent matches, from the fifth game of the Asia Cup 2016 have shown the pitch at Mirpur easing out and helping the batters with true bounce as well. Bangladesh scored 147 against a spirited Sri Lankan attack and UAE could reach 129 against the Pakistani bowling unit. The numbers do not lie, the Mirpur pitch is becoming more conducive for stroke play, and those who cashed in had a ball!
Ask Sabbir…when he spoke after his belligerent knock against Sri Lanka, he said the wicket was a bit tricky to get used. But once he got his eye in, he could play through the line and take the attack to the bowlers.
When he was carting the Sri Lankan bowlers all over Mirpur, it didn’t seem like there were any demons in the Mirpur pitch to scare the life out of batters.
The demons seem to play hoodoo inside the heads of haters…