11 February 2008

The continuing rise of India

Ishant!! It is a pleasure to finally see a tall Indian fast bowler doing justice to the potential of that height (unlike a Yohannan!) and troubling batsment that are allegedly the best in the world with pace and bounce - aspects that these batsmen are supposedly reared on. It is intersting to see what makes him so dangerous- as Ponting said, unlike other fast bowlers, he brings the ball in to the right hander. But why is that such an issue for batsmen?

For the technically minded, the problem is as follows: As a batsman, you are taught to bring your foot out to the line of the ball, so each batsman moves towards the ball. The problem is that when the ball swings in, unless you are lightning fast with the footwork (made that much more difficult when the ball is delivered at over 140 and you have less than half a second to get your feet in place, your eyes over the ball, and your bat swinging) your front foot has effectively gone too far across- consequently, you are either playing around your front foot (a nightmarishly difficult proposition) or are severaly cramped for room, with your elbows jamming into your sides. What makes an inswinging bowler an impossibility to play is the added ability to either move the ball away or, even worse, make the ball hold its line. With the batsman playing for the inswing, a vall that holds its line, puts the batsman in the uncomfortable position where he is too far inside the line, with only his outside edge covering the line of the ball (ala Ponting and Symond's dismissals yesterday). Add to all of this the catalyst that is bounce, and the noose tightens around the batsmen's neck - for the unaccustomed, it is impossible to control (or play with soft hands) and ball that is flying of the shoulder of the bat. It is this combination that makes Ishant so dangerous and so delightful to have in our side!!

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