Fast bowling in Australia

'Make the bounce work for you'

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Australia has traditionally been a happy hunting ground for fast bowlers, who relish the extra bounce on that the pitches offer. However, the true nature of those tracks places an extra premium on accuracy. Damien Fleming, the former Australian swing bowler, spells out the skills needed for a fast bowler to succeed in Australia.



Zaheer Khan: consistency will be key © Wisden Cricinfo

The best way for an Indian fast bowler to adapt here is by not doing or thinking much about it. Both the Indian left-arm fast bowlers - Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra - if they bowl well, will pose problems for the Australians.

In India the ball swings more, whereas here the bounce is the most vital weapon. There might be periods when the ball will swing, but it won't swing consistently throughout the five days. India are lucky that both Zaheer and Nehra swing the ball, but they need to deploy change of pace, and be accurate and patient because the Australian batsmen score quickly. You will have the bounce, but that will only work if you pitch it in the right place. For an Indian fast bowler it is much better than bowling back home. In Sydney and Adelaide bowling cutters - rolling your fingers across the seam for an offcutter or a legcutter - could work as the ball really grip on those tracks.

As for the possibility of injuries while bowling in Australia, I should be the last person giving any kind of advice, having hardly played two Tests together. But to me there are three categories of injury prevention. The first is having the correct action: you need to have the shoulder and hip aligned side-on, as opposed to having the hip side-on and the shoulder front-on or vice-versa.

Second, the need for physical strength: good core stability, and strength in the legs and shoulders. And third, to watch your workload: once you are into a Test you may be required to bowl upto 50 overs. And if you have bowled that many overs then there is the need to recover by doing some weights training, kick your strength up, and get some bowling done in the nets to get back to peak fitness again before the next game.

Bowling on Australian soil will no doubt be harder on the feet for the Indians. However, they will enjoy the weather in Australia: the humidity levels, especially, will be far more bearable than places like Chennai and Kochi. Physically the Indians should be fine. The bigger task will be the mental battle of keeping the pressure up for the entire 90 over in a day, and making sure that they win more sessions than the Australians.

Damien Fleming was talking to Nagraj Gollapudi.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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