India in Australia 2007-08 January 20, 2008

India prosper from Lillee's advice

Venkatesh Prasad: "He's [Dennis Lillee] a fantastic person and has a great knowledge of fast bowling. He told me how to use the breeze" © GNNphoto

Venkatesh Prasad, the former India new-ball bowler who is currently the team's bowling coach, has revealed his chat with Dennis Lillee, the former Australian fast bowler, played a part in India's historic win in Perth.

Prasad, who had worked under Lillee at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai, met him on the morning of the second day of the Test in Perth and learnt how his bowlers could utilise the conditions.

"I was under him at the MRF Pace Foundation," Prasad said. "He's a fantastic person and has a great knowledge of fast bowling. He told me how to use the breeze. He said that was the best thing to do here."

Prasad in turn passed on the advice to the Indian medium-pacers, who played a big part in Australia's first defeat in Perth since 1997. "It depends on the line each bowler is bowling," he said on the plan to use the Fremantle Doctor, the breeze at the WACA. "If you feel the breeze is blowing across and it's coming back a long way you need to bowl on the fifth or the sixth stump to get it to come back towards the off and middle stump. You need to gauge that out in the middle.

"I've always been saying our bowlers are the best in the business. Almost all can swing it at a good pace. All have a great wrist and seam position at the time of delivery. With the breeze here it helped them more. They're usually bowling at 135-140 [kph] and swing it at a good pace. They trouble any batsman with their pace - not express but quick."

Prasad, who toured Australia in 1999-2000, was happy his bowlers had stuck to their plans for each batsman. "The venue doesn't really bother us," he said. "For some batsmen it's about bowling full when they come in. For others it's about bowling outside off. I've seen a lot of batsmen not being comfortable against swing bowling and our bowlers have shown they can produce that anywhere in the world. They did it in England and did it here. We've done it in Bangladesh and India as well."

The fact that a number of young Indian fast bowlers have managed to make an instant impact on the international circuit heartened Prasad. "The biggest difference between domestic and international cricket is in the mind. A good ball in domestic is a good ball here. But it's about adaptability, planning and execution. In India you play on pitches that aren't so encouraging to fast bowlers. A bowlers job is really hard and they don't get as much credit as the batsmen do in India. Considering the wickets we bowl on, they deserve a lot of credit."

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo