October 26, 2008

Wristy business

Jamie Alter

Manoj Prabhakar, the former India medium-pace bowler, believes Australia's fast bowlers need to adjust their wrist positions to produce the sort of reverse swing that is necessary to be effective on Indian wickets.

Prabhakar, to whom swing came naturally, felt the Australian pace bowlers were naturally inclined towards achieving bounce and seam as opposed to swing. "If you don't know how to seam the ball you cannot survive in Australia, if you do not know how to swing the ball you cannot survive on the subcontinent," he said. "Their wrist position is not good enough to get late reverse swing," he said. They can seam the ball, they can get reverse swing, but not late swing. Unless you swing it late, reverse swing is not useful."

Prabhakar had served as Delhi's bowling coach last year and worked with a raw Ishant Sharma. "Initially when I met him he was not swinging the ball, he only had a leg cutter because he was hitting the deck hard and holding the ball very tight," Prabhakar said."Now he is doing wonders, because he is holding the ball really loose with the fingers and he is snapping the wrist. That is the main reason why the Indians are getting more swing than the Australians."

Ishant leads the wicket-taking tally in the Test series with 11 in two games, so Prabhakar has a point.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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