India's bowling coach thrilled with performance of left-armers August 2, 2007

Prasad shows faith in Sreesanth's ability

Venkatesh Prasad: "I as a bowling coach wouldn't advice anyone to cross the line." © Getty Images
Venkatesh Prasad, India's bowling coach, expressed confidence in the ability of Sreesanth, following the bowler's woeful performance in the second Test against England at Trent Bridge.

"He's not exactly struggling, it's probably a phase," Prasad said on the eve of India's match against Sri Lanka A at Grace Road.

Prasad admitted Sreesanth's performance was a worry but showed faith in the youngster's talent. "We've seen him bowl well, and win games in South Africa. I would say it's a bit of a concern but he's got all the talent to succeed at this level. He has a fantastic body language, his aggression is great - we've been talking about not crossing the line -, the approach to the crease is fantastic, and the seam position is great."

He also defended Sreesanth's two deliveries - a beamer to Kevin Pietersen and a massive front-foot no-ball - that generated controversy during the Trent Bridge Test. "I'm sure that the full toss just slipped out of his hands - he apologised right there. Probably with the no-ball he could not get the right jump."

Prasad, who had performed well during India's tour of England in 1996, agreed that Sreesanth needed to focus more on his bowling rather than on-field banter. "I think that's one area that is of concern. I've been talking to him as a bowling coach, one-on-one, but he's young. We need to respect the game, respect the rules. I as a bowling coach wouldn't advice anyone to cross the line." Sreesanth had been fined half his match fee for shoulder-barging Michael Vaughan during England's second innings at Trent Bridge.

However, Prasad was thrilled at the progress made by India's left-armers, Zaheer Khan and RP Singh. "It was very satisfying at Trent Bridge, in terms of bowlers sticking to the lengths we've been talking about. Of course, we did bat extremely well but the bowlers did a tremendous job. There was Zaheer but we shouldn't be forgetting RP Singh here, he took the crucial wickets of [Kevin] Pietersen and [Matt] Prior which were crucial for the team's victory."

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is assistant editor of Cricinfo