Asia Cup 2011-12 March 1, 2012

'Deceptive' Dinda rewarded for persistence

With 59 first-class wickets this season, Ashok Dinda has grown by leaps and bounds. A recall to the Asia Cup could be his second coming

"You look like a table-tennis player but you bowl so fast," a reporter told Ashok Dinda during the Duleep Trophy final in Indore in February.

Dinda only smiled in return. Over the years, the Bengal fast bowler has become used to such expressions of surprise as people wonder how, with cricket ball in hand, he gets so much out of his slightly-built frame.

What is obvious when you watch Dinda bowl is the extreme effort that he puts in. Starting from the exaggerated leap in delivery stride, which makes him look more a long-jumper than a fast bowler. You inwardly cringe, thinking about the pounding his knees must be taking as he lands on the bowling crease. Not that Dinda shows the slightest sign of discomfort. He just smiles, at the batsman's discomfort, after beating them with his skiddy short-of-a-length deliveries.

That effort brought Dinda 37 wickets, the second-highest in the 2011-12 Ranji Trophy. All those wickets were for Bengal, easily one of the low-profile domestic sides in the Elite league. That darling of Indian fans, Irfan Pathan, made the national squad to Australia for the ODI tri-series.

Being ignored for a tour on which the bouncy pitches would have suited his hit-the-deck style of bowling must have hurt. Dinda responded by taking 22 wickets in three games to take East Zone to their maiden Duleep Trophy title and lifting his tally to a staggering 59 for the first-class season.

This time the overdue national call-up arrived - helped by injuries to Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav - with a place in the ODI squad for the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. The last of Dinda's five ODIs for India was also in the Asia Cup, in June 2010.

How has he changed as a bowler between the two editions of the tournament?

"There is more control. I am reading batsmen better now. My line and length have improved," Dinda told ESPNcricinfo. "My confidence levels are very high. The support system around me is very strong. Friends, family, my coaches, all of whom have been very supportive."

Dinda looks to bowl fuller now than the consistently shortish length he used to earlier. It is still not driving length, though, and that makes him difficult to play with the bounce he generates from his leaping action.

The characteristic leap made Dinda instantly recognisable during the first edition of the Indian Premier League in 2008, when he played for Kolkata Knight Riders under Sourav Ganguly, who recently called him the best fast bowler in the country at the moment.

Dinda has backed up such claims with an outstanding season, in which he was required to shoulder a lot of responsibility, both for Bengal and East Zone. "I was the main bowler and had to perform if we were to take 20 wickets," Dinda said. "I have bowled a lot of overs this season."

He bowled 25 overs in Central Zone's second innings in the Duleep final. He charged in for his 150th delivery with the same energy as his first. The East Zone fielders did not make his job any easier, dropping numerous chances. Unlike his bowling partners, though, Dinda did not let out his frustration with cries of anguish. In fact, it did not seem that he was frustrated. He would just smile broadly, first at the culpable fielder, then at the batsman, and turn around to go back to his bowling mark. There would be the same, whole-hearted effort in the next delivery. How does he keep himself going with that pint-sized body?

"I have always maintained that size does not matter," Dinda said. "It is the effort that counts. You have to ensure that you get good sleep, around seven-eight hours. You also need good gym sessions, for each muscle has to be tuned well."

If Dinda can put in the same effort and more in the Asia Cup, India has everything to gain.

Edited by Kanishkaa Balachandran

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricket on March 4, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    there is no point comparing him with irfan... Dinda still has a lot to prove at the international level. he need to make the most of this tour if he plays in XI.

  • Nikhil on March 4, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    Here is the List-A record of Ashok Dinda:

    54 wkts @ 33.24 E/R=5.38

    His projected average in international cricket: 50 wkts @ 38 E/R=5.9

    This is not competitive enough. There is usually 10-15% drop in levels from first class List-A average to ODIs. Dinda is just yet another medium pacer from the domestics. Pankaj Singh was a better candidate, still his projected E/R is about 5.4 from his current list-A E/R of 4.86. Typically you need a List-A E/R of about 4.4 and adequate pace of about 135-140kph which will give you an excellent S/R of about 5-6 overs in ODIs. Some bowlers like Yadav, Ishant, Sreesanth have pace but have very high E/R in the sub-continental conditions

  • narbavi on March 2, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    U r very lucky dinda coz sreesanth deserved to be here so make use of this chance

  • Dummy4 on March 2, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    That darling of Indian fans, Irfan Pathan, made the national squad to Australia for the ODI tri-series - I hate this sarcasm. I am happy Dinda is selected, but he must prove his mettle at this level. Irfan can bat like any other specialist batsman in the team.

  • Naresh on March 2, 2012, 6:52 GMT


  • Dummy4 on March 2, 2012, 4:09 GMT

    Where is Varun Aaron ? Why isnt he around ?

  • Kuldeep on March 1, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    Yadav is a goo bowler but like most Indian bowlers lacks that lethal bouncer. Unless you can suprise top class batsman with a dedaly bouncer you are not really considered a great fast bowler. He needs to work on it, he will take far more wickets with a good bouncer under his belt.

  • kan on March 1, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    all the best Dinda, if you do well in ODIs, next in line is Test matches for you

  • Unmesh on March 1, 2012, 17:33 GMT

    I am really happy that Dinda has been selected. His selection could have come much earlier. It would have been better if he had been given a chance in Australia, where the conditions are more conducive to fast bowling. In subcontinent, it's hard work for bowlers especially on those really flat ODI tracks. But whatever the conditions, I am sure Dinda will give his 100%. Good luck, Dinda!

  • Cricket on March 1, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    Frankly speaking I don't remember having seen him bowl before. But this article has ignited in me a desire to watch him bowl. If the statements in this article that he bowls fast inspite of his small frame and that he shows the same energy bowling his 150th ball of an innings are true, then hurray! we have a youngster who could be a potential replacement for Zak. I pray that this guy gets picked in the playing XI in the Asia Cup and cements his place in the Indian team. Comparing him with Irfan is like comparing apple with orange. One is a fast bowler and the other is a fast bowling all rounder. Good luck to both!

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