No instant major impact, says Simons
India's bowling consultant Eric Simons has said the short nature of his six-week stint may not have an immediate major impact but he will try to help the Indian bowlers as much as he can. He also said the ongoing Test match against Bangladesh in Chittagong would help him assess how the Indian bowlers operate before he starts weighing in with his opinions.
"It would be arrogant for me to come in, for a South African, and tell the Indian bowlers how to bowl," Simons said in Chittagong, on the sidelines of the first Test. "It's about finding a joint solution. I have two series, just six weeks. It takes time to make a major impact. But when I walk away and the bowler says I have helped him in some small way to become better, helped him with ideas, I will be happy."
Speaking about his initial assessment of the bowlers he said, "I see the Indian bowlers as a technically talented unit. Maybe the problems, if any, are from a lack of confidence from playing lots of ODIs.
"I have just come in now and am not in the position, at this stage, to talk about India's bench strength and what talented bowlers are out there in the circuit. I remember I saw [Abhimanyu] Mithun, from Karnataka, bowl for Royal Challengers Bangalore. He seemed a very good prospect. I am sure there are other talents out there. I know about Mithun because I happened to be involved with the Royal Challengers in IPL."
Simons was wary of getting into details, whether about India's recent struggle during death bowling in ODIs or on any specific bowler, but he responded to a direct question about Ishant Sharma's performance. "One of the things that happen is that we sometimes ask bowlers to do something that he is not comfortable with," Simons said. "For example, it's not easy for a bowler who bowls big inswingers to bowl the one that goes other way. You have to consider what he is naturally good at and gradually work at the other stuff.
"As for Ishant, I have had a chat and I know he wants to be more successful. I thought he bowled brilliant stuff this morning though he ended up with just one wicket."
He responded warily on Ian Chappell's comments that India's position as the No. 1 Test team would be compromised by their bowling. Simon said everyone was entitled to their views but added that, "India have got to No. 1 in the world, why can't they stay there?"
He said he would sit down with the bowlers and fix the "controllables and non-negotiables." "Fitness and tactic is controllable; you can bowl a yorker, that's in your hand, what you can't control is what the batsman does with it. It's all about the process. You might bowl six yorkers and it might be edged for fours but it's the process that is important."
Simons also shared his views on India's bowling performance in the ongoing Test. "At times I have felt they could have bowled better," he said. "They have pulled it back really well."
He also talked about his relationship with India coach Gary Kirsten and how it would help him. "It will be wrong for the coach to come to South Africa and tell them what to do," Simons said. "And vice-versa. That's where Gary Kirsten is so good. He is not arrogant and wants to help a cricket team get better. Knowing him is a vital for me, especially considering the short stint of my job. I have to sit with the management to understand the vision forward. I am sure they are looking at some one for the long term. Let's see how it works out."
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo