India news December 7, 2012

India's bowling coach upbeat despite struggle

ESPNcricinfo staff

India's bowling coach Joe Dawes believes the group is on the right track, despite its ineffectiveness in the ongoing Kolkata Test against England, and is hopeful of building a "big pool to choose from" in the future. Dawes also said Zaheer Khan has the "best wrist in cricket" and was among the top six bowlers in international cricket.

The BCCI appointed Dawes, who is from Queensland, as bowling coach in February, during India's 0-4 Test defeat in Australia. India began their home season by beating New Zealand 2-0, but they have struggled against England. Alastair Cook's team scored 406 in the second innings in Ahmedabad, 413 in the first innings of their ten-wicket win in Mumbai, and are currently amassing a huge first-innings score in Kolkata.

"I've been in this job nine months and it's been challenging. I believe that we're making progress, although the results in this series say otherwise," Dawes told "I've spoken to the new selection committee about identifying a number of bowlers who we can invest on. This morning we sat down and made a rough list of bowlers for the T20s and ODIs to get things in place for them so that when they get into the team they're ready. We have a close eye on the Ranji Trophy to look out for the guys who put their hands up so we can have a few more bowlers.

"We've spoken a lot about patience as a group. The two spinners [R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha] are quite young - they've only played a dozen Tests or so - and they're still learning their craft at the moment. That's why they have struggled with their consistency and we have talked about that. They're gaining good education of the game at the moment and they're working hard at their game. We're improving and getting to where we want to be."

While India's spinners have not been effective against England after the first Test, their fast bowlers also struggled. India lost Umesh Yadav to a back injury after Ahmedabad and Varun Aaron, Sreesanth, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel and Irfan Pathan are among the reserves injured. Zaheer, the leader of India's attack, has taken only three wickets at an average of more than 60. Dawes, however, remained confident of Zaheer's form and fitness.

"We've had this joke going around in the change room that Zak's back. I thought he wasn't at his best against New Zealand and he'll be the first to admit that. But he's gone back and worked hard. He's run himself into a bit of nick with his fitness and has started to get the ball through with some pace and get it to nip back. I truly believe that the time is not far away when he starts getting the wickets that he deserves.

"You watch the ball come out of his hand from purely technical point of view and it's just beautiful. He keeps the seam up and hits the seam all the time, every time. He's not as young as he once was and so he's probably not as quick as well. Considering the conditions he has to bowl in most of the times, in the subcontinent, he's got to be among the top six bowlers in the world today."

Having played three specialist spinners in the Mumbai Test, India reverted to the two-seamer strategy for Kolkata and picked Ishant Sharma, who hadn't played international cricket since January. "He [Ishant] bowled in a Test match today after a long time and I thought he did pretty well. He was unlucky not to get a wicket," Dawes said after the first day in Kolkata. "He has worked hard to come back from his injury and you can see the changes in his action. He's much taller now and doesn't fall over while angling the ball in. The next step is to give him a consistent outswinger and that's coming well.

"The plus with him is that he's still a very young man and he's already played 45 Test matches; he's an experienced cricketer. He's now only 24 and his body will learn to endure the rigours of fast bowling with time and he'll only get better from here."

Umesh was the best fast bowler on show in Ahmedabad, bowling quick and getting the old ball to swing, and Dawes was pleased with the progress Umesh had made since the New Zealand series. "I'm happy with where he's going; disappointing for him to be injured but we have things in mind to put in place for him when he comes back; just tweak his action a little bit more and continue to help the young bloke get stronger and fitter."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 10, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    I think this article has been pulled out of archives...Zak - best bowler? what a joke!!!! and to top it all - Zak gets dropped from the final test :). I think they should change the Indian bowling coach

  • Nikhil on December 10, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    Zak was a good asset to the side in the past, but his woeful lack of fitness, fielding ability and wickets makes him a liability in today's day and age, particularly when you see the physical ability and performance of the Aussie and SA bowlers. The benchmark has to be higher, and on current form and fitness, only Umesh Yadav looks the part. I would give Ishant some grace since he is returning from injury, however he needs to start improving his average of a wicket every 38 runs in Test cricket.

    I see the utility of Fletcher and Dawson only till the end of Fletcher's contract. I would think an Indian coaching staff would be brought in - people like Roger Binny, Kapil Dev, Praveen Amre, etc. would be good coaches, I would reckon.

  • Thomas on December 10, 2012, 4:55 GMT

    Why is everyone complaining about dearth of fast bowlers? We do not encourage sports or physical activity in our education. Today, everyone knows that even a partially successful cricketer will have no financial insecurity. So, the Board has certainly succeeded in making cricket a viable career option to invest time and effort. Administrators and former players cannot train or play now, youngsters should.

  • John on December 9, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    Clearly the selectors didn't read this article before they dropped Zaheer, unless perhaps they think the Ishant, Awana and Dinda are in the top 5 in the world.

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2012, 20:34 GMT

    Joe Dawes, a 41-year-old Queenslander, joined the force well before he had taken a wicket for his state, handling situations far more important than getting bowlers to bowl lengths that suit their style of bowling. He was a policeman by 21, a first-class cricketer only after 27, and both for about four years.

    "Armed robberies. Drugs squad. Child abuse. Worked in a lot of areas where we were able to sort of help a lot of people, and it was a good job," Dawes says. "Very rewarding. I enjoyed it. You learn a lot about life. You learn how to communicate with people, and deal with the good and bad of society. It was a great life experience, I suppose."

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2012, 20:31 GMT

    Looks like Joe Dawes and the Indian selectors have found 4 other bowlers ahead of Zaheer in the world Top 6 list. It is sad that a bowler who is among the Top 6 in world cricket can't find a place in Indian cricket . But that is what you get when you have an embarrassment of bowling riches. This is what the fifth and sixth ranked West Indian pacers of the 80s must have felt like at being excluded by Marshall, Holding, Garner, etc.

  • Par on December 9, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    we have some amazing fast bowlers. we just dumped the #6 guy in world ranking ( unofficial, joe davis ranking) to bring in Awana ! Cmon India.

  • Sundar on December 9, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    One among the top 6 bowlers dropped from the Indian side!!! And BTW, who is this Joe Dawes?

  • Gautam on December 9, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    Zaheer a top 6 bowler on Dec 7... Zaheer dropped from Indian team on Dec 9... What a contrast !!! Wish these foreign import coaches start calling spade a spade instead of sugarcoating their answers. Zaheer losing his mojo was an open secret - his fielding has always been a liability and while batting he has hardly shown any fight or spine.

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    May be he is using some database which is quiet old :P

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