Tri-Nation Tournament in Bangladesh 2009-10

India missing a bowling coach - MS Dhoni

Nagraj Gollapudi in Mumbai

January 1, 2010

Comments: 23 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni addresses the media before departing for Bangladesh, Mumbai, January 1, 2010
MS Dhoni also touched on the need for India to improve their fielding © AFP

Indian captain MS Dhoni has admitted that the absence of a specialist bowling coach is hurting the team's performance. Dhoni said it was "tough" for the bowlers and especially head coach Gary Kirsten to perform at optimum levels, and that ideally he would like the vacancy to be filled soon.

"To some extent it does hurt not having a bowling coach. If you have a specialist coach he is always interacting with the bowlers and trying to get the best out of them," Dhoni said on the eve of the Indian team's departure to Bangladesh.

Though India ended 2009 at the top of the ICC's Test rankings, they have struggled to make a consistent progress in ODIs. After the early exit at the ICC World Twenty20, they were knocked out of the Champions Trophy in South Africa even before the tournament reached the second week. In a desperate move, the Indian board sacked Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh, the bowling and fielding coaches respectively. No explanation was given with the assumption being both coaches had been under the scanner after the World Twenty20 debacle.

Dhoni said that decision had only increased the burden on Kirsten, who he felt was submerged under extra duties. "He [Kirsten] has to look after everything: he has to sit and talk to the batsmen, bowlers, fielders, build strategies and look after team building," he said, adding that the BCCI could reduce the pressure simply by naming replacements who could closely work with the bowlers and fielders.

The inconsistency in the fast bowling department has remained a concern for India right from the World Twenty20. In England, Zaheer Khan had aggravated the shoulder injury he picked during the IPL in South Africa. His inability to go full throttle exposed the younger lot like Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar, and though Ashish Nehra was around he was just finding his own feet, having made a return after a long time. Things did not improve during the Champions Trophy, and India's problems were exacerbated during the home ODI series against Australia, which they lost 4-2. But things have started to improve after Zaheer's return.

Zaheer will lead the fast bowling department in Bangladesh which comprises Nehra, Sreesanth, and the rookie Sudeep Tyagi. During the recently concluded Sri Lanka series the Indian fast bowlers were lukewarm even if they improved on their death bowling. A good example could be the difference in their performances in Rajkot and Kolkata, for the second and fourth matches. In the first instance, after Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara's blistering innings, India recovered admirably to clamp down the batsmen in the final ten overs. But in Kolkata, abetted by some shoddy fielding, the bowlers got distracted and allowed Upul Tharanga and Sangakkara to build a solid platform.

Dhoni's reaction to Mohammad Yousuf's statement on Twenty20 hurting Pakistan

  • It is quite similar to the review system [UDRS]. If the decisions are in your favour you are OK with it but when they go against you don't really feel it is working. It is the same case with Twenty20 format. I don't think it would be great to blame the format. It is a mental approach that needs to change. The change of mindset is important. The basics remain the same.

Though Dhoni felt that a bowling coach would be able to discuss with the youngsters and build their confidence, he put faith in his squad. "It is a matter of time before they return to form. In Rajkot we bowled really well," he said, "but we haven't bowled consistently well in the death overs. It is a bit of a worry. But if we can do it in patches I don't see why we can't do it consistently."

A twin headache has been the fielding. Embarrassingly in the two Twenty20s and the first ODI of the Sri Lanka series, India dropped 12 catches. In the second ODI in Nagpur, when the match was still hanging in the balance, in the penultimate over Zaheer's misfield cost them the match. By the time they reached Kolkata their ground fielding improved a lot but they still dropped Tharanga and Sangakkara when the batsmen were yet to get off the blocks. The pair built a valuable partnership of 171 runs. In the abandoned final game another simple catch went down.

Dhoni was blunt in his appraisal once again. "We need to improve our fielding because in a close game avoiding the fielding errors can save us at least 15 runs," he said. "We have a mix of safe fielders with some brilliant ones like Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma."

He also praised Mike Young, the former Australian fielding coach, who spent time with the Indian team as a consultant during the limited-overs series. Though Young didn't rush in with some innovative stuff, Dhoni said it had been "interesting" to spend time in his company. "He didn't come with lots of ideas. He just wanted to see what was happening and where we are positioned. He worked really slow and came up with few basic techniques. It is important to take that forward."

Young will not travel with the squad to Bangladesh.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by sunalsk80 on (January 6, 2010, 11:40 GMT)

I think we should have Kapil Dev come on as our bowling coach. Imagine what changes he can bring to our bowling department. I think he still has in him to deliver the goods as a good bowling coach. Will BCCI listen to this? If he comes in, we can bring back the likes of Irfan Pathan and make him the next all rounder which we are honesty missing after Kapil Sir. There were a lot of expectations from Irfan, but I guess he was not well taken care and I am sure Kapil Dev can inspire and bring back his lost confidence.

Posted by sunalsk80 on (January 6, 2010, 11:38 GMT)

I think we should have Kapil Dev come on as our bowling coach. Imagine what changes he can bring to our bowling department. I think he still has in him to deliver the goods as a good bowling coach. Will BCCI listen to this? If he comes in, we can bring back the likes of Irfan Pathan and make him the next all rounder which we are honesty missing after Kapil Sir. There were a lot of expectations from Irfan, but I guess he was not well taken care and I am sure Kapil Dev can inspire and bring back his lost confidence.

Posted by dulith2 on (January 6, 2010, 10:42 GMT)

take champaka ramanayaka. [sri lankan]. he is very good bowling coach. there are many bowling coaches in sri lanka. as examples prabath nissanka, romesh rathnayaka.

Posted by BobbyDhol on (January 4, 2010, 20:54 GMT)

i agree with Mirthman. with the exception of (in last 20years) srinath, kumble and kapil, along with harbhajan and recently zaheer, our bowlers have performed in one off series. irfan pathan seemed like the next big thing and may have been misdirected into an all rounder, balaji, nehra, sreesanth, praveen, vrv singh, rp singh, ishant. All of these guys showed promise yet failed to show any consistancy, i dont know the whole set up of the indian bowling schools and who coaches them when in the indian team and domestically but if you ask me the board pays too much attention to the our batting superstars and not enough to the bowling. look at the pitches in india, flat and every odi more than 300, but they dont care as long as our batsmen are averaging 50+ while our bowlers are losing confidence game by game. also with no fast bowling idol to aspire to is probably why we dont have any 90mph+ bowlers, whereas Pakistan seem to find a new 'teenage' tearaway all the time... any1 agree?

Posted by shrsan on (January 4, 2010, 15:06 GMT)

My suggestion is we should bring back Venkatesh Prasad & Robin singh as Bowling & Fielding coach respectively. They had done a good job for Indian cricket when our team was underperforming and without a proper coach. Instead of suggesting tainted players like Manoj Prabhakar who was involved in match fixing we should be open to bringing a pakistani coach for our bowling department.

Posted by K.A.Balajee. on (January 3, 2010, 14:45 GMT)

Rather than prefering to foreign candidates who take sometime in getting used to the Indian cricketing psychology, its better to choose some subcontinental guy who has succeded at International level. For example, our very own Manoj Prabhakar seems a good choice. India can also look for options with some Pakistani greats like Wasim, Waqar, Aaqib Javed, Sarfraz Nawaz etc.. Dont be surprised to even have Chaminda Vaas in our list of options..

Posted by cricket05 on (January 3, 2010, 2:09 GMT)

Dhoni is right on the boil in his assessment. Good bowling somewhat negates the effects of loose fielding I would think. Our bowlers need to master the art of consistently firing in yorkers in the death overs and hitting the 'corridor of uncertainty' the first 15 overs. I dont think any coach in the world would be able to coach our spinners :-) . My suggestions for bowling coach would be (in order of preference) 1. Sean Pollock (he has played with Gary Kirsten before and also had a coaching/mentoring role in the IPL) 2. Bruce Reid ( if available - he did a great job with our bowlers in Australia) 3. Allan Donald (he is a current coach in an English County) 4. T A Sekhar (a technical expert but not much exposure at international level).

Posted by HK_Sachin on (January 3, 2010, 1:56 GMT)

Yeah, time for India to get Waseem Akram. Come on stop this politics, and bring on Akram.

Posted by BigDataIsAHoax on (January 2, 2010, 23:40 GMT)

It's 90% the players on the field and 10% the coach. The blokes doing the fielding and bowling are just not up to it. I'm sure Robin Singh must have had big laughs on the inside every time he saw the indian fielding from the dressing room. Can't say the same about prasad. To me, prasad was at best a fast leg spinner and never a fast-bowler. Remember how jayasuriya and kalu used to murder him? it was so funny. The fact of the matter is, indian players do not have sufficient time to devote so that basic mistakes can be rectified. I mean how could they have time. Some1 like ishant who is only a baby in the game right now, gets to do half a dozen soft-drinks and underwear ads. There is no point mulling over indian fielding. It's never ever gonna improve. Fact is, these guys don't give a damn!

Posted by rahulsaxena on (January 2, 2010, 17:21 GMT)

We can all start by finding a bowler who is faster than a broken moped. Maybe that should help !

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