West Indies v India, 1st Test, Antigua, 5th day June 6, 2006

Roberts helps Pathan with action

Roberts: 'I think he [Pathan] has a problem with the final couple of strides of his run-up' © Getty Images

Heeding a request from the Indian team management, Andy Roberts, the legendary West Indian fast bowler, has spent some time with Irfan Pathan, trying to pin-point the problem areas with regard to his bowling. Roberts felt that Pathan's run-up was an area of concern, and spent close to half an hour, after the fourth day's play, trying to rectify it.

"I think he has a problem with the final couple of strides of his run-up," Roberts said. "If you don't have your run-up right, then you will have problems with the rest of the action. He was missing his run-up a few times, but by the time he finished he was OK. It was just a couple of minor corrections."

Roberts had spent some time chatting with the team management on the second day of the warm-up match at the Police Recreation Ground. The team-management, in turn, thought it best to use his services. "Well it so happened that I was watching him bowl at training in the morning," added Roberts, "That was the first time I'd seen him bowl. I didn't watch him in all the one-dayers because I wasn't present at all the games. Also watching a bowler on television it is not always possible to tell what the problem is. Today, I spotted something. I approached the coach [Greg Chappell], who asked me if I could have a word with him."

In the twenty minutes he spent with him, Roberts asked Pathan to take his run-up without the stumps, and also asked him to measure his run-up to where he felt comfortable for his delivery stride. Pathan then had a lengthy bowl with his new run-up. Roberts was also seen advising Pathan to apply more thrust while following through and swing his arms faster.

This isn't the first time an expert was asked to spend some time with the team. On India's 2003-04 tour to Australia, Bruce Reid, the former left-arm fast bowler, was roped in to help out the fast bowlers, and, at the end of the tour, was praised for his services.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo