x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Paceman turn the script on spinning subcontinent pitches at World Cup

The West Indies manager Richardson explains the phenomenon of four out of top five wicket-takers being the pacers, and more Cricket World Cup news.

DHAKA // In a World Cup in the sub-continent generally expected to be dominated by spinners, the success of fast bowlers has come as very little surprise to former West Indies captain Richie Richardson.

Against all predictions, fast bowlers have ruled the roost so far in the tournament with West Indian Kemar Roach and Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga each already notching up a hat-trick in the last two matches.

Australia's Mitchell Johnson also showed great form and class, taking four wickets in successive matches.

Johnson, Roach and Malinga were among the top five wicket-takers by Wednesday. That list included only one spinner, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, who had nine wickets, the best so far.

While Tim Bresnan of England, Hamish Bennett of New Zealand and Munaf Patel of India all had more than five wickets in their first two games, their spin counterparts struggled for success in pitches which normally assist slow bowlers.

Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, the most successful bowler in the sport, has claimed just four wickets while spinners England's Graeme Swann and India's Harbhajan Singh had only three and two wickets to their names respectively in their first two games.

"Anything is possible in cricket if guys play well," said West Indies team manager Richardson, regarded as one of the finest batsman of his generation against fast bowling.

"In this part of the world, the wickets have the reputation of favouring the spinners. But at the end of the day if you are good enough as a seam bowler or fast bowler you can do well in any condition," he said.

"It's all about assessing conditions, assessing the pitches and making the adjustment," said Richardson.

Roach, one of the most successful fast bowlers of the tournament so far, said he is not worried about the wickets. "A fast bowler can bowl fast anywhere," Roach said after a practice session in Dhaka on Wednesday.

"Obviously you know Malinga bowled lovely yesterday (Tuesday) and Mitchell Johnson also got wickets. I also want my name to be there as well," said Roach.

Highly rated Bangladesh spinner Abdur Razzak also agreed. "Even though I thought the wickets would help the spinners a lot that is not the case," Razzak said.

"You see Malinga and Roach bowled well in their respective matches. Our Suhash (Shafiul Islam) also did well, so it cannot be said that pace bowlers do not have a role to play here and we must prepare ourselves that way," he said.

 

New Zealand

The New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori believes coach John Wright's inside knowledge of Indian conditions will be crucial to their World Cup hopes.

"John has been great, invaluable to the team. He has not only brought a sense of confidence but also love for the game. His experience in these conditions has been invaluable," said Vettori.

Wright, 56, was coach of India from 2000 until 2005 and succeeded Mark Greatbatch at the helm of the Black Caps in December last year. New Zealand tackle Zimbabwe on Friday in a Group A game crucial to both teams' hopes of making the quarter-finals.

Australia

Mike Hussey said he is injury free and ready for a recall. Hussey, one of Australia’s most important batsmen, was a controversial omission from the 15-man squad because selectors were concerned about his fitness after surgery to repair an injured hamstring. But with selectors leaving open a spot when paceman Doug Bollinger was injured, there have been growing calls for Hussey. “I am over my hamstring injury and will be ready if the selectors give me the call,” said Hussey, 35.

South Africa

Corrie van Zyl, the coach, said fitness worries over bowlers Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir could thwart his plan to play a full-strength team against the Netherlands today. Steyn is the main worry with a bruised right side; Tahir was diagnosed with a respiratory infection over the weekend. Van Zyl saif South Africa hopes to go with its “strongest combinations” is focused on “not much more than winning the game” against a downcast Dutch team. The coach said his team were taking “every precaution” against a possible upset.

India

The Indian cricket board yesterday wrote a letter to the ICC complaining about the “inadequacy” of the umpire referral system being used in the World Cup. The board also said it resented the governing body’s general manager Dave Richardson’s criticism of India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who had criticised the technology on Sunday.

Zimbabwe

Spinner Raymond Price is relishing his role as a new-ball bowler. “Though the new ball is a lot harder and slippery, in the subcontinent, it roughs up quickly and so is easier to hold,” he said. Price took 1-43 in an opening loss to Australia and then bagging 3-16 in a 175-run victory over Canada. The left-arm-spinner, who has taken 84 wickets in 85 matches, has an impressive economy rate of 3.88 in one-dayers. His next wicket-taking opportunity will be tomorrow against New Zealand.

Canada

John Davison, the oldest player at the World Cup, said he is beginning to doubt his ability to cope with the slow subcontinental wickets after being dismissed without scoring in both his side’s matches. The 40-year-old opening batsman says the two poor knocks have “probably developed self doubts that ‘do I have the ability to perform at this level?’” Canada plays Pakistan today and Davison says his teammates are “at the moment pretty down”. Davison scored the second fastest World Cup century — off 67 balls — against the West Indies in 2003. But he might move down the batting order in a bid to regain some form.