Debasis Mohanty : Accuracy, the word

Courtesy : Mumbai Mirror
By Vijay Tagore,

Former India pacer Mohanty reckons precision is key to turn around hapless bowling.

Debasis Mohanty sure knows a thing or two about fast bowling and death bowling, currently India’s Achilles heel. World Cup experience, 45 ODIs and two Tests stand testimony to his knowledge of the game. He was the first international cricketer from Orissa. The state (and even the region) has not had a bowler of his skills and expertise. What’s more, he has been a coach as well, which only enhances his cricketing credentials. When Mohanty talks about pace bowling, he ought to know.

Indian quicks may have been clobbered in the ongoing one-day series against Australia, but Mohanty is optimistic about the current crop of pacers. “Wait for two three years,” he says, urging patience. “We’ve had a real quick in a bowler like Ishant Sharma and we’ll have a few more soon. The beginning has been made.”

What beginning?

The coach of Orissa Ranji team sees a revolution of sorts in domestic cricket. The pitches apparently have become result-oriented and that can only lead to positives. Mohanty is confident that bowlers of Ishant’s class should be in the horizon.

‘Much-Maligned’ Ishant?

Mohanty takes objection to the remark. “You don’t become a bad bowler overnight. He was generating pace not very long ago. He sure can come back. You can be hit for 30 runs but that does not happen every day. It happens in one-day cricket. The wickets are very batsmen-friendly. If India can chase down 360 in less than 45 overs, our bowlers are can also be hit on an off day.”

Mohanty is sympathetic about the Delhi pacer, who was the quickest in the country at one point.

“Look, I’m not defending him, I’m just analysing his bowling. Ishant occasionally gets a little wayward, bowls either too full or too short. Maybe, he has lost confidence. He can get it back by hitting the nets hard. The ambience is not favourable to him. The pitches are batsmen-friendly and nothing is happening for him. If I were his bowling coach, I would have a few one-on-one sessions with him to ensure he gets his confidence back. A match-winner cannot be a rubbish bowler in one match. He should look forward and move on,” he says.

Mohanty is quite impressed with the current Indian pace attack. Ishant apart, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with his ability to get the ball to swing both ways, reminds him of his own playing days. Vinay Kumar is “trying to be accurate” and the bowling is well backed up by Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Sami, Jaydev Unadkat and others. “It’s a mix of everything. There is a lot of variety, you know.”

Mohanty recalls how these same bowlers helped India win matches in the Champions Trophy and other tournaments. “It is not the end of the world, and overnight nobody becomes a bad bowler. These were the bowlers who were winning us games in the not-too-distant past.”

“There is room for improvement,” Mohanty believes. “Bowlers can improve upon their accuracy. Accuracy is very important in the death overs.” Mohanty attributes the absence of yorkers in the bowlers’ arsenal to lack of enough practice. “Sami did bowl a few yorkers the other day. Vinay tried a few but they became full tosses. I think they are trying but they can work on yorkers. One can master the art by gaining confidence. There is no fixed number that one must bowl, but they have to keep bowling them till they are confident of delivering the ball at any stage of the game.” If he were to be the bowling coach of the Indian team what would he do? “I will do things differently,” he says. “I will have to know them personally. I will work on their accuracy. But above all, I will first try to restore their confidence.”

Words coming from a confident man.

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