Ishant Sharma promises to pepper West Indies batsmen with short balls
Ishant talks about India's tactics to flummox West Indies batsmen and the strategy of enforcing follow-on
There is a lot of grass cover on the Sabina Park pitch two days before the commencement of the 2nd Test match between India and West Indies, but this could be just a protective cover to be shorn of before Day 1, as had been seen done with the pitch for the 1st Test.
“There wasn't much on offer for the fast bowlers in Antigua, the pitch wasn't doing much. That's why we decided to pepper the batsmen with short balls and mixed it up with the full length deliveries. West Indies batsmen were struggling against the short ball which was our plan and we stuck with it. This will be followed in the next match as well,”
The Indian bowlers needed 168 overs to knock down the West Indies batting order twice, on a pitch which did not have much assistance for them. A similar batting friendly wicket is expected in Jamaica, and so the bowlers will be required to put in yet another hard shift.
“We bowled really well and in good areas in Antigua, that's the most important aspect for a bowler in Test cricket. That's what we talked about in the team meetings that we have to be consistent in our line and lengths. We bowled according to our plans and that gave us the wickets,” the lanky fast bowler told bcci.tv.
Two one-sided Tests were played at the same time, with differing tactics followed by winning captains Alastair Cook and Virat Kohli. While Cook did not put Pakistan to follow on despite having a lead of 391 runs, Kohli had no second thoughts in putting West Indies to a second examination straightaway. While both tactics worked, there were some questions raised over Cook’s reluctance in enforcing the follow on.
One justification that had been put forth by England coach Paul Farbrace was that the England bowlers needed to rest and would not have had the stamina to bowl two consecutive innings. The Indian bowlers had no such luxury, but Ishant Sharma says nobody is complaining about this extra responsibility.
“It all depends on your fitness, whether you are enforcing the follow-on or not. Once it was decided (to enforce follow-on) we were all ready and mentally prepared to go out and bowl again. We never had second thoughts about it. We cannot give excuses about being tired or anything.”