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Team India doesn’t ask for pitches to be doctored, says bowling coach Arun

Press Trust of India

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Pune: The current Indian bowling attack has been lethal for a considerable length of time and coach Bharat Arun is happy that his wards have nullified the pitch factor with their amazing skill set and consistency.

Mohammed Shami’s superb second innings effort in the first Test against South Africa in Visakhapatnam on a low and slow track which was supposed to aid spinners has been the talk of the town as much as Ravichandran Ashwin’s seven-wicket haul when conditions were more conducive for batting.

“We don’t ask for the kind of wickets that we get. For us to be the No. 1 team in the world, any conditions that come your way, you have to accept it as home conditions,” Arun, who has done phenomenal job with the bowling unit, told reporters on Tuesday.

The mantra is on developing the skills rather than become a slave of the conditions, said Arun.

“When we go abroad, we hardly look at the wicket. We say that we are going to look at it as home conditions as wicket (track) is same for both teams. We are going to work on our bowling rather than looking at the wicket,” the former India seamer said.

While he is happy that his pacers have performed even on the flattest of tracks, Arun finds it difficult to digest when people criticise sub-continental tracks that offer turn.

“When we get seaming tracks abroad, we get to hear that ‘Oh Indians should learn to play on seaming track’. Seaming tracks are considered to be good tracks, but whereas if there is a track that assists spin, you say ‘oh, how can you spin the ball on day 1’.

“When the ball seams, you accept it but when the ball turns you don’t accept it,” the paradox baffles Arun.

However, as the top side in world cricket, Arun said conditions are secondary in their endeavour to remain the best in the business.

“Ideally, a normal wear and tear wicket for Test match is fine but if you want to be No. 1 team in the world, you can’t be looking at wickets. You got to look at the bowling, adapt your bowling instantaneously for success.”

He then provided Shami’s example of how pure skills and technical knowledge can seal it in challenging conditions.

“In the last game, even though the wicket was abrasive, the ball did not reverse that much, what normally happens on Indian wickets. You then adjust your line and length when the ball is not reversing,” he said.

“The particular wicket that we played the last game tended to keep a bit low and we realised it has to be more stump line and not outside the off-stump. Shami got four out of his five wickets bowled, so the line changed. Now, the quicker a bowler becomes aware of what is happening, chances of success increase,” said Arun.

The freedom given by skipper Virat Kohli to the pacers on how much they want to bowl has also been a key to success, opined Arun.

“Different bowlers are dealt with differently. Bumrah and Shami come in short bursts but Ishant bowls a longer spell — about 7 overs. Shami has in fact said in one of his interviews that captain lets them do what they want.

“He (Kohli) gives freedom to choose whether they want to bowl a short spell or a long spell. Bowlers are aware how they could be a lot more effective and they convey this to the captain,” said Arun.

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Ranchi Test: Pacers put India on brink of series whitewash against South Africa

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Team India

Ranchi: India’s bowlers, led by Mohammed Shami, pushed Virat Kohli and boys closer to a 3-0 whitewash as South Africa were left tottering at 132/8 at stumps on Day 3 after following on in the third and final Test at the JSCA Stadium on Monday.

At close of play, Dean Elgar’s concussion substitute Theunis de Bruyn was batting on 30 with Anrich Nortje (5) for company. While Shami has figures of 3/10 in the second innings, Umesh Yadav has picked two as the Indian pacers once again dominated the show.

Bundled out for just 162 in the first innings, the Proteas were forced to follow on and they trail India by 203 runs with just two wickets in the bag in their second essay. While bad light did force the players to go off the field after the Indians asked for an extra 30 minutes at the fall of the eighth wicket, the South Africans are only delaying the inevitable.

To make matters worse for the Proteas, Elgar had to retire hurt post a knock on the helmet by a rising Umesh delivery just before the Tea break. India too had an injury concern as Wriddhiman Saha got hit on the ring finger of his left hand late and was replaced by Rishabh Pant in the last session of the day.

Earlier, a total of 16 wickets fell on Monday after South Africa resumed at 9/2. Umesh returned with figures of 3/40 in the first essay while Shami, debutant Shahbaz Nadeem and Ravindra Jadeja all scalped two wickets apiece. Ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, however, remained wicketless. For the tourists, Zubayr Hamza top-scored with 62.

Following on, there was no respite for the visitors as it was Shami who once again looked in lethal rhythm. He clean-bowled Hamza (0) first and then trapped skipper Faf du Plessis (4) in front as the score read 18/3. But the pacer wasn’t done and then sent back du Plessis’ ‘toss proxy’ Temba Bavuma for a duck, caught behind by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.

But the slide was started by Umesh when he sent opener Quinton de Kock’s off-stump cartwheeling with a beauty as the Proteas T20I skipper played inside the line of the ball. At the tea break, South Africa were 26/4.

In the morning session, the tourists had the worst possible start as they lost skipper du Plessis to a peach of a delivery by Umesh. Overnight-batsman Hamza, however, opted for counter-attacking technique thereafter and along with Bavuma, scored freely and made sure the visitors didn’t succumb to the pressure applied by the Indian bowlers.

Both Hamza and Bavuma collected boundaries at regular interval and kept the scoreboard moving. During the 91-run partnership, the 24-year-old Hamza went to score his maiden Test 50.

However, just when South Africa were looking like getting back into the game, Jadeja bowled a ripper to get past the bat of Hamza and brought an end to his 62-run knock. Bavuma didn’t stay long at the crease thereafter and became the first international scalp of debutant Shahbaz Nadeem at his individual score of 32.

Wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen, who came in next, didn’t trouble the scorers much and was bowled by Jadeja after contributing with six runs to South Africa total.

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Ranchi Test: Spinners run through Proteas middle order, SA 162 all out

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Team India

Ranchi: Team India have enforced the follow-on, as South Africa concluded their first innings at 162 here on Monday. South Africa, who began the day at nine for two, trail India by 368 runs.  India spinner Ravindra Jadeja rattled the South African batting after an entertaining half-century by Zubayr Hamza to leave the visitors reeling at 129 for six at lunch on day three.

Replacing an injured Aiden Markram, Hamza (62 off 79) showed fine application alongside Temba Bavuma (32) to give the Proteas some ray of hope after Umesh Yadav cleaned up skipper Faf du Plessis in his first over with a beautiful outswinger.

Hamza, who struck 10 boundaries, hit seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin for a six over mid-on to bring up his maiden fifty.

Hamza showed fine application and collected boundaries at regular intervals tackling both pace and spin well while Bavuma gave him solid support in their 91-run stand for the fourth wicket.

The duo put up a much needed fight for South Africa before Jadeja provided the breakthrough by dismissing Hamza for 62 with a straighter one that crashed through the gate.

Then came “the big moment” for debutant Shahbaz Nadeem who had Bavuma stumped for his first wicket in international cricket. He foxed Bavuma with his flight as the batsman stepped out of the crease, leaving Wriddhiman Saha to do the rest.

Earlier, India had an eventful first over as Yadav produced an unplayable delivery that swung late to unsettle the off-stump of du Plessis, who left the crease shaking his head.

A few balls stayed really low while Shami was extracting fine bounce from the Pavillion end.

Yadav looked ominous and was unlucky a couple of times when Hamza edged it just short of Virat Kohli at first slip.

Hamza soon found himself at ease displaying some beautiful drives to race to his 50 off 56 balls.

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Rajasthan Royals appoints former Australian player Andrew McDonald as head coach

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Andrew McDonald

Mumbai: Inaugural IPL champions Rajasthan Royals have appointed Australian coach and cricketer Andrew Barry McDonald as their new Head coach for a tenure of three years.

The former Australian has coached Leicestershire, Victoria and the Melbourne Renegades. The 38-year-old, who played four Tests for Australia, had guided Victoria to the title win in Sheffield Shield in his first year as senior coach. The Victorian then moved the Renegades from 7th position to winning the Big Bash this year.

McDonald has been a part of the Indian Premier League in the past having played for Delhi Daredevils in the 2009 Indian Premier League before being signed up by Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2012–2013. He was also the bowling coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“We are delighted to appoint Andrew as our Head Coach.  Andrew will be preparing for the season by sharing experiences and best practices with exceptional coaches in other sports and will be visiting India in the near future to meet the Royals team, both on and off the field.” said Ranjit Barthakur, Executive Chairman, Rajasthan Royals.

The interview panel for the Head Coach process included external experts and internal leadership which included Zubin Bharucha, Head of Cricket for Rajasthan Royals.

“I’m delighted to join the Royals family. It’s a great honour to take on this responsibility. The Rajasthan Royals is a new, exciting challenge for me, and I can’t wait to get started working with our world class players and coaches in one of the biggest sporting leagues in the world.” Andrew McDonald said.

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