Chennai, Feb 17 (IANS) Former South African paceman Allan Donald provided a fresh bowling perspective to the Cricket World Cup when he asserted that reverse swing will play as big a role as spin.
Speaking to the media here Thursday, Donald, contracted with the New Zealand team as the bowling coach, felt the ability to reverse swing is a critical skill on sub-continental pitches and could influence the outcome of a match if executed correctly, especially in the death overs.
He said the reverse swing would also be a handy weapon if the ball is not doing much off the pitch.
“The ball may not do much off the wicket and so it has to swing. The reverse swing is a massive thing and a huge key for me in this World Cup. That is where (the death overs) games are going to be won and lost,” he said.
It was an oblique reference to the New Zealand bowling in Wednesday’s warm-up game against India here when the home team plundered 136 runs in the last 10 overs.
“We have often talked about preparing the ball to get it going and to execute the skill and this is where we are learning as we go along, to be able to reverse the ball at the end.
“That’s the skill that is out there. These guys are still learning it and we are trying to do it as quickly as we can. But in crucial games like India have shown us last night, if you are slightly off the mark, you are going to get punished,” Donald pointed out.
The Black Caps, who had won their first warm-up game against Ireland while scoring 311, were hoping to at least match that performance against India, but failed miserably.
“Last night it really brought us down to earth in a lot of ways, because in the last 10 overs, we went for 136 which at this level I think was a bit of an eye-opener for lot of our guys. We just got to be on the mark when we start on Sunday (vs Kenya),” he said.
Commenting on Wednesday’s 117-run defeat to India, Donald felt that although the Kiwis bowled well first up with the new ball, the attack tapered away subsequently, allowing the Indian batsmen to gain the upper hand.
“In the first 10 overs, the score was about 40 odd for two and we bowled 40 dot balls which is a massive improvement with the new ball.
“The ball doesn’t swing too much here upfront and that’s where we have to narrow our lines down very quickly and come in straighter and set fields accordingly. But the death bowling is going to be crucial.
“Taking 136 off 10 overs, that is heavy going. It just shows you that against a quality lineup like India, you cannot afford to make mistakes like that. Those are the things we are going to work on.
“Dhoni was exceptional last night. Let us give him that credit. Raina supported him well. Dhoni on his day is almost unstoppable. I will be the first one to say we didn’t execute our plans well,” he said.