| TUFFEY: Tormentor-in-chief
Queenstown: What type of New Zealanders are destroying the much-touted Indian batting line-up' Simple: those who clear 2m in socks, weigh 100kg and can bounce the ball from just short of good length.
“You have to have that extra bounce in your armoury to make it difficult for Indian batsmen and keep them in two minds,” said Daryl Tuffey, who has troubled the visitors with his bowling in the Test series as well as the first three one-dayers.
New Zealand’s three-pronged pace attack, consisting of Tuffey, Jacob Oram and Kyle Mills, has accounted for 19 Indian batsmen in the first three one-dayers at the cost of just a little over 13 runs per wicket.
Richard Hadlee, chairman of the New Zealand selection committee, said the physical presence of these bowlers were playing no less a role in routing the Indians. “These are the bowlers who have physical presence. They are big and strong and they are intimidating to look at and of course they are getting the ball to bounce off a length,” he said.
Tuffey said bowling along the wicket was not an accepted option these days. “The Indian batsmen, for instance, can hit through the line so well. If the ball is not going sideways, they can take you on and hit reasonably good balls for four as we saw the other day with Virender Sehwag.”
Sehwag has been reduced to a shadow of his aggressive self in the current series though he struck a fine hundred in the second one-day International at McLean Park Sunday.
The three fast bowlers are thriving on the rule of one bouncer per over in one-day games losing little opportunity in making the Indians hop at the crease.
The pacers revealed they have not relied on the coaching programmes of New Zealand Cricket (NZC) to have such a devastating effect on the Indians. “While the group did weight-work during the off-season under NZC programmes, it was not all about developing strength,” said Oram.
“We do general strength work, but concentrate on some muscles that are specific to bowling like the shoulder. We do a lot more specific training rather than just work on our muscles,” he said.
However, the three have not had a crack at Sachin Tendulkar in the one-day series as yet because the Little Master is nursing a twisted ankle.
Sachin, in all probability, will be missing the fourth match Saturday as well and the three pacemen can look forward to a field day once again.
However, the Indians hardly appeared serious about the task at hand as they arrived in the afternoon Thursday and promptly went airborne on a helicopter to soak in the beauty of this scenic holiday resort.
The fourth match of the series, the first cricket International ever to be staged here, is absolutely vital to the Indians as a defeat would lead to New Zealand clinching the one-day series as well.
Meanwhile, allrounders Andre Adams, Chris Harris and Scott Styris have returned to the team for the fourth one-dayer Saturday, adds Reuters.
Adams and Harris have been recovering from back and shoulder injuries, respectively, while Styris was the odd allrounder out when the original squad was announced.
Stephen Fleming (captain), Andre Adams, Nathan Astle, Chris Harris, Brendon McCullum, Craig McMillan, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Mathew Sinclair, Scott Styris, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori