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Sight Screen

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Slow Act (-worma)

Continuing from Prem's post on Shoaib's slow-un some time back, I looked into the archives to dig out what I had noticed, and written at that time. (here and here).

As Prem said (and I further discussed with him) he did seem to bowl it earlier also, even during our tour in 2004, and as he noticed in those videos, Sachin, Sehwag etc were able to pick it up not from the action, but at the time of release. Good enough to check the shots (as Prem noticed from their backlifts)

In this context, the comments made by Hoggard in his article (just after the series) are relevant
Also, Shoaib Akhtar had a point to prove in this series and he did so brilliantly by running in and bowling at 90mph-plus at the start of the day and still doing so at the end of the day. His slower ball fooled a lot of our batsmen, helped a little bit in Lahore by a dark spot just above the sightscreen that it seemed to keep coming out of. When he released the slower ball, it felt as though it was coming straight for your head, only for it to dip and hit the pitch just in front of you. It is as good a slower ball as most of us have seen, bearing comparison to the ones that Courtney Walsh bowled to Graham Thorpe and Chris Cairns bowled to Chris Read
And its quite apparent here that he is talking about the team's feeling about that delivery (rather than drawing on his own experience as a batsman:-)...a relevant point here is that the English batsman had a difficulty reading it at the time of release due to a 'dark spot' above the Lahore sightscreen. This could be a problem for our batsmen as well, since they are generally shorter than their English counterparts

And I believe that the English batsman have faced Shoaib earlier (although maybe not in test matches?) so they should have known about that delivery, or atleast its earlier avatar. And for them to be thus lured despite that knowledge, and especially for their most 'technically correct' batsman Vaughan (who was almost 'caught in the headlight in the dismissal I saw') speaks of something worthy of more analysis, IMO.

In the duration I watched the game there was no slow-mo analysis done of the change in action, release etc. For all we know, maybe the Indian team management is already at it.


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