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Pacers could have used short-ball ploy against Head earlier: Mhambrey

Last updated on 08 Jun 2023 | 05:31 AM
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Pacers could have used short-ball ploy against Head earlier: Mhambrey

The Australia batter survived a barrage of short deliveries from Shami and Siraj to register his sixth Test ton

India bowling coach reckons that his fast bowlers could have used the short-ball strategy against Australia batter Travis Head a little earlier. By the time Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj resorted to bowling short balls at head, the batter was well-set and did not look in great trouble. 

Mhambrey reckons, that the bowlers should have used the ploy 30-40 runs earlier.

"I thought that's one definitely discussed amongst our bowlers. We always felt that that was an area that we could exploit against him. But yeah, as you said, we could have done it a little earlier. Maybe 30 - 40 runs before, this strategy could have been implemented," Mhambrey said while addressing the reporters after Day One of the WTC final.

"But as you said, the captain, you've got to trust the captain. I think you also go with his instincts. And he felt maybe that situation wasn't right to use that kind of a strategy. But I thought we could have done it a little earlier. 

ALSO READ - Day 2 look ahead: More runs await at the Kennington Oval

While it was a tough call to leave Ravichandran Ashwin out of the XI, Mhambrey siad the call was taken looking at the pitch and conditions.

"I think when you discuss with the team, not only on the first day, but you know the conditions for quite some time. We have been practicing for 3-4 days. We are looking at the wicket, how it is. I think that conversation happens with the player. Obviously, we have to be honest about our strategies. The player is very important. But your combination is also important," Mhambrey said.

"So, you discuss which combination should be played on the wicket. Yes, you are saying that he is a world-class bowler. Definitely, no doubt about it. But I think when we have a conversation, the player also understands that if a decision is taken, it is taken for the team's benefit. 

"Looking at the combination in terms of the wicket. But I think it will happen. Somewhere after the game, you realize that you could have played with two spinners. That will happen. But I think the conversation is honest. And the player understands that if a decision is taken, then why that decision has been taken."  

Mhambrey is hopeful of India striking early on Day Two that will enable them to get back into the game.

"I thought conditions today obviously, like the wicket, it was better. But the second new ball that we took, we saw that the ball was seaming a little, cutting a little bit. So, definitely tomorrow morning will be an important session for us. If we take a few wickets quickly, then definitely we have an opportunity to come back in the game," Mhambrey said.

Australia are in pole position in the WTC final at The Oval at 327 for 3. Head is batting beautifully, just four shy of 150, while his partner Steven Smith is five short of his 31st Test ton. The duo have put on 251 runs for the fourth wicket so far. 

ALSO READ: Travis Pant and Cheteshwar Smith give India a taste of their own medicine

Speaking of his counter-attacking knock, Head said that he has never backed away from putting away deliveries that deserve to be and that has paid off.  "I've said in the lead in – if runs are presented, if balls are presented to score off of – I'm looking to score off it and anything between trying to my best ability to stay out there and I felt like there was moments of that today," the southpaw said. 

"There were some challenging periods and some periods where – I've played a few championship games here but the ball gets to the boundary pretty quickly if you find the middle of the bat and that was the theme of the start of my innings – yeah, just playing within myself and trying to find the middle of the bat. I felt like it was challenging in the right areas and you can hit a gap and get away. I guess the scoreboard moved in that middle session."

Since being dropped in the middle of the 2019 Ashes in England, Head has made some changes in his technique. Reflecting on that, Head said, "I think technically I've made those changes not just for England but for all round, I feel like there's certain parts of the game that you adapt in each condition that you go to. That’s the same going anywhere, but the foundations that are set in my technique have definitely changed a lot since 2019 and I felt like coming here I was in a better place, and you're never guaranteed anything. 

"So yeah – nice to prepare well. nice to have the last couple of weeks over here and preparing and getting ready for what was to come and it’s a nice start to the summer." 

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