The world can come crashing down on a bowler if the format is Twenty20. With their willow wielding opponents ever eager to cart them to the fence, it can breed haplessness on most occasions.
But one team in the Pepsi Indian Premier League has proved to be consistently defiant and successful against the batsmen’s onslaught -- SunRisers Hyderabad.
With even 180- plus scores not ensuring a win ( KXIP vs PW, CSK vs RR), this team has defended sub- 130 totals on a number of occasions. Sunrisers’ bowling coach Waqar Younis feels it’s the variety in their arsenal that has helped them make a fight out of low totals.
“Let me start with one basic fact, we have world- class bowlers. And to add to it we have got the right variety and that’s our greatest strength,” Younis told Mail Today.
“In Dale Steyn, we have pace and accuracy, Amit Mishra is a great spinner of the ball, Ishant ( Sharma) can get the right amount of bounce while Thisara Perera can swing the ball. If your main bowlers can bring such an assortment to the table, the coach is bound to be a happy man.” Indeed, the lethal nature of Sunrisers bowling can be gauged from the fact that four of their players are among the top- 15 wicket- takers in the current edition so far.
While Mishra has 14 scalps, the others are not far behind. Ishant Sharma has 10 wickets while the Steyn, the world’s top pacer, and Sri Lankan Perera have nine scalps each.
But can the pace legend completely ignore the fact that Sunrisers have suffered too, in a couple of matches, due to their batsmen’s failure? “ I would hate to call Sunrisers a weak batting team. We have got the ammunition which needs to fire. Cameron White is there and we have a class batsman in Kumar Sangakkara.
He hasn’t found form yet but it will be wrong to discard him. Shikhar Dhawan is back from his injury and it has only added to our strength,” Younis said. Dhawan’s entry into the playing XI has indeed come as a respite for the team, with the dashing opener scoring a halfcentury in his first match of 2013 IPL against Chennai Super Kings on Thursday.
The former Pakistan captain, however, agreed that some batsmen may give sleepless nights to bowlers, such as what Mahendra Singh Dhoni did against Hyderabad on Thursday and Chris Gayle in his 175- run blitzkrieg against Pune Warriors.
But Younis adds that it is the job of the bowlers to constantly try to improvise and maximise their chances of success.
“We all saw what happened in the Bangalore- Pune game. If a great hitter like Chris Gayle chooses to attack then bowlers are bound to be demoralised,” he said.
“But during our playing days, we were always told to be bowl with a big heart. We were also under tremendous pressure but trying to bowl better after a bad delivery is the only way out. And I tell the same to my bowlers. Keep trying, you may still fail. But if you don’t even try, you are bound to fail’.” Younis added that it is this constant effort to excel that has helped Sunrisers to third place in the points table, despite having far fewer stars than other teams.
“Under Tom Moody, the team has really gelled well. Everyone is going great with each other. We have a good work ethic and it is because of this that we have successfully defended low totals,” he said.
Being a player who saw his prime in the nineties when theer were no T20s, Younis feels that the shorter format has only gathered more fan base for cricket.
“Every era is different with its special qualities. Fans were passionate then too but now T20 has linked sports with entertainment. It’s like watching a movie. You come to the stadium for three to four hours, get a result and go back home a happy soul,” he said.
While Pakistani players have not been allowed to participate in IPL- 6, former players from the country like Younis himself and Mushtaq Ahmed (Delhi Daredevils) are gracing the back room, while Rameez Raja is commentating.
Younis feels if Pakistan players are allowed it would only be good for the tournament.
“ Players from Pakistan would have brought a different blend to the tournament. There are some problems in the political scenario.
But Pak players would have been good for both the countries,” he said.