India's tour of England, 2014 - Bowling consultant is India’s need of the hour | gocricket.com
 

More than Dravid, bowling consultant India's need of the hour

29 Jun 2014, 1452 hrs IST,  ,  gocricket.com  
More than Dravid, bowling consultant India's need of the hour
© AFP
The Indian bowlers had a difficult day at Leicester on Saturday. 
Former India captain Rahul Dravid's appointment as a consultant for India's upcoming five-match Test series in England has trickled in and at first instance it seems to be a move in the right direction. Dravid, widely considered India's most accomplished batsman of the modern era in foreign conditions, will be joining the Indian team in England after the team think-tank reportedly made a request with the BCCI.

The Indian board, it is learnt, straightaway got in touch with the batting legend and got Dravid's consent. Dravid mentors the IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals and it will be his first assignment with the national team after he quit international cricket in 2012. The 41-year-old was India's best batsman when the team toured England in 2011 with three centuries in a losing cause. India were whitewashed 4-0 by the Andrew Strauss-led side then. Dravid's appointment definitely seems to suggest that coach Duncan Fletcher wants to give the Indian batsmen some lessons in discipline.

This can also be seen as a last-ditch attempt from a coach who is struggling in getting the team to winning ways away from home. The MS Dhoni-Duncan Fletcher combine are now facing a 14-Test drought on foreign soil spanning across three years which seems to have triggered this SOS to Dravid.

A closer look, however, would suggest that it is the bowling department's inexperience which should be a more serious cause for concern than the batting department for the Indian team. Ishant Sharma is the only Indian bowler on the tour who has the experience of bowling in England in a Test match. In Zaheer's absence, Ishant will lead the seam attack which comprises youngsters like ​Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Aaron, Ishwar Pandey, Pankaj Singh and Stuart Binny.

The inexperience of this attack was also exposed in their first league game against Leicestershire. A second tier Leicester team toyed with India's seven-strong fast-bowling attack. Angus Robson and Greg Smith hit run-a-ball centuries in India's tour opener. While Ishant Sharma lacked penetration, bowling as many as seven no balls. The Leicestershire duo toyed with Ravindra Jadeja whose deliveries hardly spun. Bhuvneshawar Kumar struggled to get his stock swing right.

It is not that all is over and the team will take some time to adjust to conditions but it is exactly why they need a bowling consultant. The current bowling coach of the Indian team, Aussie Joe Dawes is facing a lot of heat after India's mediocre performances overseas and things turning around dramatically unless someone else pitches in looks like wishful thinking. With no disrespect to Dawes, who joined this team only after India's 4-0 drubbing in Australia in 2011-12, what India need is a good bowling consultant for guiding the young bowlers and saving them from embarrassment.

In swinging conditions, the young bowlers, especially the pacers, would need mentoring on little intricacies. Dravid's appointment should do no harm but it would have been better if the BCCI sent someone - Zaheer Khan perhaps - as India's bowling consultant. Of course that needed Zaheer's consent as he has not quit cricket, but Wasim Akram or even Venkatesh Prasad could have been asked.

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