Sunday, August 8, 2010

Having a look at Sharma

First of all, congrats to the Indian team for coming back from behind to square the test series against Lanka 1-1. It takes a lot of character to come back from behind and draw a test series away from home. However, in the euphoria of drawing a series away from home, the Indian team's coaches shouldn't forget that there is a young bowler called Sharma, who has enormous potential, but seems to have lost confidence in his ability and isn't bowling with good rhythm.

At present, what Sharma needs is proper guidance, though would a trundler like Eric Simmons help him? If Gary Kirsten wanted another South African, he could have easily gone for the canny Fanie De Villiers and I have no doubt that he would prove to be useful.

Anyway, I thought of look in brief about Sharma's bowling

Repeatable action - To attain consistency in bowling line and length, any bowler should have a repeatable action. It comes from bowling lots and lots of overs. I would have liked to seen Sharma playing more fc matches, but unfortunately, he made his test debut at a tender age. So, at present I would like to see him bowl only in fc games and in test cricket, as if he plays in shorter formats of the game, he would try to experiment too many things and would struggle to have a repeatable action but is that ever possible???

Wrist position - If I have talk about the basics and finer points of wrist position, I may take another blog and bore everyone, but in simple words, I would try to explain. Sharma is a seam bowler and he would try to hit the pitch hard. The idea is to release it  with the bowler's wrist behind the ball and  the seam being  vertical. The ball would rest on the third finger and thumb. The middle and index fingers would be on the either side of the seam. The  straighter a bowler lands it on the pitch, better it is, as the bowler can bowl with an upright seam.  Sharma can work on it to get it  straighter which would help him to get movement off the pitch and bounce.

Stick to your strengths- Sharma with an open chested action, mainly brings it back into the batsmen.He tends to tilt his wrist to push the ball inwards and when he is in good rhythm, can be an awkward customer to face. He tends  to bowl from the mid-crease and occasionally from wide of the crease which helps him to get sharp inward movement and bounce to trouble the best of batsman. In recent times, I see that he has been trying to come closer to the stumps and his left shoulder seems to be dropping  a bit. As a result, he is losing in pace and direction.

So, why is he trying to come closer to the stumps as I have occasionally  seen him  straightening  it in Australia by bowling from the mid-crease itself. Is he trying to get lbw's, or to bowl the magical leg cutter? By bowling closer to the stumps, he is losing pace, not creating the angle which troubles most of the batsmen and as a result,  he is losing his rhythm. So, it would be better if he sticks to his strengths of getting the sharp movement back into the batsmen and just look to straighten the odd delivery. Just take the example of Jimmy Anderson himself, as he tried to bowl from very close to the stumps at Wanderers in South Africa and got zero wickets!

Be relaxed and  try to plot the batsman's downfall- Just like any other young bowler, it seems like Sharma thinks bowling is all about running as fast as you can and bowl it at good pace, but that isn't enough to take wickets. If a bowler is as quick as Thomson, Akthar, or Patterson it may not matter as they can get wickets with just sheer pace, but for others it becomes a key factor. For instance, against Lanka, I didn't see either Sharma, or Mithun trying to bowl at the stumps to the tailenders.  One could also notice that both seamers  didn't bowl a fuller length to the Lankan batsmen. Most of the Lankan batsmen aren't tall and they are hesitant to come forward, so the bowlers have to bowl a fuller length, but from whatever I saw of both seamers, they tended to bowl  short.

Finally, myself being a left-handed batsman, I can say that ball leaving the left-hander can be the achilles heel for us as the batsmen tends to follow the ball, but most of the left-handed batsmen try their best to play inside the line of the ball and can escape from edging it. If we look at both the Indian seamers, they  shape it away from the left-hander. In  Lanka though, Sharma could get the opener Paranavitana out for a cheap score only once and I can't remember Mithun getting any left-hander out. In fact, when Mithun tried to come around the wicket, he did produce the edge of Sanga only for Raina to drop it.  So, if the plan A of bowling from over the wicket doesn't work,  I would definitely like both the seamers  to try bowling from around the wicket in their first spell itself, as it forces the batsman to play at it. Recently, Jimmy Anderson has got more success against the left-handers by going around the wicket.

I am not any expert on fitness issues, but I feel that just like Munaf Patel and Sreesanth, Sharma too should work on getting his legs stronger.

Anyway, I would just say that Sharma is a precious talent as he has enormous potential, but how he develops depends on the guidance given by coaches and of course, is he willing to work hard on his bowling?


Anonymous said...

Exactly, I agree with some of the points you have raised, He is angling little bit on middle and leg stump. But I think he is working on it. To me for swing bowlers its all about the bowl grip, release and rhythm, for seam bowlers its all about pace and line/length. I agree with you Ishant is not relaxed enough, may be due to pressure around him due to his failure in Subcontinent. He has height and long fingers, he is gifted with that. Need to develop leg muscles. True. Enjoyed your analysis.

greyblazer said...

Thanks for visiting the blog! For a tall bowler it is also important that he makes full use of his height by getting bounce and hitting the bat hard and for that happen he has to look at bowling with an upright seam.

If a tall seam bowler can bowl at 85-88 miles per hour, has the ability to change his length by consistently hitting the good length spot and bowling the odd ball fuller to get the edge and makes use of his height by getting bounce it would be difficult to play him especially if he can get as much sharp inward movement like Sharma does.

Anonymous said...

Dude you don't have to thank me anymore. I have lots of hope for Ishant, its just that he is a bit on thin side. Shoulder and Forarm rapid rotation is needed to get Pacy Full length delivery that can suddenly rise from ground and he can get an edge. I hope he gets bit bulky. But need to go slow, with young guns. I am still not getting over Simon Jones misery. I hope he comes back too. Cheers.

greyblazer said...

Yeah Sharma needs to get bulky. Simon Jones struggles to bowl 10 overs in a match and hasn't played a fc game for more than 2 years now.