It`s advantage Mumbai against Somerset in semis, feels Pollock

Chennai: Mumbai Indians bowling coach Shaun Pollock on Thursday said his team has the experience of playing at the slow track at M A Chidambaram Stadium and will look to adjust to the conditions quickly when they take on Somerset in their Champions League twenty20 semifinal clash on Saturday.

Mumbai have played two matches in Chennai, while Somerset have not played any game on this track and Pollock feels his team would have the advantage of knowing what to expect on this pitch.

"It`s interesting to say the least. Our game against New South Wales was very difficult. We`ve played two games and managed to experience what the conditions are all about. We know what to expect," he said at a press conference.

"I think we`ve to just adjust on the day. I mean we don`t quite know how the pitch is going to play until we arrive and see how the first five or six deliveries behave. It`s going to be strange, because we`ve played two games and we`ll adapt pretty well, I think," he added.

Pollock ruled out promoting struggling allrounder Andrew Symonds, who has scored just 26 runs in four innings, up the order saying the Australian`s role is that of a finisher.

"I don`t think a semifinal is the time to get (a player`s) confidence going and rhythm (back). You want your best batsmen at the crease as possible. I think that`s the key in T20 cricket," he said.

"You want the guys who are in good nick at the top of the order. Andrew knows what his role is, that of a finisher, that`s why he comes down the order."

The South African bowling coach backed Symonds to come good in the last two games for Mumbai.

"I think with a player like Andrew, experience counts. He`s got more chance of turning around a tournament than an inexperienced player. He`s got that ability, he`s got that vast experience," Pollock said.

"In T20 cricket sometimes you have to play your shots or get out. At the top of the order, you have more time to settle. But he`s keen to perform well, very motivated to do well, hopefully in the semifinal and the final."

Talking about their semifinal clash, Pollock said his team has specific plan for Somerset`s batsmen.

"We have a plan against each batsman we come up against. They played in the qualifying tournament so we`ve got a lot of footage on them. I know (Roleof) van der Merwe quite well from South Africa. We know they have quite some strength at the top of the order. Craig Kieswetter is a fantastic player," he said.

Asked if Mumbai`s top order was too frail, Pollock said, "You can look at it in two ways: you can either be concerned or excited. From my side the glass is half full. The batting unit hasn`t clicked, it has operated at 75 per cent (of its potential) so far. But as far as we can get that right as a unit, we`ll be very happy".

Asked about his side`s bowling plans at the death, Pollock said even if the going gets tough it is important to stick to the plan.

"At the end of the day you can`t control what a batsman does and got to stick with your game plan in what you believe is the right option to restrict the batsmen and believe in it," he said.

Pollock also had good things to say about Somerset captain Alfonso Thomas, who is one of the tournament`s leading wicket takers with seven wickets.

"I think he understands the surface he`s playing on and uses the slower ball to good effect. On wicket that hold, that`s very effective. He understands he has the ability to work yorkers. I think he`s an all-round T20 player now," he said.


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