Brisbane: Retired Australian Test bowler Michael Kasprowicz has dared Ricky Ponting to embrace the “crazy” in a bid to overcome Australia’s failures on its toughest frontier in India next month.
Skipper Ponting has visited India thrice and averages a paltry 20.85 with the bat - almost 34 runs an innings worse than his career record.
But Kasprowicz - who spearheaded Australia’s attack with Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne in 2004 on its 2-1 raid and sole series victory in India since 1969 - said the key to overthrowing India in its own backyard was “left-field thinking”.
“What was different from 1998 and 2001 in the losing series to the winning series in 2004, we went left-field with our tactics,” the Herald Sun quoted the former Queensland quick, as saying.
“The Australian way was good tight bowling, just outside off stump and build pressure that way. But that didn’t work over there on the lower, slower wickets and against wristy players. You weren’t getting the catches to slip because there wasn’t the bounce in the wicket. So, in 2004, we decided to go at their strengths, which was bowling straighter. In theory it sounds crazy, but that’s what we did and it worked,” Kasprowicz said.
He added: “We changed the field with five fielders on the leg-side. Often with the wickets being so slow and their wrist work being so good they can flick it to leg side. We had two catching men at mid-wicket so they could still have a go at that, but it was a risky shot if you do it in the air.
“It was stuff we hadn’t done before but all of a sudden you have to think a bit left-field with your tactics, get the Indians playing in different areas and change their game,” he said.
Australia’s 2004 triumph was its first series success in India in 35 years, dating back to a 3-1 victory in 1969.
Kasprowicz said the Aussies’ flat history in India came as no surprise, because there was no more hostile environment to play international cricket.
“It’s the most challenging place to play cricket. It’s really tough over there,” said Kasprowicz, who claimed 113 wickets at 32.88 in his 38-Test career.