As the cricketing fans wait with bated breath for the commencement of India’s much anticipated tour of Australia, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar has given an invaluable piece of advice to the Indian squad.
Sachin’s tactic is to be used against India’s biggest adversary in the Test series – Australia’s talisman, Steve Smith. Smith is widely considered as the world’s best Test batsman, averaging an astonishing 62.84 in Test matches.
In an interview to PTI, Sachin said: Smith's technique is unconventional... Normally, we tell a bowler in Test matches to bowl on and around off stump or maybe fourth-stump line. But for Smith, because he shuffles, maybe that line moves further away [from off stump] by four to five inches.”
Tendulkar revealed that the Indian bowler’s should target the imaginary ‘fifth-stump’ line to trouble Smith and dismiss him early. While to a batsman with an orthodox technique, the bowler tries to bowl in a channel outside the off-stump (imaginary fourth stump) but as Smith’s plays with an unconventional style, the ball should be aimed even further outside off.
"One has to aim between [an imaginary] fourth and fifth stump for Steve to nick one. It's just a mental adjustment of line, more than anything else,” added Tendulkar.
Apparently, Smith is infamous for moving across the line, where he is seen covering all his three stumps. Owing to that, the regular off-pitched deliveries hardly trouble him and thus bowlers all over the world have little success against him.
Smith had been dismissed four times on short-pitched deliveries by pacer Neil Wagner, during Australia’s last Test series against New Zealand. When that issue was highlighted in the build-up to the India series, Smith had laid the challenge to the Indian bowlers ‘to bring on the short-stuff.'
Speaking about the same, Sachin said instead of going for the short balls, the pacers should be targeting the outside off-stump channel which he talked about. Sachin said that it is highly likely that Smith is actually expecting short pitched deliveries from the Indian seamers.
"Smith, I read, said he is ready for the short-pitched stuff... probably he is expecting bowlers to be aggressive up front with him. But I think he needs to be tested on and around that off-stump channel. Keep him on [the] back foot and induce that early mistake."
The Aussie batting linchpin, Smith, would be looking to come out all guns blazing against India this time around. In Smith’s absence, Australia had lost the last Test series against India 2-1 at home. Both Smith and Warner were serving an year-long ban at that time for their involvement in the infamous ball-tampering scandal.
(With PTI inputs)