Sachin Tendulkar has an advice for Indian bowlers on how to dismiss Steve Smith
Steve Smith is currently rated as one of the best batsmen in the world, across formats, alongside Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Kane Williamson. He would be featuring for Australia in the upcoming India tour, slated to get underway from Friday.
Team India is set for its most significant challenge Down Under, as they take on the mighty Australians, across formats, from Friday. The hosts would bolster at its full strength, including the valuable services of Steve Smith.
Smith is rated as one of the best batsmen in modern-day cricket, alongside the likes of Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Kane Williamson. Although he would not be leading the side this time around, the relief of not having the captaincy burden on his shoulders is what makes him an even dangerous player.
Although Smith is coming off a rough patch in the just-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), playing in his home territory would make him dangerous as ever. Meanwhile, in order to contain him, former Indian legend, Sachin Tendulkar, has come up with a piece of advise for the Indian bowlers.
"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 (of delivery) moves further away by four to five inches," Tendulkar was quoted as saying to PTI in an exclusive interview.
"One has to aim between (imaginary) fourth and fifth stump for Steve to nick one. It's just a mental adjustment of line, more than anything else. Smith, I read, said he is ready for the short-pitched stuff.... probably he is expecting bowlers to be aggressive upfront with him. But, I think, he needs to be tested on and around that off-stump channel. Keep him on back-foot and induce that early mistake," added Tendulkar.
Speaking on if an in-swinging yorker can be useful in getting rid of the batsman from New South Wales, Tendulkar wondered, "For that to happen, you have to see how much the ball is swinging. All those things matter. You can't use saliva, so it's a different case if wickets have a lot more life. In England, during the Test matches, on occasions, the Dukes wouldn't be swinging much. I don't know if they will have greenish wickets for the ball to do a little bit. If the ball doesn't swing. That swinging yorker, you might not even see."
Nonetheless, Tendulkar rated the current Indian bowling attack as one of the best in the world, saying "As I have always said, we have one of the best and most balanced bowling attacks India has ever had. Eventually, you have to pick 20 wickets to win Test matches. But, 20 wickets shouldn't be too expensive either.... along with our attacking bowlers, we should also identify bowlers who can hold one end up on unresponsive pitches, bowl those continuous maiden overs to build the pressure."
India would also be playing their first day-night Test in Australia, as Tendulkar opined, "Probably due to difference in timing, you have to score those quick runs in the first session of the day, which is afternoon, when the pitch will be flat. The pink ball starts seaming around in twilight and that's the ideal time to bowl."
"So, pacing the innings and the timing of declaration becomes very critical. Suppose, you have a decent score on board and you are eight down at the sunset, you should declare rather than going for an extra 20 runs. Put the opposition in during that twilight hour and take two to three wickets straight up. That will be more valuable than those 20 runs," observed Tendulkar.
"Get the top-order out when the grass cover on the pitch is cool, but not wet. If the grass is cool, then there will be seam movement, but if it's wet, then it will go straight and just skid through the surface. Once the outfield gets wet and if some dew is on offer, then, it will be easy for batsmen," Tendulkar further reckoned.
Tendulkar also rated the current Indian batting as one of the most talented ones, stating "Mayank, I know, is a confirmed starter because he has scored big runs and if Rohit is fit and available, then, he should be there. Between other guys (Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul), that will be the management's decision as they would be knowing who's the form man."
Speaking on skipper Virat Kohli's absence during the Tests, Tendulkar figured, "Virat not being there without a doubt is a big void. But, also, on the other hand, the kind of bench strength that we have and the talent that is available, it is a good opportunity for somebody to establish himself."
"...I would put Cheteshwar Pujara's name along with Virat. These two players have played together more than anyone else. There is Ajinkya Rahane as well, but he has not played as consistently in the playing XI as Pujara and Virat," concluded Tendulkar.