Monday, March 04, 2024


McDonald's view of success based around quality of fast bowling rather temptation to fight spin with spin: Lawson

IANS | February 04, 2023 12:19 PM

NEW DELHI: Former Australia cricketer Geoff Lawson revealed that current head coach Andrew McDonald's viewpoint of the side's success in the upcoming four-match Test series against India is broadly based around the quality of fast bowling rather than the temptation to fight spin with spin in the subcontinental conditions.

India are the current holder of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, having won the last three series against Australia in 2017, 2018-19, and 2020-21. Australia, on the other hand, are aiming to win a Test series in India, starting from February 9 in Nagpur, after having done so last time in 2004.

"I caught up with Australian coach Andrew McDonald in a recreational setting last week, but we naturally talked a bit of cricket. His broad view of Australia's potential success in the next four Test matches was based around the quality of his fast bowling rather than the temptation to fight spin with spin."

"The method of 2004 subcontinental success was founded on Australia's fine seam bowling line-up and India's fault line against that quality, " wrote Lawson in his column for 'The Sydney Morning Herald' on Saturday.

In the 2004 series win, their fast bowlers had been the reason for their success, with fast bowlers Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath, and Michael Kasprowicz taking 20, 14, and nine wickets respectively, something which Lawson feels could well be a factor again for the visitors in 2023.

"India have four spinners in their squad for the first two Tests, a rampant indication of the style of pitches that will be served up. India have spin bowlers of variety and quality, and they have batters who play spin well. It's a birthright."

"The magician Shane Warne at his best held them in check, but could not dominate Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag et al. The faster bowlers -- Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath and Michael Kasprowicz -- threatened constantly. The formula has been tried and the Tests were positive for Australia, so why not go down that path again?" he added.

Lawson also thinks having a left-handed pacer will be great for Australia, but Mitchell Starc's absence in the first Test is a huge blow to the visitors' chances of using reverse swing.

"The thing about spinning pitches in India is they are devoid of grass, rough on the top, easily scarred by the size 14 boots of the quicks. It helps if you pack the long spikes for some extra depth on the 'rake marks'."

"It's handy to carry a left-handed fast man in the XI as well so that right-handed batters will suffer as much as the lefties, hence Mitchell Starc's rumoured absence from the first Test may be a double blow to Australia's chances. India, too, have a left-handed pitch abrader in Jaydev Unadkat."

"Pitches that spin also promote old-ball reverse swing. Starc can be unplayable 'reversing' the ball around the wicket. Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are the complete weapons: swinging the new ball and hitting the hard seam, then flipping the shiny side over when the leather is worn."

"The big three also have the velocity to aid the swing. Research of the physics behind old-ball reverse swing points to higher deviation at speeds of more than 140km/h. Medium-pace reverse swing is akin to a spinner's drift."

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