WTC Final | Indian bowlers should use bouncers liberally to trouble New Zealand batsmen, reckons Aakash Chopra

Commentator Aakash Chopra has asked the Indian speedsters to apply the utmost usage of bouncers against New Zealand batters to make them uncomfortable in the WTC final in Southampton. The former cricketer has also asked the lower batting order of India to contribute with some crucial runs.

Cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra has advised Indian bowlers to bowl huge amounts of bouncers against New Zealand batsmen in the historic World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton. 

The conditions in England are favoured to assist swing bowling, but according to Chopra the conditions are considered ideal for consistent short-pitched deliveries. The former cricketer believes India should use bouncers as an important weapon to terrorise New Zealand batsmen, who he feels need to be denied the comfort of playing close to the body. 

“English conditions typically aren’t considered ideal for consistently short-pitched bowling, but if you have the pace, like this Indian bowling attack does, you must use bouncers liberally. The New Zealand batters are unlikely to take them on, but bowling short will be a good ploy to prevent them getting comfortable with planting the front foot and playing the ball close to the body,” Chopra wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo.

New Zealand opener Devon Conway had a remarkable debut series against England, where he aggregated  306 runs at an average of 76.50, which included an exemplary double-hundred on his debut innings. Conway’s partner Tom Latham struggled to score runs managing only 88 from his four outings at an average of 29.33, while middle-order batsman Henry Nicholls had a decent series with the bat. Chopra sought the Indian bowlers to counter all the New Zealand left-handers with heavy bouncers which will unsettle them at the crease.   

“When you encounter a batting side like New Zealand, it’s important to rattle their cage every now and then. While most sides would bowl bouncers to the likes of Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme, the Indian fast bowlers must use them against Henry Nicholls, Devon Conway and Tom Latham too.

“Also, whenever a batter is new at the crease, there’s always a little window of opportunity before he finds his feet, so bouncers are helpful in unsettling them.”

Both the teams are filled with experienced pace bowlers who will take the centre stage in the inaugural WTC final, with swing bowling likeliest to trouble the batsmen in the early innings. The focus, understandably, is on India’s top-order, but Chopra is of the opinion that Virat Kohli’s men could potentially hurt the Kiwis by scoring invaluable lower-order runs. The former opener reckoned that, down the order, with the bat, the Indians might have an avenue to hurt Kane Williamson’s side.

“India and New Zealand possess great fast-bowling line-ups (and I’m not using “great” lightly here). Considering the pedigree of the two attacks, it’s almost a given that both will make early inroads and pick up wickets at regular intervals. While most batting innings are built around one or two big innings, there’s a strong possibility that might not happen in Southampton, so it’s important to stay in the contest even when the lower order is out in the middle, batting,” Chopra said. 

“English conditions, with all the green and moisture around, are conducive to traditional orthodox swing bowling but not so much reverse swing. Add to that the fact that none of the New Zealand bowlers are rapid and it presents the Indian lower order the opportunity to contribute significantly, which they must seize.” 

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