Dubai: Mumbai Indians’ coach Shane Bond has stressed that quick adaptation to wicket conditions will go a long way in his side targeting a successful Indian Premier League (IPL) this season.
Plagued with injuries, chiefly recurring stress fractures of the back, Bond retired from Test cricket in 2009 when only 34 years old and then took over coaching duties. Often described as “New Zealand’s best fast bowler since Sir Richard Hadlee”, Bond has been equally known for his guile in understanding the game.
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“The most important thing for me is that we try to do as much as we can to adapt to the conditions. Given the history of the three grounds, you have some idea of how it is going to play. But the fact is that you have to adapt as quickly as you possibly can,” Bond said a day before his Mumbai Indians readied for their match against the Kings XI Punjad on Thursday.
“For us, we have a pretty simple theory though: we try to bowl seven metres as the fast bowling group and five metres as a spin bowling group. We practice these lengths consistently, regardless of the pitch, the conditions. And, generally if you are in and around those areas you are in the right slots. What we have to negotiate later is the pace, or whether we want to bowl wide or a bit straighter. We go in with this basic plan and then adjust as quick as we can.”
The 45-year-old Bond further explained that his bowlers were also given the freedom to experiment once on the field, particularly when it comes to bowling the odd yorker. “The yorker is just one of the many balls that a fast bowler has in their armoury. If you look at the pitch that we have played on most of the time [in Abu Dhabi], then we all know that there are really big square boundaries and the pitch is on the slower side. We look at the batsman who is facing, we analyse and bowl accordingly keeping that element of unpredictability so that the batsman isn’t quite sure what to expect from the bowlers,” Bond added.
The KXIP side has been on a roll with skipper KL Rahul and opening partner Mayank Agarwal leading the run-scorers’ list with 222 and 221 runs. Bond promised that his bowlers will be at their best implementing a pre-planned strategy to get the main batsmen back into the dressing room.
“KL has got runs against us in the last few games as well. He is a brilliant player and we will have a right strategy in place in terms of finding ways to contain him and the rest at the top. KXIP is a strong team and KL is a dynamic player and he loves to score all round the field,” Bond related.
“We also know that he [Rahul] takes his time generally through those middle overs and that gives us the opportunity to put on some pressure on him. We will have specific ideas on how to get him out. We have a quality bowling unit and we just need to put the adequate amount of pressure on him. If we put some pressure, then we can restrict them,” he added.