PCB seek clarity on India series -
3/9/2015 9:19:46 AM
India and Pakistan signed a MOU to play each other in six series between 2015-2023 © Getty
cricket chief Shaharyar Khan on Wednesday, wrote a letter to BCCI
secretary Anurag Thakur pressing him for an update on a proposed series
between the arch rivals in December this year. A two Tests, five one-day
and one Twenty20 series in United Arab Emirates is shrouded in
uncertainty with political relations between India and Pakistan at one
of their lowest ebbs.
The two countries have not played a
full series against each other since 2007, though Pakistan toured India
for a short series in December 2012. "I have written a letter to Mr
Thakur, in the main saying that cricket and politics should be kept
apart," Khan told AFP.
"I am positive that
the BCCI shall be able to convince the Indian government that it ought
to honour its MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the PCB," he added.
year PCB and BCCI had signed a MoU under which they were scheduled to
play six series in the 2015-2023 Future Tours Programme, but all were
subject to clearance from New Delhi. Khan, a former foreign secretary
and a career diplomat, said that strained relations should not affect
"While relations between Pakistan and India have seen its share of ups and downs, cricket should be kept out of it," he said.
two cricket boards also differed over TV broadcast rights - BCCI is not
keen on doing business with Ten Sports, Pakistan cricket's official
broadcaster - and Shahryar wrote in the letter, "We have given the
broadcasting rights to Ten Sports and the International Cricket Council
(ICC) accepts the channel's bid."
"It's not that we can't survive without playing them (India)," Shaharyar had ESPNCricinfo
last week. "We are surviving, and can survive, but our position is that
the game shouldn't be mixed up with the politics. So we are trying to
get the series revived based on the MOU they have signed with us. They
have to honour it and if they don't it's their responsibility."
has previously said that the countries' cricket teams should not meet
while political relations remain fraught, saying cricket cannot be
played with bullets. "On one hand there is a rise in terrorist activity,
on the other you can't expect to play a cricket series with Pakistan,"
Thakur said in July.
But last week Thakur
softened his stance, telling a private television channel in Pakistan
that a series was possible. "If situation improves I cannot rule out
cricket series in December," Thakur said. "I toured Pakistan in 2004 and
was overwhelmed, and when Pakistan toured India the following year I
distributed sweets on their captain's (Inzamam-ul-Haq) birthday
India step up the aggression index -
3/9/2015 9:19:00 AM
Virat Kohli has maintained that playing for a draw will be the last option. © AFP
was a memorable day for Indian cricket in a lot of ways. The series win
over Sri Lanka after 22 years showed that this is a new Indian side led
by a 'Gen X' batsman who doesn't know how to take a backward step.
is the primary objective for every member of this team. That much was
apparent in Kohli's very first Test as captain, against Australia in
Adelaide last year. Any other skipper would have chosen the easier
option of a draw in the first Test of a big series, but not Kohli, who
kept egging his batsmen to go for the shots.
that drawing a Test match has to be the last option for our group of
guys right now," Kohli again announced at the Sinhalese Sports Club
(SSC) after his team's 117-run win over Sri Lanka in the third Test.
the first Test in Galle after dominating 80 per cent of the game would
have likely crushed other Indian sides of the past, but not this one.
Kohli and Co. went back to the drawing board, utilizing technology to
their advantage. It is understood that the team watched videos of the
Sri Lanka-Pakistan Test series held earlier this year and observed how
their neighbours played Rangana Herath and Tharindu Kaushal.
team maintains an 'aggression index' which tallies how many times they
stepped out or played sweep shots against the opposition spinners. It
was observed that in the second innings in Galle, this index was only at
52. The immediate task was to rectify this area and they did so in the
second Test at the P Sara Oval, taking up this index to 112 in the first
The truth is that a lot of hard work
has gone into India's comeback win. The biggest credit, of course, has
to go to the bowlers - the heroes who claimed 60 wickets in the series.
Ravichandran Ashwin led the way with 21 wickets but equally impressive
was Ishant Sharma, who kept things tight right from his first over in
Galle. The Delhi speedster ended up with 13 wickets but was prepared to
play the role of aggressor, not too dissimilar to what Mitchell Johnson
does for Australia.
"The way they have bowled in
partnerships in this series has been something that has stood out for
me. As a captain, making changes has been very, very pleasing because it
makes your job very easy. You don't have to tell the guys what to do
because they understand one guy is striking, getting wickets so I need
to go out there and control runs and create that pressure. "So that
communication between all the bowlers has really helped. I think this
series belongs to the bowlers because they have been outstanding," Kohli
There have been a lot of changes in the
batting order over the course of these three Tests, due to injury or
form. The skipper and team director Ravi Shastri intend to build a team
for the future and they consider this series as a stepping stone. The
combination of the side will be different in India than in England or
South Africa in the future. "You have to be prepared with every
combination - for No. 3, 4 or 5. That's why we have been saying that no
one owns a spot in this lineup. If we go on tour to South Africa, we
just can't experiment unless we are sure that the change will work. All
of this is being done keeping in mind the future," a source close to the
team management said.
What that means is that
Rohit Sharma might have had a modest series with only 202 runs at an
average of 33.66 but will still have his nose ahead of Cheteshwar
Pujara, whose epic unbeaten 145 probably set up this series win. The
Indian team also has to be realistic - this was one of the weakest
Lankan sides in recent years, and they were possibly distracted by the
retirement of Kumar Sangakkara.
BCCI may postpone Annual General Meeting -
3/9/2015 9:18:13 AM
BCCI is looking to seek clarity on the N Srinivasan situation before scheduling the AGM. © AFP
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may not be able to conduct
its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on September 27, as decided earlier.
As per BCCI's rules, the board has to give a mandatory 21-day notice for
the AGM. That can happen only after the accounts of different
sub-committees in the working committee are cleared, which seems
difficult at the moment.
Besides, the board also needs to get
clarity on whether N Srinivasan can attend the meeting. According to a
source, the board filed an interim application on Wednesday to seek a
clarification on whether former Srinivasan could attend the working
committee meeting. "This will take a little time and with no clarity on
when the next working committee will be held, conducting the AGM on
September 27 is out of question," a BCCI working committee member told TOI on Wednesday.
board needs to sort out the IPL mess and work out a way to replace the
two suspended teams Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in the
next working committee meeting. The board also plans to conduct a
meeting of the cricket advisory committee to take a call on the Indian
coaching staff before the South African series begins.
Then there are other pressing matters like the appointment of a new coach and the composition of the new selection committee.
has broken its own rule in the past by not conducting the AGM on time.
Last year, the AGM was postponed because 'the conflict of interest' case
against Srinivasan disallowed him from contesting the BCCI elections.
The working committee members then decided to postpone the meeting and
it was finally held in March earlier this year.
can still go ahead and conduct the AGM if the bigwigs want to break the
rule. But before that, the board needs to get a clarification from the
Supreme Court on Srinivasan and only then can it decide the date of the
working committee," another senior BCCI official said.
Virat Kohli has played a huge role in Amit Mishra's revival: Hirwani -
3/9/2015 9:17:31 AM
Amit Mishra complemented R Ashwin and picked up 15 wickets in the series. © AFP
Mishra is one of the success stories of India's Test series victory in
Sri Lanka. An injury to youngster Karn Sharma - who was part of the Test
squad in Australia - paved the way for Mishra's selection and he
grabbed the opportunity with both hands, bagging 15 wickets at a miserly
average of 15 while forming a brilliant combination with R Ashwin. The
duo took 36 out of the 60 Sri Lankan wickets in the series to help India
end a 22-year drought in Sri Lanka.
No wonder, Mishra's
mentor, Narendra Hirwani is a happy man. The former India leg-spinner
gives credit of Mishra's success to skipper Virat Kohli. "A captain
needs to show confidence in a leg-spinner's ability. Some captains
prefer a safer approach, while others love taking risk. Virat belongs to
the second category. I have seen how Virat has used Yajuvendra Chahal
(Haryana legspinner) in the IPL as an attacking option. Now with Ravi
Shastri part of the team management, leg-spinners are back in the scheme
of things. Shastri too likes leggies. He was my first captain and my
best performances - both in Tests and One-dayers - came under Shastri,"
Hirwani told TOI on Wednesday .
feels Mishra is bowling with more freedom under Kohli. "When a bowler is
tense, it reflects in his performance. Here, a captain plays a huge
role in easing out that tension. Mishra isn't doing anything different.
He is just bowling with more confidence because of the faith the captain
is showing in him," he said.
"If you look at the
best leg-spinners around the world like Shane Warne, Abdul Qadir or
Anil Kumble, they always had the captain's backing. Qadir became a
different bowler once Imran Khan started backing him. Warne always
played under some great captains like Alan Border, Mark Taylor and Steve
Waugh. So has been the case in Kumble's case too," Hirwani added.
was playing in Tests after a gap of four years. After a poor tour of
England in 2011, he wasn't considered for national duty with juniors
like Ravindra Jadeja and Pragyan Ojha being preferred over him. Hirwani
said he worked more on the mental aspect with Mishra as the bowler
'didn't need any technical assistance.' "He was a bit frustrated being
in and out of the team. So, I only asked him to focus on his bowling
rather than looking at different things which were not in his control.
He has got nearly 15 years of experience so he knew what it takes to be
successful at that level. It was just a question of the team showing
confidence in his abilities. Kohli and the team management are doing
just that," he said.
"He is looking good because
the captain is putting faith on him. Earlier, he would think what will
happen if he didn't do well in a match. He would concentrate more on the
future than focus on the present and that makes you tense and you can't
give your hundred per cent when you are tense. He isn't insecure
Steve Waugh backs Ponting's call to dump toss in Tests -
3/9/2015 9:16:27 AM
Ricky Ponting called on the authorities to rid Test cricket of the toss. © Getty
Waugh has backed calls from fellow former Australia captain Ricky
Ponting and West Indies great Michael Holding for cricket chiefs to rid
Test cricket of the toss. Under Ponting's proposal, suggested during the
recent Ashes series in England, the away side would choose who bats
first in order to counteract any advantage the hosts may gain from
preparing a pitch that suits them best.
Waugh said he was
open to the radical idea. "I don't mind that, I think that's not such a
bad thing," Australian Associated Press quoted him as saying. "At the
end of the day I think there's probably too much emphasis placed on the
toss and the conditions away from home. I don't mind the authorities
looking at some other options."
favours change after suggestions during the Ashes that groundsmen had
been told to prepare deliberately flat pitches in order to neuter
Australia's pace attack. "The concerned authorities must look at what
Ricky Ponting suggested. No more tosses," he said in a column for Wisden
India last week.
"The minor setback there in my
opinion, is that tosses are big for television. It makes for good
tension, everyone is focused on that coin when it's in the air and the
winning captain's decision and so on.
isn't relevant now, times have changed and interest is waning in Test
match cricket. What you need to do now is to make sure you have even
contests between bat and ball. For that, there should be no toss and the
visiting captain should be allowed to decide what he wants to do after
inspecting the pitch."
Despite backing Ponting,
Waugh said losing the toss was not entirely to blame for Australia's
Ashes series defeat, rather their failure to adapt to English conditions
had cost them dearly. "They played poorly. Their batting technique was
astray from players of that calibre," Waugh said, adding that modern
cricketers should be able to perform in any conditions
India gain ground in Test rankings after series win -
2/9/2015 9:22:26 AM
India moved to within one point of fourth placed Pakistan in the ICC Test Rankings. © AFP
India has closed the gap on neighbour Pakistan to a single point in the
latest ICC Test Team Rankings following their 2-1 series triumph over
Sri Lanka which concluded with a 117-run win in Colombo on Tuesday.
Kohli's side went into the three-match series on 97 points and has
gained three rankings points after coming from behind to win its first
overseas Test series victory since 2011. Just three points now separates
England (third on 102 points), Pakistan (fourth on 101) and India
(fifth on 100), with New Zealand a further point back in sixth position.
Mathews' men, meanwhile, remain in seventh place but have dropped three
rankings points. India have an opportunity to progress substantially in
the rankings table when they host top-ranked South Africa in a
four-match Test series at home from November 5. Sri Lanka, meanwhile,
will host eighth placed West Indies in October.
'An angry fast bowler is a captain's delight' -
2/9/2015 9:21:48 AM
Ishant was fast and furious in the last two Tests, rattling the opposition with attitude. © AFP
the first time in a long while, an Indian team has managed to pick up
20 wickets in three successive Test matches. All the talk in the
build-up to this series centred around dismissing the opposition twice,
and those words have finally been translated into action. Two men -R
Ashwin and Ishant Sharma - deserve the kudos for this achievement.
Ashwin finished the series as the highest wicket-taker with 21 scalps
but it was Ishant's eight wickets in the deciding Test here at the
Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) which set up the historic series win.
was fast and furious in the last two Tests, rattling the opposition
with attitude. The Delhi speedster has already been found guilty of a
code of conduct breach by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and
might well be banned for the next Test, but skipper Kohli has backed him
all the way .
"I was very happy with the incident when he was
batting. It happened at the right time for us because we had to bowl
yesterday and they made him angry. It couldn't have happened at a better
time for us. And the timing was absolutely perfect and everything fell
in place for us as far as being aggressive is concerned. (Look) at the
way he bowled in the second innings...he didn't concede a boundary for
19 overs," Kohli said after his team's 117-run win.
docile track at the P Sara Oval in the second Test, it was again
big-hearted Ishant who had turned the match around for India.
"He bowled his heart out,
like he has always done when the Indian team has needed to defend
scores in Tests. If you remember Lord's or even in Australia, he bowled
his heart out. I was very happy that he has an aggressive mindset. An
angry fast bowler is a captain's delight. I was really happy to see what
happened yesterday and it switched some things on in the right ways,"
The man who towered over all the
bowlers in this series was R Ashwin. The off-spinner has admittedly gone
back to the drawing board after being left out of the side for a couple
of Tests in Australia. If murmurs are to be believed, Sri Lanka had to
go against their strengths and lay out a green top at the SSC to try and
nullify Ashwin. "The last 10 or 12 months I have been more focused on
the Test match game. I came to terms with the fact that Test cricket is
no child's play.
Dawn of the Virat Kohli era -
2/9/2015 9:21:07 AM
In a sense, the Kohli era in Indian Test cricket has now well and truly begun. © AFP
could excuse Virat Kohli's men if they have no memories of India's last
Test series triumph in Sri Lanka. It happened in another millennium,
1993 to be precise. Those days Mohd Azharuddin was India's captain and
Kapil Dev was still playing cricket, not golf. And opener K L Rahul, the
current squad's baby, was in his nappies.
Since then, several
greats - Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, MS
Dhoni - captained India with distinction and retired. But winning a
Test series again in Lanka seemed daunting. The Lions at home looked
Undeniably, this was the weakest Lankan squad in
years. But like the hosts, India too is in transition. At the end of a
rare, tightly-contested series involving India in recent years, captain
Kohli's rough and restless men wrenched out a 2-1 victory, the country's
first away series win since 2011.
In a sense, the Kohli era in
Indian Test cricket has now well and truly begun. And early indications
are it will be always bold and occasionally boorish, but also compelling
to the core. Barring the second innings of the first Test, Team India
batted with grit, bowled with fire and guile and snapped most chances
(though Rahul, who dropped three catches, might differ) that came its
It's never easy to recover from a defeat, especially after
being on top for much of the game. But skipper Kohli was far better at
rallying his troops, marshalling his resources than his opposite number,
Angelo Mathews. Kohli also seems to have got the best and (probably
also the worst) out of Ishant Sharma, a fellow Dilliwala. The beanpole
bowler spouted venom and not just with his in-cutters and bouncers -
and spearheaded the Indian attack with heart, especially in the third
Test. His match figures, eight for 86, underline his incisiveness.
series was really won by the two spinners, R Ashwin (21 wickets) and
Amit Mishra (15). The leggie was generally out in the cold in the Dhoni
regime. But this is a new era.
No other slow bowling pair from
India had ever breached the island's defence like them. And it wasn't
just their bowling. Mishra displayed spunk every time he put his pads
on. His 46-run partnership with keeper Wriddhiman Saha in the second
Test was vital to the Indian cause. And his 59 and 39 in the 3rd Test
almost add up to 100. Barring opener Cheteshwar Pujara, no Indian batter
scored more than Mishra in the game. Even Ashwin's 58 was crucial in
putting the game out of Lanka's reach.
Corporate preachers could
take a lesson from India's teamwork. Pujara, rather unfairly kept out
earlier, answered his critics with a classy 145 not out. Only three
Indians (Sunil Gavaskar, Sehwag and Dravid) have carried the bat before.
Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Saha, Naman
Ojha and Rahul - all played their parts with honesty, if not to full
satisfaction. Rahane also equalled the world record of maximum catches
for a non-wicketkeeper in a match: 8.
This is far from a settled
team and several rough spots need to be ironed out. And indeed it will
be tested when South Africa come here later this month for a four-Test
series. For instance, Stuart Binny can be a decent No 8 but is he good
enough to bat at No 6 against Dale Steyn & Co.? How quickly can
Ishant sort out his worrisome no-balls? Rahul scored 108 in one innings
but is he really sure where his off stump is? Does off-spinner Harbhajan
Singh deserve a place in the squad? And who do the selectors drop once
Dhawan and Vijay are back?
These are intriguing, questions. In the
coming months, if Kohli and his management find honest and intelligent
answers, Indian Test cricket could be headed for achche din
Renovation at Green Park to complete by September 30 -
2/9/2015 9:20:21 AM
are in full swing at Green Park stadium for the forthcoming one-day
match to be played against the visiting South Africa's team. UP Cricket
Association (UPCA) is hopeful that the entire renovation work would be
completed by September 30.
At present, the construction work in
second bathroom at the Director's Pavilion is in progress. Though there
are two bathrooms on the ground floor but they are not sufficient for
the two teams and their supporting staff.It was therefore decided to
build a new bathroom on the ground floor and club the other two
bathrooms into one. Fencing work is also going on in the stands adjacent
to the new pavilion.
Meanwhile, curator Shiv Kumar told TOI
that on the advice of Daljit Singh, the BCCI curator, who had visited
the city last week, the work had also started on the outfield and the
Prem Dhar Pathak, director UPCA said: The progress
of work at Green Park is satisfactory and everything is under control.
As soon as the dressing room work is over, white-washing will start in
the stadium. In the meantime, other construction works will be
completed. Chairs will be installed in a few days. All the work would be
over by fixed deadline of September 30, he added
My defence was to attack the bowler, says Romesh Kaluwitharana -
2/9/2015 9:19:33 AM
I think I managed to play my cricket to my potential - Kaluwitharana © Getty
was an assault the likes of which were rarely seen before in ODIs. Sri
Lanka were set a competitive 272 to win after a Sachin Tendulkar century
in a group match of the 1996 World Cup at the Ferozeshah Kotla. Two men
- Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana - made it a no-contest
within the first three overs.
The Lankan openers, who went on to
rewrite the manuals of ODI cricket, clobbered the Indian bowlers - Manoj
Prabhakar in particular - for 43 runs in the first three overs.
Prabhakar, playing in front of his home crowd, went for 33 in just two
overs and then resorted to bowling off-spin in what proved to be his
last international match in India colours.
remembers that day vividly."No matter what total we were chasing, we
(Sanath and me) always played to our strengths. Sometimes when one of us
were playing really well, we tried to give the other the maximum
strike, like in Singapore where we had put on 80-something for no loss
and I was on nought. On that day at Kotla, however, we just felt that
the wicket was good and we were getting the ball to hit so we smashed
it," Kaluwitharana told TOI on Tuesday.
It was one of the
many sparkling partnerships that these swashbuckling openers put on over
the years. Kaluwitharana, in fact, laid down the template for explosive
wicketkeeper-batsmen, which the likes of Adam Gilchrist followed later.
day one, my cricket was simple. My defence was to attack the bowler. I
think I managed to play my cricket to my potential. The captain, coaches
and the selectors believed in me and that's why they sent me up to open
the batting in Australia in 1995," the 45-year-old recalls.
the opener's attitude also had their fair share of critics. "Sanath
(Jayasuriya) and me thought in the same way. We went after every bowler,
no matter what his name was. The critics said it was not cricket, it
was slogging. But actually it wasn't slogging just because other teams
couldn't do it.Nowadays everyone plays this way and it is the accepted
norm," Kaluwitharana, who is the Sri Lanka 'A' team's coach for six
years now, said.
One of the former wicketkeeper's prodigies as
coach is Kusal Perera, who made his debut in the third Test against
India at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC). Perera went on to score
fifties in both innings in the Test.
"I have been coaching the
Lanka 'A' team for about six years and I am proud of the fact that I
have given about 15 players to the national team during this period.
Kusal has been playing for the 'A' team for some time now. On the last
tour, he averaged over 150 in both the Tests and the One-dayers. He has
got plenty of potential and can go on to be one of the greats. He's so
talented but needs to play with his thinking cap on," the man named
'Little Kalu' by the late commentator Tony Greig said.
the future of Lankan cricket, Kaluwitharana said, "We have lost players
like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela (Jayawardene) in the recent past but
Sri Lankan cricket has gone on. I see a lot of talent in our junior
cricket. We just have to identify and blood them at the right time.
Michael Clarke takes indefinite break from cricket -
2/9/2015 9:18:23 AM
I just think my body and my mind needs a break - Clarke © Getty
Australian captain Michael Clarke on Wednesday pulled out of his Big
Bash League deal with the Melbourne Stars and said he will take an
indefinite break from the game.
The 34-year-old, one of the
outstanding batsmen of his generation, retired from international
cricket last month after the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval.
Clarke was expected to honour a two-year contract signed in April with
the Stars in Australia's domestic Twenty20 league, but he said he needed
time away from cricket.
"Right now for me, I just think my body
and my mind need some time away from the game of cricket... and just see
what that's like to be without it," he told Triple M radio.
who has long battled back problems, said quitting international duties
had prompted him to consider his wider playing future, as his pregnant
wife Kyly prepares to give birth to the couple's first baby in January.
"It's been a big part of my life and I just think that with my
retirement from international cricket now I just need to take myself
away from the game of cricket for a little while and just see what
that's like. To actually be without it," he said.
yourself to the max when you're playing sport at the highest level and
now I've pressed stop on that part, in regards to international cricket,
I just think my body...and my mind just needs that break."
well as his injury issues, Clarke also cited the continuing
psychological impact of close friend and team-mate Phillip Hughes' death
as a factor in his decision "I guess that's part of it as well. How big
a part? Right now I'm unsure," he said."I just need this time to allow myself to go through whatever I need to go through to be able to move forward."
died last year after being hit on the head by a bouncer at the Sydney
Cricket Ground, with a shattered Clarke giving a moving eulogy at his
But Clarke did not rule out returning to the crease at
some point, leaving open the possibility of playing the second year of
his contract with the Stars. "I'm really hopeful that love and passion
that I've always had for the game will come back," said the batsman, who
scored 8,643 runs in 115 Tests. "I've got a two-year deal at the
moment, so hopefully it all turns out ok and I come back and play next
year. But even if they decide they don't want me to play, I'm hopeful
I'll be able to help the club have success in another way
Mystery faded, mature Ajantha Mendis bides his time -
1/9/2015 10:17:01 AM
R. Premadasa Stadium is about half an hour away by 'tuk-tuk' from the
Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), where the third India-Sri Lanka Test is
going on. It is one of the bigger, if not the biggest cricket stadium,
in the country and at one corner of the field there are a bunch of Sri
Lankan players doing running drills.
On the field, a Cricket
Association of Bengal (CAB) team is taking on the Sri Lanka 'A' side in
a three-day match, but this group of players is not part of the 'A'
team. Among them are ODI pace king Lasith Malinga with other speedsters
like Shaminda Eranga and Nuwan Kulasekara. There is one oddity among
them, of course, a spinner - Ajantha Mendis.
years ago, when India toured these parts, the team did not know what
hit them. Some called him a 'mystery spinner' others a 'carrom-ball'
spinner, but Mendis, along with Muttiah Muralitharan, cut the powerful
Indian batting down to size. The off-spinner claimed 26 wickets in just
three Tests and became a sensation overnight. Fast forward to 2015,
Mendis has only played in 16 Tests after that series and added only 44
wickets to his kitty. In the last two years, he has completely dropped
off the radar with floundering form and injury.
Tharindu Kaushal walks with the tag of 'mystery' at the SSC, one can't
help but go up to the original maestro and ask what he's up to. "I had a
severe back injury six months back. I haven't been able to bowl at all
during this period. Now after rehab, I have started to do a bit of
running and bowling over the last six weeks," Mendis told TOI.
of the mistakes I made was bowling with back pain. It came to a point
where I just couldn't bowl off-spinners because it was hurting the back.
I just couldn't continue like that be cause I am an off-break bowler. I
am now slowly starting to bowl again, developing and refining my
off-break which is my stock ball," he added.
doesn't forget the support of Murali and Mahela Jayawardene during the
tough times he has seen over the last few years. "Murali and Mahela have
always been supportive since I made my debut. They were always there
for me over the last few years as well. Mahela used to help me plan my
bowling, set fields and even suggest which variations to use when I
first started playing," Mendis, who is much more fluent with English
these days, said.
The tag of the 'mystery bowler'
will always follow Mendis around but the Moratuwa-born spinner wants to
be known as an 'off-spinner'. "I would like to be known as a good
bowler. I bowled with some variations and that's why I was given the tag
of a mystery bowler. Now I want to go back to my stock ball. I now know
if I want to pick up wickets I have to be more disciplined. I have
learned how to bowl in Test cricket," the 30-year-old said.
Another offie reaping the benefits of going back to the basics is Ravichandran Ashwin."He
is a very good bowler," Mendis said, "He bowls a good line and length
and generates good bounce. As I learnt in Test cricket you have to be
more patient and bowl dot balls."