WI legends slam fast bowlers' poor tactics

For­mer West In­dies fast bowler Joel 'Big Bird' Gar­ner stormed out of the Taunton Coun­ty Ground an an­gry man af­ter the West In­dies' sev­en-wick­et loss to Bangladesh in their lat­est ICC 2019 World Cup match on Mon­day, say­ing the bowlers didn't tar­get the wick­et but the Bangladeshi bats­men.

De­spite tal­ly­ing 321 runs, their high­est to­tal so far in the com­pe­ti­tion, the West In­dies were beat­en all over the ground by Bangladesh all-rounder Shak­ib Al Hasan, who hit an un­beat­en 124 to lead his team to a win with al­most 10 overs to spare.

At the end of the game, a clear­ly un­hap­py Gar­ner said: "These guys did not at­tack the wick­ets, they at­tacked the bats­men and they were able to han­dle the short ball and pull them away."

The West In­dies pace at­tack, led by Os­hane Thomas, Shel­don Cot­trell and An­dre Rus­sell in par­tic­u­lar, had earned some re­spect ear­ly on in the com­pe­ti­tion af­ter skit­tling Pak­istan out for just 105 in their open­ing game and hav­ing Aus­tralia on the ropes at 79 for five be­fore the Aussies man­aged to re­cov­er and pull off a 15-run win.

But on Mon­day, Al Hasan weath­ered the Windies short bowl­ing storm be­fore bat­ter­ing the bowlers to all parts of the ground as he hit 16 fours in his un­beat­en knock and com­bined with Liton Das, who hit a 69-ball 94 with eight fours and four six­es, to pull off an even­tu­al easy win and re­vive their team's hopes of ad­vanc­ing to the next phase.

Af­ter al­so see­ing the woe­ful bowl­ing per­for­mance, an­oth­er great West In­dies fast bowler, Andy Roberts, ex­plained that short-pitched bowl­ing is an art and bowler must un­der­stand how to use it prop­er­ly against op­po­nents.

"You don't just run up and bowl short. You be­come one di­men­sion­al and the bats­man will just sit back and ex­pect it and then hit you away," said Roberts, who was part of the feared quar­tet that al­so in­clud­ed Gar­ner, Michael Hold­ing and Col­in Croft in the 1970s.

Roberts him­self was feared be­cause of the fact that he could hit bats­men al­most at will. How­ev­er, he told Guardian Me­dia us­ing the short ball as a weapon was not as easy as one be­lieves.

"You have to learn the art of us­ing the short ball as a weapon and not as your stock ball. These guys are us­ing the short ball as their stock ball, so the bats­men are get­ting used to it. You have to use it spar­ing­ly but when you do, it must be di­rect­ed prop­er­ly and it will bring the re­sults."

Roberts added that the play­ers al­so have to earn to adapt quick­ly to con­di­tions.

"The guys must al­ways think on their feet. In Eng­land the weath­er changes by the minute, so you need to get things right quick­ly. Some­times it starts off as a bright sun­ny day and as you look around it's over­cast. All these things have to be tak­en in­to ac­count when you are bowl­ing."

Reporter: Vinode Manchan

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