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‘Chasing difficult in Australia, easier to defend targets’ say Misbah-ul-Haq, Wasim Akram, and Shoaib Malik


Since January 1 2020, here are some of the numbers of wins while chasing in T20s. In Melbourne, it’s 50% chance of winning. In Adelaide, it’s 40% percent chance of success in chases. Winning while chasing drops to 41% in Sydney Cricket Ground. In Hobart, it drops further to just 21%.

“If you have a good score in Australia, your chances of winning go up. In Asia, generally, you win the toss, you bowl and 70-80 percent of the game is in your bag. Not in Australia, usually. If you have made 170 and over, the chase doesn’t turn out to be easy. There are some changes in the pitch. The ball will do something, there is some help to the bowling team later. As in, it’s not a huge advantage but it’s even-stevens. You just can’t win a toss and think the job is done. You have to perform well,” Misbah-ul-Haq said on A Sports.

Wasim Akram, a co-panelist, added that dew doesn’t play as much role in Australia as it can do in the subcontinent. That helps the bowlers. Both spinners and pacers. “The weather changes, it gets cooler in the evenings and without dew, it means there will be some swing. Without dew, the bowlers also feel more comfortable running in fast and try swing or seam.”

Akram said even the run-ups get better in late evenings when there is no dew. He talked about the differences on the nature of the surface in run-ups. “The run-up area in the outfield is sandy and relatively soft but the place where you land, it’s rock-hard. You have to press land hard to even get spike marks. That’s why in the 1992 world cup, Imran Khan took us 3 weeks ahead of the tournament to get us used to the run-up and surface. It’s a different matter altogether that we didn’t get the grounds and we had to bowl on the terraces of parking lots for a while. But we got used to running in and bowling.”

Misbah added that there is a skinniness on turfs on the pitches in the late evenings. “They can focus on the wrist and move the ball that much better,” Misbah said.

And Akram was also of the opinion that “running between the wickets is mighty crucial” as the boundary percentages are less than 50% in Australia.

Shoaib Malik spoke about his Big Bash experience, and said how spinners come more in Australia, especially the finger spinners in the chases. “In Australia, they attack with the finger spinners. The left-arm orthodox spinners do well in Big Bash; they also get wickets. My BBL captain George Bailey used to use my off-spin even against two set batsmen. I gave him a stare once (laughs) and he said, ‘no you have a better chance of taking wickets, run rate will drop automatically’.

India defeated Australia by six runs in their warm-up match. (Twitter/BCCI)

Misbah talked about match-ups and how it’s important for captains to know which time it’s best to attack.

“I haven’t seen after MS Dhoni doing it. First there were Mahela Jayawardene and Stephen Fleming. They knew the batsmen’s psyche and how to make their strength a weaknesses. And what timing to do it. Captains these day don’t do it much. You have to see what time to go after batsmen; you have to take a chance.”

He gave a personal example in Pakistan T20 league against Kamran Akmal, who was good against left-arm spinner, sweeping and cutting. “I used to have two men within the circle and ask him to sweep, but early on his knock, before he has settled.”

In Australia, you can’t sweep as easily as there is bounce. Even pulling a short ball off spinners isn’t as easy because of the bounce. In Asia, you can rock back, wait and pull. Not so easy in Australia. It’s one of the main reasons finger spinners are good in Australia,” Misbah-ul-Haq said.





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