Pakistan to capitalise on ‘dog chewed’ ball in India

Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi (3L) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of India’s captain Rohit Sharma during the 2023 ICC Men´s Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between India and Pakistan at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on October 14, 2023. — AFP

Pakistan national squad head coach Grant Bradburn is confident that his boys will benefit from the reverse swing in the remaining matches of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, currently underway in India.

The Men in Green are set to face off against Australia at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Friday (October 20).

Speaking ahead of the match, Bradburn said that the ball gets scuffed up quickly in the conditions in India.

“We have also had some wonderful insights about the venues too — the ball is scuffing up quite quickly and looks like it is dog chewed after about 20 overs. It obviously means the ball becomes a little bit softer, which makes it difficult to score in the later stages,” Bradburn told PCB Digital in the lead-up to the game.

“That also brings in more reverse [swing] which plays into our hands. So all of those elements are a good learning for us that we are taking on-board,” he added.

Bradburn also shed light on the crucial learnings from Pakistan’s defeat against India in Ahmedabad.

“There is always pressure on the team to win. When we do not, we critique our performances very, very closely and we’ve done that over the last couple of days, too. I think the experiences from Ahmedabad were fantastic,” he said.

“It was a great opportunity to learn and grow from the whole experience of playing in front of a very large, hostile crowd. It is unusual to play in front of a crowd, which is pretty much, you know, solely there for the opposition. However, it was nice to hear some silence as well at times when we were batting well.

“We had some really good honest conversations yesterday as a group talking about how we wanted to take the game on more and we did have an opportunity to be a little bit more assertive with the bat earlier on.

“As a result, we put ourselves under a little bit of pressure and then you know, we just didn’t get enough to really put pressure on in the second innings. That, however, doesn’t take away from the fact that as a group, we’ve also acknowledged that we didn’t put enough balls in good areas.”

Pakistan started the World Cup with two wins before losing to India and they sit fourth in the standings.

Meanwhile, Australia lost their first two matches without crossing 200 runs but won their last game against Sri Lanka to move up to seventh in the standings.

“We have done our homework on Australia. We know what they can contain, we know their style of play, we know what their strengths are and we know where we might be able to exploit them,” Bradburn added.

“But, most of all, we are looking into the mirror and making sure that we’re true to ourselves by making sure that we are challenging each other in the right way. 

We are a tight unit and we back everyone in this group, but we are certainly becoming more comfortable to challenge the performances and roles in the different phases of the game. We acknowledge as a group that we haven’t put together the true performance across all three disciplines yet but we know when we do that, it’s a beautiful thing.”

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