Former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman has lauded the Indian lower-order batsmen as well as the team management for working on the batting aspect of the game in order to provide some resistance at the fag end of the innings.
On Day 5 of the Lord’s Test against England, India’s tail-enders, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah produced a spirited fightback and stitched a stunning 89-run unbeaten partnership. This helped India push the lead past 250, before eventually setting England a target of 273 in about 60 overs.
While Shami scored a half-century, Bumrah proved to be an able ally and contributed with 34 runs of his own. Speaking about the improved performance of these batsmen, Laxman credited the change in their mindset for bringing the desired results.
“First of all, credit to the team management and all these tail-enders. As I mentioned yesterday, Ishant Sharma is more than capable of batting and I’ve had the experience of having those partnerships with him. Shami is capable of hitting those big sixes.”
“Umesh Yadav, who is not part of the playing XI, he’s a useful batsman, he’s got a first-class hundred. Jasprit Bumrah we’ve seen from the Australia series how much value he gives to his wicket. But it’s the desire to get better which is very impressive,” Laxman said.
“All these bowlers come out during training and do extra throwdowns” – VVS Laxman
The change in fortunes for the lower-order didn’t just happen overnight. India’s throwdown specialist, Raghu, engaged the bowlers in a throwdown session whenever the batsmen were away from the nets. Laxman said that the majority of deliveries were directed at the rib cage as well.
“Whenever I’m commentating or I’m on the ground, I’ve seen Raghu, the throwdown specialist, working with these bowlers. Whenever the match is over or the top-order batsmen aren’t doing any nets, all these bowlers come out and do extra throwdowns to get batter.”
“And whenever Raghu does the throwdowns, majority of them are targeted at the rib-cage at a good pace. And the more you work, and the more meaningful your preparation is, the more better you get. Their desire to get better is evident and you’re seeing the results now,” the SRH mentor reckoned.
The wagging of the lower-order has also come at an opportune time, considering India’s middle-order woes are at an all-time high. The bowlers contributing with the bat does offset the number of times India has been on the receiving end.
“The Indian bowlers always take the wickets of the top-six batsmen and then the opposition tail wags and takes India away from the match. And contribution from Indian tail-enders hasn’t been as good as they want so I think this is a major shift,” he concluded.
India dismissed the England openers early on in the fourth innings, thereby gaining the upper hand in what promises to be a tense finish.