India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey admitted that Rohit Sharma and the Indian bowlers were too late in employing the short ball strategy against Travis Head on Day 1 of the WTC Final 2023 at The Oval.
In the form of his life Travis Head counter-attacked spectacularly after Australia found themselves in a bit of a pickle at 76/3. Head has had some issues with short balls despite his superb form over the past couple of years.
However, the Indian pacers failed to move much away from their length deliveries and dished out some easy boundary pickings for the left-hander to cash in on. Head reached his fifty off 60 balls and century off 106 balls, and this allowed Steve Smith, who wasn’t at his best, to motor along steadily at the other end.
Head finished the day at 146* off 156 balls Smith on 95* off 227 balls, their partnership being 251* (370) and taking Australia to a commanding position at 327/3 on Day 1 in London. Indian seamers and captain Rohit Sharma looked helpless once Head got going and Smith joined in too later on.
India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey came in the press conference after the end of Day 1 play. Mhambrey confirmed that India had decided to use the short ball tactic, but admitted Rohit Sharma and his bowlers were too late in using that strategy, and by the time they did, Head had settled down nicely.
“We definitely discussed this amongst our bowlers: we always felt that was one area we could exploit against him. But we could have done it little earlier, may be 30-40 runs before this strategy could have been [used],” Mhambrey said.
“But you have to trust the captain, you also go with his instincts, and he felt may be that situation [early on] wasn’t right to use that kind of a strategy. But I thought we could have done it a little earlier.”
India’s leaving out of R Ashwin from the playing XI was a much-debated topic.
Echoing Rohit Sharma’s reasons at the toss, Paras Mhambrey cited the conditions for this decision.
“It is always a very difficult decision to drop a champion bowler like him. Looking at the conditions in the morning we thought an additional seamer would be beneficial. It has also worked in the past for us. Seamers have done well out here for us. You can always look back and say that additional spinner would have been beneficial but we took the call looking at the conditions,” said Mhambrey.