• Walsh on AB challenge

    Former West Indian great fast bowler Courtney Walsh reckons the best way to stop AB de Villiers scoring runs is to ‘out think’ him.

    Walsh was commenting on the official Cricket World Cup website http://www.icc-cricket.com/

    He spoke specifically on how to bowl at the upcoming World Cup.

    ‘My not having played the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992 in Australia and New Zealand, one might question my views on what I am about to say. But having toured both countries on more than one occasion, I might just know a little bit about the conditions in both.

    ‘I know there have been a lot of changes since I last played and, in my opinion, the balance of the game has tilted in favour of the batsmen. However, great fast bowlers are still plying their trade and doing a very good job. My simple advice to all of them is that there must be consistency in all aspects of their work.

    ‘These conditions can be tricky, so one has to be prepared mentally and physically for the challenge. Generally, the white Kookaburra ball offers a bit while it is new and hard, and the pitches will also offer something, especially if the game starts early. Day-night games are a bit different as the ball will do less. In New Zealand, if the dew comes into play, then all your skills will be tested. The pitches might not be as bouncy as in Australia, but you will get some assistance early in both countries.

    ‘My advice is to try and maximise all your advantages by trying to strike early with the new ball, even if you have to be a bit more aggressive than usual with both the bowling and field placings. The bowlers will have to bring their A game and try to out-think so many world-class batsmen.

    ‘How? Well, subtle changes of pace will be necessary. Slower balls will need to have their own variety, not just one standard one, but even a slower one than the regular slower ball. Increased attention should be paid to the movements of batsmen around the crease as well.

    ‘Players such as AB de Villiers, Aaron Finch, Chris Gayle, David Warner and Brendon McCullum, to name just a few, are the kind who, on their day, will make bowlers pay dearly. The million-dollar question is how I would bowl to these guys. For a start, can I say I am glad I am retired now!

    ‘I would say that you try to restrict the use of their arms as they are so powerful and they’re always trying to be one step ahead of the bowlers. So it’s very, very important you try to out-think them. As a bowler you have to try to be one step ahead all the time. Try to plan well.

    ‘This is easier said than done, but with hard work and confidence it can be done. Remember, in this bat-dominated game, just one over or even one ball can change the outcome of a game.’

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