The Australian batsmen were seen getting trapped in the leg-side set-up of the Indian bowlers during the fiercely-contested series that ended earlier this week but its planning, spearheaded by head coach Ravi Shastri, started way back in July, bowling coach Bharat Arun revealed on Friday. Not just the fast bowlers, even the spinners were seen attacking the stumps of Australia’s batting pillars, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, with fielders at catching position on the leg side.
India won the series 2-1 after pulling off a stunning chase on day five in the fourth and final Test at the Gabba. Speaking to media in an online press conference, Arun went on to reveal that the ploy to strangle the Australians was Shastri’s brainchild.
Describing the same, Bharat Arun said, “Ravi called me sometime in July and we were discussing the Australia tour, that we needed to take the offside out of the Australians. So, we had our own analysis and we felt most of the runs Smith and Labuschagne scored and most of the Aussie batsmen, they had got a lot of runs out of the cut, pull, and on the offside.”
Arun said they also learned a lot from the New Zealand bowlers, especially Neil Wagner, who troubled Smith during the series between the trans-Tasmanian rivals in the previous season.
The Indian bowling coach explained, “So, Ravi called up and said ‘I want you to make a plan where you eliminate the offside out of the Australians’. He said we will attack straighter lines and have an on side field so it is very difficult for batsmen to be consistently clearing the onside fields. That really worked for us.”
Arun said the plan was subsequently communicated to skipper Virat Kohli.
Recalling that the process was started in July, Arun said, “The thought process started sometime in July then we had discussions with Virat. He bought into the theory and we employed the same strategy in Adelaide and Ajinkya was magnificent from Melbourne onwards. The bowlers responded beautifully to that.”