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Sweeping regularly is not the answer to playing good spin bowling, says Ian Chappell

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) Former Australia captain Ian Chappell believes regular use of the sweep shot is not the only way to survive against spinners on pitches in India. He added that a batter needs to have good footwork and get runs through the gaps to thrive on playing Tests in sub-continent conditions.

“Sweeping regularly is not the answer to playing good spin bowling, and anyone who says so is talking through his hat. The odd player is very good at sweeping and should utilise the shot, but for the majority there are better ways.”

“Any good spin bowler who makes the ball bounce is likely to expose the dangers in sweeping constantly. It should have been obvious in Australia’s build-up what kinds of batting strategies needed to be used in India. The most beneficial are to watch the ball closely, more so than in Australia, and that there is a fraction more time than you think.”

“Once a batter understands about the extra time on slightly slower Indian pitches, he can work the ball into a gap to collect precious runs. Those runs, especially early in an innings, when survival is treacherous, can frustrate even the best spinners,” wrote Chappell in his column for ESPNCricinfo on Sunday.

After losing the first Test by an innings and 132 runs in Nagpur inside three days, Australia lost the second Test to India by six wickets in New Delhi, which meant their chances of winning the Test series came to an end as India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Now 2-0 behind, Australia will now face India in the third Test at Holkar Stadium in Indore, starting from March 1. Chappell also gave the example of Indian skipper and opener Rohit Sharma’s batting in the first two Tests of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy as something to learn for the Australian batters.

“A successful player needs to quickly work out how to survive the first ten minutes on a typical Indian pitch that encourages spin, and hope he enjoys a share of luck. If he plays sensibly, like Rohit Sharma has admirably shown during the series, batting isn’t impossible on testing Indian pitches.”

Chappell signed off by saying Australia made errors with selection strategies on the tour of India. “Selectors can be fooled into thinking that playing spin bowling well in Australia automatically means success will follow on Indian pitches. That isn’t so but if the method in Australia is a sound one, selectors should assume it could lead to success in India.”

“Australia’s selection on this tour has been awfully inconsistent and at times irrational. Getting selection right makes for an air of calm, which, along with effectively putting a stop to dressing-room tantrums, can aid team spirit.”

“The Australian cricket team is very good at many venues around the cricket world but alarm bells should have rung long ago about the trip to India.”



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