Indian young pacers demand for faster pitches

Published: Monday, June 19, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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St Kitts:Brain Lara's demand for fast pitches found support in the Indian pace duo of S Sreesanth and VRV Singh who, however, felt that it was no guaranty of a bowler's success.

''Lara wants fast pitches. It will be very good for us. I will be more than happy if we get green pitches. But green pitches are not cakewalk too, we have to keep the ball up and make them play as many balls as we can. Its hard work ahead for us,'' Sreesanth said.

''If the pitches were a little more helpful to fast bowling it would have been better. I enjoy bowling fast,'' VRV Singh said echoing his pace partner's views.

The two, apart from competing for a place in the side, are also engaged in a contest to grab Lara's wicket most number of time in the ongoing series. While Sreesanth and Munaf Patel have got him out once each, VRV is still waiting to get the prized scalp.

''Brian Lara is the key batsman in the West Indies squad. I am delighted that I got an LBW decision against him. However, I would like to get him out a couple of more times before the series finishes. The idea to take his wicket is to keep it simple and do the basics right,'' said Sreesanth.

''Lara's wicket is most crucial. The competition amongst us is good. I know that I can only play the next match only if I perform well. I am enjoying this, it's better to play in competitive cricket,'' VRV said about his desire to pick the Windies skipper's wicket.

From a bunch of young seamers trying to impress national selectors at the Challenger Trophy in Mohali to new ball partners for India in the West Indies, life has come full circle for Sreesanth and VRV. And their healthy rivalry for wickets has only helped India's cause.

VRV got his first wicket in the second innings of Antigua Test when he had Ian Bradshaw caught by Yuvraj Singh. ''It has been a great experience to play at the Test level and bowl to international batsmen. When the ball was in the air I was very excited. I prayed to god that this be my first wicket. Yuvraj took the catch and my joy was doubled,'' VRV said recalling his first international wicket.

The painfully slow tracks in the West Indies have, however, proved to be a dampener for them.

''On these slow and low pitches it is important to do the basics right and not experiment too much. Otherwise the batsmen would get more chances to score. In-swinging balls are more dangerous here,'' VRV said.

The pitches have been roundly criticised by Lara, who has hinted at green tops for the remaining two matches.

Meanwhile, Sreesanth played the first Test with mixed success with his first innings bowling being pretty pedestrian but he came back well in the second innings to claim two important wickets on the last day as India pressed for victory. A sore heel made him miss the second Test, but Sreesanth is slowly getting back on track.

''I practised fielding two days back and I didn't feel the pain.

I haven't bowled yet but I am planning to be at the nets tomorrow.

My training has lots of swimming sessions and beach running. I hope to be back on field very soon,'' Sreesanth said.

Munaf Patel has easily been the best among the young Indian seamers in the first two Tests, and his team-mates admit that.

''Munaf has bowled very well throughout and taken lots of wickets. He has been successful so much because he has been swinging the ball on these low tracks and getting many LBW decisions,'' said VRV.

So what's the camaraderie like among these seamers who fight for a place in the team and complement each other as well? ''All of us talk to each other a lot. We are not shy to share any idea about bowling to a particular batsman. I talk to Irfan a lot, he is experienced and has wonderful advises. We do compliment each other,'' VRV revealed.

Its rest and relaxation time for the Indians ahead of the third Test and the players are doing their best to make the most of it.

''I have been resting for the last five-six days. I want to use this period to get back in shape. I am also doing other things like painting. I enjoy dancing and listening to music too. I begin with Gayatri Mantra and end with hip-hop,'' Sreesanth, who always carries his i-pod on the trips, said.

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