Gillespie backs pace bowlers against India

Published: Monday, September 22, 2008, 13:46 [IST]
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Sydney: Australia's former pacer Jason Gillespie has given the thumbs-up to the Australian selectors for picking a pace oriented bowling attack for the difficult tour of India.

Gillespie was part of a three-man pace attack that also comprised Glenn McGrath and Michael Kasprowicz when the Australians last toured India in 2004. The world champions had won the Bangalore and Nagpur Tests to win the series 2-1 and Gillespie was confident the same tactics will work this time round.

''I heard Ricky Ponting say that they'll probably use tactics similar to 2004, and I think that's the right way to go,'' Gillespie said.

''I remember one of the big things we did was working on the fitness of the Indian batsmen. They're not regarded as the fittest blokes in the world, and generally score their runs either walking singles or hitting fours. So we would have three or four sweepers out at different times, and the tactic worked really well. To VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag it was particularly effective.''

''Probably the most enjoyable thing about that tour for me was the different plans we used. At one stage, you had Glenn McGrath taking the new ball with four blokes on the fence. You had to put your ego to one side, and everyone was happy to do that. We did the jobs we had to do as a fast-bowling unit, and it worked. I'm sure they'll try something similar again,'' he added.

The 33-year-old believes Brett Lee will play a crucial role in India. Lee was a fast-bowling reserve in 2004, and Gillespie believes that experience helped transform him into a driven, ferocious competitor.

''We must have been bowling well to keep a bowler like Brett Lee out of the team'' he said. ''I really think that the period where Glenn, 'Kasper' and myself were bowling together was the real turning point for Brett. It gave him an incredible hunger for Test cricket, and he just trained the house down. He knew that his mates were in really good form, and that he had to work hard. I think that, in part, it made him the bowler he is today.

''He will go down as one of the best fast bowlers the game has seen. He looks like a bit of a pretty boy with the blond hair and the guitar, but he's an absolute warrior underneath. You can't imagine what he puts his body through. He's in agony a lot of the time, but he's as tough as they come and doesn't complain. He's a completely different bowler to the one in the 2001 Ashes series.

Back then, he was trying to do something different with every ball, but now he is patient and works to a plan.'' The Australians start their Indian sojourn with a warm-up game against Rajasthan Cricket Association's Centre of Excellence with the first Test in Bangalore from October 9-13.

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