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If They Try To Get Me Out, I will Counter Them: Smith On Bouncers Of Indian Pacers

By Shubham Shah
Nov 14, 2020 • 19:07 PM

Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah's use of searing short-pitched deliveries in the just-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) may have set the alarm bells ringing in the Australian camp. Though premier Australia batsman Steve Smith brushed aside such concerns, Bumrah's recent success with the short ball sets up hopes of a mouth-watering contest.

Among Bumrah's IPL scalps with short-pitched deliveries were Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, Nicholas Pooran, Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube, and Andre Russell. Bumrah on occasions, like in the case of Rayudu, never shied away from pounding the batsman with short deliveries till the batsman gave in.

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During the IPL, Smith faced just six deliveries from the India speedster and there was no short pitched stuff, with almost all being good length. Smith hit Bumrah for a four and a six in one game before being dismissed by pace bowler James Pattinson.

In the other game, Smith was dismissed by Bumrah on the only ball he faced from him, while trying to a swipe.

Bumrah had during the IPL told media that he wants to be proactive and smart with the approach and considers the surface too.

With Australian wickets being bouncier than those in India or the UAE, Bumrah may fancy his chances of bowling the short stuff a lot more frequently in the forthcoming series.

The use of short ball is likely to be more considering that the new Kookaburra ball stops swinging after the first 20-25 overs.

Smith had faced problems with the short ball during the series against New Zealand during 2019-20 season Down Under, with left-arm pace bowler Neil Wagner getting him four times with the short delivery. The Kiwis had planned a short ball attack and Smith succumbed to it four out of the five times he went to the crease in the three-Test series.

Smith still managed to pick 214 runs at an average of 42.8 with two half-centuries.

However, the former Australia captain remains unfazed and said it is tough to replicate Wagner's skill set as the New Zealander is accurate and manages his speeds well.

"It's no dramas for me. I just play the game and sum up the conditions -- how they're trying to get me out and being able to counter that. I mean, a few different oppositions have tried it and they've certainly found it more difficult to [execute it] the way Wagner did. He's got an amazing skill set where his speeds go up and down; everything is between your ribs and your head," Smith told News Corp.

"If teams are trying to get me out like that it's probably a big benefit for the team because it takes a lot out of people's bodies if you continually bowl short. I've faced a lot of short bowling in my life and I haven't had too many stresses with it. I suppose we'll just wait and see."