Vettori puts new spin on pace-heavy predictions

India may have lost the short Twenty20 series 2-0,but that will not be their biggest worry heading into the one-dayers.....

Written by Sandeep Dwivedi | Wellington | Published: February 28, 2009 2:31:07 am

India may have lost the short Twenty20 series 2-0,but that will not be their biggest worry heading into the one-dayers. Much like the man himself,Daniel Vettori’s art isn’t eye-catching. But ask any Indian batsman who has faced one of the best left-arm spinners the game has seen in the two T20 games here,and he will tell you that when the ball hisses out of Vettori’s fingers,the piece of willow in the hand is merely a shield and not quite a weapon they so often used to swat lesser trundlers.

If all the pre-tour tour talk was about green tracks and pacers,Vettori has added a new spin to the debate. In the 48 balls that he has bowled so far this week,Vettori has let rip only three that can genuinely be classified as long-hops and conceded just 38 runs. Three sixes have been hit off his bowling,but his wickets have made a big impact — both Yuvraj Singh’s at Christchurch and Yusuf Pathan’s on Friday left India without a big-hitter in latter part of their innings,something that has made a big difference.

The smiles on the faces of the fans showed that New Zealand are all geared up to witness their modest left-arm star’s show against a batting line-up they have heard so much about. With their skipper intimidating the visiting stalwarts in the first two games of the tour,the anticipation has now got a ‘bring them on’ tone to it.

Former New Zealand offie Paul Wiseman explains the intricacies of the left-arm spinner’s bowling,and why the Indians have found him tough to handle. “To understand his bowling one needs to keep an eye on the speed gun and watch his variations closely. He knows how to bowl on our wickets. He isn’t a massive turner of the ball,but the most important thing is his arm-speed stays the same all the time. It is very difficult to pick him early,” says Wiseman. Both Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan,incidentally,fell to deliveries they failed to pick the pace of.

While the batsmen facing Vettori speak about the buzz the ball makes,Wiseman emphasises on the ticking brain. “He is such a thinking bowler,especially in T20. This is one format where you have to think ball-by-ball and not over-by-over,” he says.

How the Indian batsmen counter the buzzing ball and ticking mind will have a big role to play in the outcome of this series.

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