KOCHI: India’s coach Gary Kirsten has revealed two key weaknesses his side targeted in the Test series: Nathan Hauritz and Australia’s middle-order batting – a blueprint England will follow in the coming Ashes series.
After his side completed a 2-0 sweep, relegating Australia to an all-time low fifth place in the ICC rankings, Kirsten explained his plans for success to the Herald.
”There’s no doubt within our strategies – every team does that – you identify their weaknesses, and you try and exploit that,” Kirsten said. ”There were a number of areas we felt we could exploit, and we did that very successfully in the two Test matches.
”We looked at Hauritz; his record suggests he’s done quite well for the Aussies, so we had a close look at him and what he could offer. He’ll probably be the first to admit [but] I don’t think he bowled as well as he would have liked to. He was a bit inconsistent.
”We certainly discussed and felt that it was going to be important to target him. The Indians are exceptional players of spin. You need to have good spinners coming here.
”The wickets were offering more assistance to the spinners than they were the seamers, unless you were swinging the ball prodigiously, and it played into our hands.”
Kirsten dismissed the high averages of other spinners in India, including Shane Warne (43.11) and Muttiah Muralitharan (45.45).
”I think if you’re worth your salt as a spinner, you can make a play here,” he said. ”It’s not easy but whenever we play in India we pick two spinners and two seamers. The spinners do a critical job in playing a holding role and striking.”
Hauritz took six wickets at 65 in the series. Captain Ricky Ponting has revealed that Hauritz had set his own fields in the two games. The two had disagreed before the Bangalore Test on how Hauritz should bowl, with Ponting eager for him to use wider angles at the crease but the spinner was keen to retain his usual style.
Ponting could not say which approach would be used during the Ashes. ”That’s up to him to work out,” Ponting said. ”I’ve given him what I thought was the right advice on little things to work on. As his captain, I’m just trying to offer some advice on what might make him a better player. He’s got a couple of days before the next one-day game. Hopefully, he plays through that one-day series here, and gets a bit of confidence under his belt before we get back to Australia, and he can play a couple of Shield games there and start working things out for himself.
”He knows how much we’re trying to help him out