With India’s top-order batsmen deciding to trade flamboyance with patience during initial overs, New Zealand will be forced to go for even half chances during Thursday’s World cup encounter, feels fast bowler Lockie Ferguson. In both matches, Indian opener Rohit Sharma, a natural stroke-player, has shown his ability to bide time in seaming conditions and it has paid dividends as he hit a century against South Africa and a half-ton against Australia. In fact, during India’s 4-1 ODI series win in New Zealand, the trend of playing out the first Powerplay started, observed Ferguson. “They (Indian top-order) showed that they were a lot more patient in their approach and even though you are looking to take wickets, you can be a bit more expensive,” said Ferguson after New Zealand’s indoor net session at the Trent Bridge ground.
“I think taking wickets upfront is key to beating India as they have world class players and you just can’t blow them away.” For Ferguson, even half-chances against the Indian top-order needs to be taken in order to apply pressure. “You have to create pressure and create half chances and take them and build on from there. They are playing some top cricket and one of the best teams in the competition.” But with in-form Shikhar Dhawan ruled out due to a thumb fracture, Ferguson despite being sad for the opener, termed it as an advantage for his team.
“He is one of the top batsman in the world and hopefully he is not out for too long. It’s not good if players miss out games due to injuries. It’s one of those things in professional sport where players get injured and other guys get the opportunity,” he said.
“I was looking forward towards playing against Shikhar as I have a good record against lefties. Unfortunately, I think now I have to wait for a couple of months now.” West Indies’ tactic to bowl more bouncers worked wonderfully against Pakistan at this very ground and Ferguson, who himself is a tearaway quick, is expecting to dish out some short stuff to the Indians. “West Indies have shown that there’s some extra bounce available at Trent Bridge and that can cause trouble. I am looking forward to the challenge as I like Trent Bridge as a ground,” said Ferguson, who has taken 8 wickets in the three previous games, including four against Afghanistan and three against Sri Lanka.
“It’s been a very good start for the whole bowling group as we have taken 30 wickets from the three games. Definitely, my job (as a change bowler) becomes easier when opening boys take wickets upfront. “I am pleased to have contributed in each game. There’s a bit of bounce and the wickets have been nice,” said Ferguson, who is expecting a full game against India despite the rain. New Zealand had recorded a convincing win against India in the warm-up game but just like his skipper Kane Williamson, Ferguson also didn’t want to pay too much attention to that game.
Asked if they would take confidence from the warm-up game, Ferguson said: “Well, that’s an interesting one but it (warm-up win) doesn’t tell the full story.” The positive that they can take out of that game possibly is how Trent Boult’s swing and seam movement troubled the Indian top-order.
“The way Trent Boult bowled upfront in that game (at the Oval) was exceptional and he got us off to a great start with early wickets. Obviously, we can take some confidence from that game but this is a different ground. Both teams start afresh on Thursday,” concluded Ferguson, who would celebrate his 28th birthday on the day of the match.