Listening to Shane Bond is like listening to a professor dissecting the fine art of fast bowling. That is the effect the former New Zealand pace ace has. He terrorised batsmen during his heydays and now, having hung up his big bowling boots, the former Kiwi cop has become an integral part of MI (Mumbai Indians).
Bond is the bowling coach of four-time winners and defending IPL champions and he has seen many good batsmen during his playing days and after it. And the 45-year-old termed KL Rahul as a brilliant player and felt that the Mumbai Indians are working on plans to counter the Kings XI Punjab captain.
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The Mumbai Indians go up against Kings XI Punjab at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on the morrow and Bond said that the wickets of Karnataka batsman and his statemate Mayank Agarwal will be key.
“KL Rahul, well, he has got runs against teams in the last few games. Brilliant player,” Bond said during a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
“We are having a meeting with our players for our plan against the Kings XI. KL, we know, he is a dynamic player, scores all around the field. We also know that he takes his time generally through the middle overs, so that’s perhaps an opportunity if he gets that far to create some pressure on him.
“We will have specific ideas about how we are going to get him out. In the end, we just can’t allow him to score in the areas where he is very strong, scores well over extra cover, the pick up over fine leg, you know, we have got quality bowling unit, so we just have to put as much pressure on him and Mayank (Agarwal) who have been two key batters for them.
“They have played brilliantly so far. So if we can create some pressure and get those guys out early, and put some more pressure in that middle order early, hopefully we can restrict them to a score or stop them scoring and we (the MI batters) can get those runs,” he added.
Bond, who played 18 Tests, 82 ODIs and 20 T20Is, also believed that having played two of their games in Abu Dhabi, should give them a slight advantage.
“I think we are reasonably confident with our batting line up. We have put on good runs on the board so far, plus we have played on this ground twice, so we sort of know what to expect with the conditions. That should help us a bit,” said Bond, who joined the Mumbai Indians set-up in 2015.
The UAE have thrown up pitches with different characteristics as compared to India but Bond said that they have worked on a few plans as a bowling group which takes the surfaces out of the equation.
“You turn up at the pitch in Abu Dhabi or Dubai, you have some idea how it’s going to play, given the history. But the fact is you have to adapt as quickly as you possibly can. For us, we have pretty simple theories, though.
“We try to bowl seven metres as a fast bowling group and five metres as spin bowling group. And we practice those lengths consistently, so regardless of the pitch, the conditions, generally if you are in and around those areas, you are in the right slot. We have a basic game plan as a bowling attack and we adjust as quickly as we can,” he explained.