Melbourne: Former Australian pace bowler Michael Kasprowicz has labelled the pitch for the Ahmedabad Test as “bat-a-thon” and criticised the pace bowlers, led by Mitchell Starc, for not bowling enough bouncers and toe-crushers.
Kasprowicz, who played 38 Tests and was part of the Australian side that won the 2004-05 series in India, added the team management also got its selection wrong by picking only two pacers instead of three for the fourth Test.
India scored a mammoth 571 to take a 91-run lead going into the fifth day of the match. While the Test looks headed for a draw, Australia were struggling at 20/1 in the morning session, requiring another 71 runs to erase the first innings deficit.
“I’m going to call it nose and toes,” Kasprowicz said on SEN Radio Monday.
“As a fast bowler, if we want to get stuck in, we either try and hit them on the nose or hit them on the toes. The fact that we’ve seen this wicket right now, it’s just a bat-a-thon, we’ll get nothing like the earlier games with the wicket turning square.
“My point is, Australia has picked the wrong team, what they had to do was pick at least three fast bowlers. (We’ve got Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc), but one is an all-rounder and Starc is always good with an older ball.”
The former pace bowler added Australia should have replicated the same template — three pacers and a spinner –, which helped the team achieve a historic series win in 2004-05.
“But if we had three fast bowlers plus a spinner — this is the program we went with in India in 2004. The Australian side went in with Glenn McGrath who is the best ever, Jason Gillespie and myself, we also had Shane Warne who was a pretty hander spinner as well,” Kasprowicz said.
“Over 90 overs a day, the reason I say pick fast bowlers is that they can create something on these flat wickets. They could hit the pitch halfway down, send it up near the nose of the batsman, force him on the back foot to trap him in front for the LBW.”
Kasprowicz said the potent combination of three pacers and a spinner of the calibre of Warne made Australia one of the best sides during his playing days.
“A bit of nose and toes action, that’s my point, maybe that’s what made Australia so successful that year and we’ve just gone with a total left turn with spin. That’s against the best spin players in the world in their conditions.”