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Australia v India

‘Outrageous’ – India’s short-ball tactic against Australia A No.11 prompts fierce debate

India bowlers
by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

With a few cases of concussion going around, the Indian bowlers’ short-pitched attack on the Australia A tail-enders came in for some criticism on social media on Friday.

India’s tour of Australia has already had a few incidents in which players have suffered concussion – in the first T20I, Ravindra Jadeja had to be substituted after copping a blow, with Yuzvendra Chahal controversially replacing him in the XI and leading the side to victory.

On the first day of the second warm-up match between the Indians and Australia A a pink-ball affair ahead of the day-night first Test starting on December 17, Jasprit Bumrah’s drive hit Cameron Green, the bowler, on the head while he was following through – he was concussed and had to be replaced in the XI by Pat Rowe. Green’s potential Test call-up now seems in jeopardy.

It was in light of all this that the Indian bowlers’ chosen mode of attack on the Australia A tailenders – the home side were bundled out for a paltry 108 in reponse to the Indians’ 194 – drew flak. Mohammed Siraj’s short balls to Harry Conway drew particular criticism.

Conway, a 28-year-old playing just his 30th first-class match and averaging under 8, looked visibly shaken after a short one from Siraj rebounded off his glove and clipped his grille.

Rick Eyre, an Australian fan of the game popular on Twitter, was among the first to suggest the Indians should adopt a softer approach against the Australian tail-enders. He went on to label the Indians’ tactics “outrageous”.

Conway was eventually run out for a 12-ball 7 when he took off for a second run to get off strike, only to be sent back. Conway didn’t seem to put much of an effort in getting back to safety, and seemed resigned – perhaps even relieved – to be dismissed and off the ground.

There was concern for Conway’s well-being, with his somewhat erratic behaviour being taken as a sign that the blow had had a lasting impact.

Some lauded India’s “intimidating” attack, but it wasn’t a common view.

Fans were seemingly split on the debate. While many criticised India’s approach, some believed as professional cricketers playing at first-class level, this was part and parcel. Others coloured the debate in partisan lines, saying Australian bowlers have been guilty of adopting a rough approach to tailenders in the past, and that they should be the last people to complain about it.

Curiously, earlier in the day, when Green copped a blow to the face, Siraj had earned praise for being among the first to check in on him, with the moment labelled an example of the spirit of cricket.

The first Test between Australia and India, a day-night affair, will begin in Adelaide on December 17.

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