Jason Gillespie feels Ben Stokes can cause India some problems in the upcoming series

Jason Gillespie feels Ben Stokes can cause India some problems in the upcoming series

Jason Gillespie
Jason Gillespie during the Yorkshire CCC Media Day. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Former Australian pace spearhead revealed in a recent interview with the Times Of India that the England player to watch out for in the upcoming England-India test series could be all-rounder Ben Stokes. In an exclusive interview, he also went on to share some tactics and put forward some thoughts on the English and Aussie pace attack.

Tactics for the Indian Conditions

In the Indian pitches and conditions, slow bowlers are thought to be holding the key to matches, but Gillespie revealed that a change of tactics by the pacemen can help them flourish on the slower pitches too.

He was quoted saying, “Everyone assumes conditions here suit slow bowlers, the mindset has to change.” He said that pacers can achieve success if they “cut down their ego”. He further went on to add, “There are options to take wickets as a pacer. You have to adjust the length. I think it also goes down to how the pacers are rotated in these hot conditions.”

The 41-year old former pacer turned coach, who till recently was coaching Yorkshire County Cricket Club, also revealed the tactics that the Australian team deployed in India in 2004.

“In 2004, we decided to put our egos away and have a fielder at square leg boundary, catching men in front of the stumps, to deny Indian batsmen boundaries and make them earn their runs. We ran in and wanted to test the fitness of batsmen. We were ready to bowl stump to stump and repeat it,” he said.

The former pacer, who was quite successful in the Indian conditions, bagging 43 wickets in 10 tests, also added that reverse swig is a very important factor in the subcontinental pitches. He said, “Reverse swing is always the key. Fielders shouldn’t rotate the ball among themselves as sweaty palms can affect the ability to reverse.”

He also added that cross-seam cutters are a useful tool for the bowlers in India. “The cross-seam cutters can behave differently. In India, as a paceman, you have to think laterally. It’s neither going to swing nor seam; hold the ball across and bowl cutters, wobble the seam a bit, use the width of the crease,” he said, further advising, “Maintain your discipline and keep hitting a specific spot on the wicket of a shoe size and try to create indecision in the batsmen’s mind.”

Key Players for India

When quizzed about who could turn out to be the key players for India in the series, he pointed out captain Virat Kohli and Saurashtra batsman Cheteswar Pujara being the main threats England need to look out for. About the two players, he had to say, “The former has a vast array of shots, good mindset and would put the scoreboard pressure back on the bowler, while the latter is hard to dislodge and waits for a bowler’s third and fourth spell.”

He also went on to compare these two young players to some of the greatest players in Indian Cricketing history, comparing Pujara to Dravid and Kohli to Tendulkar. He said, “I see Pujara’s approach to that of Rahul Dravid and Kohli to that of Tendulkar.”

England Players to Look Out for and those who will be missed

The lanky Aussie pointed out in his interview that Ben Stokes could be a key player for England in the test series with his all-round abilities with the bat and also the ball, after seeing the Durham all-rounder flourish in Bangladesh.

Piling praise on the youngster, he said,  “I think Ben Stokes can be the gamechanger for England. He is renowned for reverse swing and bowls at pace, as was evident in Bangladesh.” Gillespie also believes he could cause trouble for the Indian bowlers with his batting.  “He can cause India some problems not only with the ball but also with his aggressive batting.”

When asked who would England miss when they tour India, he was of the opinion, “England will certainly miss James Anderson, who can be lethal with the new and old ball. Woakes too can have an impact and is dangerous when he bowls close to the batsmen.”

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Comparing England and Australian Bowling attack

When asked to compare the English and the Aussie bowling attack, he said that he is a bit biased on the topic, adding, “I’m a bit biased. I would go with the Aussies. England have spin options. But they feel their strength is pace. Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid have a tough task. Starc and Josh Hazlewood with Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Marsh to complement will be a good attack.”

Praising the Aussie pace spearhead Mitchell Starc, he said that the lanky pacer possesses all the traits of a top pacer, with a good pace, Yorker, slower, controlled swing and reverse swing being present kin his cavalry. “For Australia, Mitchell Starc is a superstar. He bowls at very good pace, swings the new ball and reverses the old one. He possesses a devastating yorker. He uses the angles very well. He has the short ball up his sleeve and bowls it with genuine pace.”

Finally, he finished his interview saying that he would love to have a coaching stint in the IPL, with an elusive come-and-get-me undertone, saying, “I’m very much interested in being part of the IPL. I will be available as I only coach Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash.”