New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson thinks that dismissing India’s top-order batsmen will be the key during their upcoming World Cup encounter. The India openers decided to trade flamboyance with patience during the initial overs against South Africa and Australia.
In both matches, Rohit Sharma, a natural strokeplayer, was cautious in seaming conditions and has paid dividends after he hit a century against South Africa and a half-century against Australia.
In fact, during India’s 4-1 ODI series win in New Zealand earlier this year, the openers decided to play out the first powerplay without losing wickets.
“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 Trent Bridge. “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 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,” the 27-year-old said. “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 opportunity.”
“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 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.
The New Zealand quick 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.”
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.”
Left-arm Trent Boult’s swing and seam 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,” said Ferguson, who would celebrate his 28th birthday on the day of the match.