SYDNEY: Containing the batters during the death overs has become a challenge for all the teams and India is not the only side struggling on this front, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey asserted on Wednesday.
The India team is comfortable while chasing the targets but struggles when it comes to defending a total and keeping the ante up in the last three overs when they are bowling first.
Against Pakistan at the MCG, India conceded 34 runs the last three overs after reducing the rivals to 125/7. In the Asia Cup also, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had dominated the Indian bowlers between overs 16 and 20.
"I think end overs, not only for us, but it has been a challenge if you look at other teams as well," Mhambrey said on the eve of their T20 World Cup game against the Netherlands.
"The last game itself, people have gone for runs and we acknowledge that. It has been a challenging phase and we are prepared for it, having identified our bowlers," the former Test seamer said. Better to play Pakistan in opener rather than in 3rd or 4th game
Mhambrey said he would always prefer playing a pressure game, like against Pakistan, first rather than later since it can affect the team
"The first game with hype and high intensity around it, getting it done and dusted in the first phase is good. Had this game been the third or fourth game, it would have had its effect on other games.
Arshdeep is great kid and will do well
While Arshdeep Singh is one of the bowlers assigned to do the job between overs 18 to 20, Rahul Dravid's trusted lieutenant said that plans will certainly change as per situation.
"In this format, you have got to be adaptable. To be able to have other options in case required -- whether seam bowlers or spinners, you have got to have options in case you require them. You have to think differently and we have our plans sorted," Mhambrey added.
Arshdeep has been one of the recent finds for India and Mhambrey lauded the Punjab youngsters for his ability to execute plans.
"He (Arshdeep) worked hard during the IPL. He bowls in two different phases -- that's first Powerplay and then at the death. He has composure and clarity in thought process, which he has shown."
What has caught Mhambrey's attention is Arshdeep's ability to soak in information from senior bowlers like Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
"He has had a chat with a lot of senior bowlers. I have seen him speak to Bhuvi and Shami as well. Credit to him for implementing those plans about which you have chatted.
"As coaches, we try to provide understanding of what is required but to be able to do it as individuals, credit to him," said the former Mumbai player.
Mhambrey feels that Arshdeep will have his share of ups and downs which will toughen him up.
"He is a great kid. This is a phase he will go through where there will be ups and downs in his career. The way he has come back and the ability to handle pressure is phenomenal. We have a lot of confidence in him and he has a good future."
Can Hardik be the fifth bowler?
Hardik Pandya bowled four solid overs against Pakistan, picking up three wickets and questions are bound to be asked if the Baroda all-rounder can be used as a fifth specialist bowler with an additional batting option in the playing XI.
"It totally depends on conditions. He gives you four-over options and has been effective for us. He brings in that balance. It depends on the team that we are playing against."
We don't advise Ashwin, it's the other way round
Ravichandran Ashwin's cricketing smarts have now been acknowledged globally and Mhambrey just affirmed the view when asked what advise the coaches offer to the off-spinner.
His comment brought the house down.
"When it comes to Ashwin, it's the other way round, he tells us. It's just the way he is," Mhambrey said and everyone joined in for a hearty laugh.
But the kind of respect he has in that dressing room was evident from his next comment.
"He showed presence of mind to leave that ball (while facing Mohammed Nawaz in the 20th over). Any other individual at that stage, would have thrown his bat but hey that's Ashwin for you. Top player."
While Mhambrey remained non-committal, he dropped enough hints that Ashwin as a package with his superior batting skills has an advantage over Yuzvendra Chahal, when it comes to choosing playing eleven.
"We have to look at composition wise what balance does he (Ashwin) offer. He also gives you batting. We look at match up options and think on those lines." Mhambrey said that since India will play the second games of the day in next matches, the tracks in remaining games can have some wear and tear although there won't be much turn on offer.
"When and where we have an opportunity to include an additional spinner, we will go with him (Chahal)," he added.