Robin Uthappa, who was one of India’s star performers in their triumphant World T20 win in 2007, revealed how then-bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad made the team practice bowl-outs during practice sessions. The practice helped Men in Blue down Pakistan in a bowl out in the group stages of the WT20.
With their first game of the World T20 2007 against Scotland getting washed out due to rain, team India, led by MS Dhoni, entered the game against Pakistan under considerable pressure, having to win the encounter to be sure of progressing to the next round. After a topsy-turvy battle, the teams were level on scores after the end of 40 overs and the two sides had to be separated by a bowl out, which was then the method used to settle tie-breaks.
Much to everyone’s surprise, though, India convincingly won the bowl-out 3-0, hitting the target all three times, with their counterparts missing on each occasion. Robin Uthappa, who incidentally bowled in the bowl out and hit the target, revealed how it was due to bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad that the Indians excelled in the bowl-out. Uthappa revealed that Prasad had made the team practice bowl-outs during practice sessions, something that ended up helping them out in the actual game.
“We had actually practiced bowl out. We have to give credit to our bowling coach at that time, Venkatesh Prasad. He was very astute when it comes to these things. He always pays attention to all the rules of the games. He is very studious in that manner,” Uthappa told Ish Sodhi in the Royals podcast, reported Hindustan Times.
“When we had warm-ups, at the end, he would make us play a game of bowl-out. The batsmen played against the bowlers - and we would see who would win. We played 2-3 times, and most of the time, the batsmen won. Stumps were hit most by Viru bhai, Rohit and myself.”
MS Dhoni, the skipper of the Indian side in that tournament, had interestingly thrown the ball to the off-spinning trio of Uthappa, Sehwag and Harbhajan in the bowl-out. Remarkably, all three bowlers ended up hitting the target and Uthappa revealed that Dhoni’s trick of standing near the stumps - something that was not followed by his counterpart Kamran Akmal - helped the Indian bowlers. The 34-year-old further revealed that he felt that the Pakistan side did not practice bowl-outs.
“By looking at Pakistan’s performance in the bowl-out, you can tell that they had not practiced it. One of the things MS did differently from Pakistan wicketkeeper (Kamran Akmal) was that the Pakistan keeper stood where normally a wicketkeeper would stand - alongside the stumps, and not behind the stumps.
“MS was right behind the stumps. It just made it easier because we felt we just need to bowl to MS, and we will give ourselves best chances of hitting the stumps. That’s what we did,” Uthappa concluded.