Former Australia captain Ian Chappell said that India need to pitch the ball up to Australias batting mainstay Steve Smith and not target him with short deliveries if they have to dismiss him cheaply in the forthcoming four-Test series.
There has been speculation about India planning to bowl short to Smith in the series after the Aussie batsman had struggled with it during the previous summer against New Zealand’s Neil Wagner. Smith had earlier said that no other bowler can bowl short deliveries as well as Wagner does and he is not worried at all.
“If he bats the way he wants to, then you are in trouble. So the first thing is that they have to unsettle Steve Smith and have to change his thinking. As far as I am concerned, if you bowl short of length to Steve Smith then you are playing into his hands. Because you are just playing to his strengths. He is very much a back-foot player.
“You got to get him to play forward. Now that might cost you a few runs but the difference, if you bowl and let him play on the back-foot then he will still score a lot of runs without getting out. But if you are making him play on front-foot then he might score runs and he may give you chances to get out,” said Chappell while speaking to Indian media in a virtual interaction.
He also called for the judicious use of short deliveries against the Aussie.
“You have got to use the short-pitched ball judiciously. Use it as a surprise weapon. He has shown he can be unsettled with the short-pitched delivery. I wouldn’t be banging in like New Zealand did all the time. One, I think it is a waste of energy a lot of the time. When you do, make it count. Andy Roberts, every short-pitched he bowled at me, I had to play at it, hook it or get out of the way. That’s what they have to do with Steve Smith. Change his thinking.
“Without Warner, Australia’s dependence on Smith increases. I think if you get Smith cheaply then fairly regularly then you’ll find out how good the rest of the team is,” he added.