Fletcher unhappy with bowler's length

Fletcher says slope of Lord’s pitch could also have been a factor in affecting his bowlers’ length Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

London: Jul 22, 2011

India coach Duncan Fletcher was critical of his bowlers for the length they bowled on the opening day of the first cricket Test against England here.

“With the ball swinging around and they not being used to it, they struggled to get their lines right. A fuller length would have been better,” opined Fletcher as England, in difficult conditions, did rather well to finish with 127 for 2 on a rain-affected day yesterday.

“It didn’t swing against Somerset and sometimes it is pretty difficult to adjust, they probably realise the length was short.”

The infamous slope of Lord’s pitch could also have been a factor in affecting his bowlers’ line, conceded Fletcher.

“It can affect. In my stint with England, those who bowled quite often on it were still affected if they got a break from bowling on it,” he said.

In Fletcher’s opinion, India would have been better off with three wickets rather than the two they managed on the day.

“We missed Zaheer who was our best bowler since other bowlers lacked the experience. He bowled very well and could have got us the third wicket. His was a loss to us,” he said.

“If Zaheer was around, he could have got us three or even four wickets and it would have ended as a very good day for us.”

Zaheer went away from the field clutching the back of his right thigh which is now being described as “strain in the hamstring” by the Indian team management.

Zaheer appeared to have set up Andrew Strauss with a clever bouncer and once again affirmed his hold over the England skipper.

“Zaheer is a quality bowler and he would be very happy with the way he set it up.”

India put down two catches on the day – both of Jonathan Trott when the batsman was on 8 and 32.

“They were two difficult chances. One might have been taken but it happens on Lord’s on numerous occasions. Trott is a quality batsman and in the last 6-9 months has shown that he is a very good Test player unfortunately he was the gentleman who got away with two chances.”

The Lord’s pitch was viewed by Fletcher as one which aided swing.

“It swung today more than it seamed. It seamed only when the ball was new. It happens at Lord’s when the conditions are overcast. The wicket generally gets flatter and flatter but who knows it might remain overcast and there be a bit of rain and moisture in the air and the wicket does the same as it did today.”