Praveen ideal foil for Zaheer in England, opines Prabhakar

Praveen Kumar impressed with the match figures of six for 80 in his Test debut at Jamaica AFP

By Kushan Sarkar

New Delhi: Jun 29, 2011

India didn’t have too many right-arm swing bowlers in Test matches of late but Praveen Kumar has been a pleasant exception and could well prove to be an ideal foil for Zaheer Khan during the tour of England, feels former India seamer Manoj Prabhakar.

“It has been a pleasure to watch Praveen bowl in the first Test. He showed good temperament and I really hope that he is successful in maintaining the consistency in England where he can be very effective,” Prabhakar told PTI.

Praveen impressed one and all with a match haul of six for 80 in his Test debut, against the West Indies at Kingston. Prabhakar said that Praveen has brought back the art of conventional swing bowling that was missing in right-arm seamers not long ago.

“The best part about Praveen’s bowling is the ability to mix it up. Not everyone possesses the ability to swing the ball both ways with ease and he (Praveen) he has that ability. He was doing the right thing by coming close to the stumps which makes his outswingers all the more effective,” Prabhakar, himself a former exponent of swing bowling said.

Prabhakar felt that Praveen would do himself no harm if he can add a yard or two of extra pace. “In English conditions, he can be an ideal foil for Zaheer. If Praveen can confuse and soften up the English batsmen as to which one to play and what to leave, Zaheer can be even more devastating from the other end with his ability to reverse,” he said.

Prabhakar cautioned that the UP seamer must work on his run-up and try and add a bit of pace. “There are chances that the batsmen might read him easily after a season or two if he doesn’t increase a yard or two. He won’t be able to consistently get reverse swing at his pace, which is a must in the longer version,” Prabhakar concluded.