Kolkata: John Wayne is not about to shoot from the hips; surely not in India, he tells you. Australia's new-ball bowler John Wayne Hastings, named after the legendary Hollywood actor by his Western-watching dad, is bracing for the challenges posed by Indian batsmen and the sub-continental conditions during the World Twenty20.
Oz pacer John Hastings
"They are such fantastic players and can hit the ball to any part of the ground they want. As a bowler, the hardest thing is to eliminate some of those shots," the 30-year-old said of the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni. "It's very hard to predict what's coming next, so I try to keep it simple — hit a similar sort of area on the pitch and make subtle variations. Try and not be predictable."
Adaptability is mantra
Hastings reminded that he made his ODI debut in India in 2010. He is finally coming into his own to take up a role as the spearhead in the attack. "My body had been letting me down, and I was always down with some injury or the other — my ankle, or my shoulder or the back..." he explained. "Now my body is holding, and I am experienced too.
That's probably why I have been doing well in the last couple of years," added Hastings, who says his IPL experience with Chennai Super Kings will hold him in good stead in Indian conditions, as will watching Brett Lee during the 2011 World Cup.
"It will be a lot different from bowling in Australia where there is a lot more 'carry'. The length will have to be different and we'll have to bowl a lot more at the stumps," he pointed out and joined Josh Hazelwood and Mitchell Marsh in spelling out the mantra. Adaptability. Hazelwood actually sees a role reversal.
Spinners role is vital
"In these conditions, we pacers will probably have to play a defensive role while the spinners attack," he preferred, and was happy that leg-spinner Adam Zampa made an impressive debut a week ago in South Africa. "He's been unbelievable there," Hazelwood gushed.
Why do tempers often fly when India and Australia meet? Hastings had an explanation. "There's a lot of belief in the Indian side now, and that just comes out as natural flair. It's same with our side; we too have a lot of belief and that clashes. There's not much anger as there is passion. These guys are friends (off the field)," he reasoned, and credited Sourav Ganguly as having been "probably the first to take on the Aussies".
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