Vimal Kumar ∙ Jan 23 2023, 9:14 PM | 5 Min Read

OC Exclusive: Vimal Kumar in conversation with Simon Doull

image-ld8z07xxSimon Doull (Source: Twitter)

Former New Zealand pacer Simon Doull didn’t have a very long international career (32 Tests and 42 ODIs, taking 98 and 36 wickets respectively) largely due to injuries. However, Indian fans can never forget his deadly spell of 7-65 in the Wellington Test in 1998. It was also Doull’s best performance in Test cricket. 

After his retirement, Doull has almost become synonymous as the voice of Kiwi cricket since he is one of the most recognised overseas faces in TV broadcasting in India.  Recently this writer spoke to the 53-year-old on a range of issues. Here is an edited excerpt. 

Vimal: Cricket has always been a batsmen game, seemingly unfair to the bowlers. However, these days a lot of fast bowlers are voicing from the commentator’s box and so I am asking this one that do you think cricket is still heavily loaded in batsmen’s favour and something must be done just to excite the young fast bowlers, I was speaking with Andy Roberts when I was in West Indies…I asked him why not bowlers should be allowed to bowl 6 bouncers in an over… 

Simon: (laughs) I don’t want to get back to the 6 bouncers in an over…Andy would probably love that…but I think at least two, you can’t have one bouncer and then the batter knows that I think you cannot bowl another one…so the batter knows so at least two. And I think I just want to use the full size of the ground, we were so conscious about boundaries being in advertising being around the ground, push the advertising right back, go within reason and use the dimensions of the grounds to allow the ball is a little bit of something and you know the switch hit from a spinner’s point of view as soon as you decide to switch or change your grip or feet both lines comes into play and LBW is open. So there is no pitching outside leg available if it’s your pad and it’s hitting the stumps you are out…so I would like that to change as well because I think switch hit and the reverse is coming to the game so much more it’s a great shot of watching it but there must be consequences when you get that wrong . 

Vimal: Where do you put fast bowling in the T20 format…is it more about fitness or skills or out-and-out pace, what is more important?

Simon: Well, the out-and-out pace will get you so far. I still think without an out-and-out pace, you need to have certain other assets and skills, like (Jasprit) Bumrah who has an out-and-out pace but also has a very good slower ball. Mitchell Starc same thing, he has a good slower ball around, and he changes the angle around the wicket brilliantly. Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) is made of a bit of a resurgence very still for the knuckleball, swings it still at the back-end so it’s not a place for your stay at the medium pacer, the good old medium pacer but it’s just a skill set that you have to develop, I think you need. I also think most of these guys now have at least two slower balls some of them three, different types and you have to be very adaptable but you know you can’t substitute 150 but it is still absolutely gold I think and the less time, the batter has to react to play the shot the better off you’ll be. 

image-ld8z5tsiSimon Doull (Source: Twitter)

Vimal: You have spent a lot of time in India and you have seen the Rohitians and the Viratians being so much passionate, there was a debate after what happened in the T20 world cup and now leading up to the 50 over the World Cup what do you think of the way forward for these two legends? 

Simon: I still think so much cricket left in them. I think Rohit is one of the best white ball openers we have seen in the last 10 years in 50 overs format in particular…Virat has come back from a lean spell, but his lean spell was still better than a lot of other players around the world, so when you set such high standards, you are going to come under fire, you are going to be criticized because he set the standards so high for himself… I still think he has a huge role to play in Indian cricket. 

Vimal: You have followed Virat’s career very closely. What kind of impact he has made on Indian cricket? 

Simon: I mean he is such an inspiration to these young kids I look at some of the young guys and think if you don’t want to be like Virat or MS, because we all know these two led the way in fitness, and Virat still does and I think that’s one of the big things. I don’t see it in some of the young Indian players I don’t think they want to do that I don’t know they want to work as hard and there’s a great example of a bloke who just wants to work hard, he wants to get every ounce out of himself that he can possibly get so look I think it’s a great inspiration to these young kids and they should be looking a little bit more adamant saying I want to be more like that I think Shubman does, Shreyas does to some extent but there some other young players around us who probably could take a bit more of a leaf out of their books.

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