|Scorecard:||The Rest v Indians|
|Player:||VR Singh, IK Pathan|
|Event:||India in South Africa 2006/07|
DateLine: 10th December 2006
Batting may have been a perennial source of concern on this tour for India, but on the bowling front it has been a problem of plenty. With Punjab's young VRV Singh impressing as back-up bowler in the warm up game against the Rest of South Africa, coach Greg Chappell was wearing a happy look at the options at his disposal.
“VRV Singh has been bowling close to 145mph and with good control too,” muttered Chappell after he sat through with team's video analyst Ramakrishnan in the press box on the third afternoon of the four-day game here on Saturday.
VRV Singh has lost little time in adjusting to the high altitude and the kind of line and length to bowl on the wickets in South Africa. He has come in for high praise from some of the team's seniors, including maestro Sachin Tendulkar. The 3-35 VRV Singh claimed in the second innings has not only bowled him into contention for the first Test, starting in Johannesburg, from December 15, but has also put pressure on Irfan Pathan. Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth are all but penciled in for the first Test at it will be a toss up between VRV and Pathan for the third seamer's slot. "The thing is, Pathan has been bowling around the same speed he has bowled all through his international career," mused Chappell after the left-arm paceman had once again been hit contemptuously by the batsmen in the middle. That Pathan is still struggling to make an impression hasn't been lost on Chappell who apparently has approached Pakistan legend Wasim Akram to do some correctives on the left-arm paceman. Akram, always eager to help Pathan or any one who seeks him out, has agreed to make himself available for a session or two. This was during the one-dayers and since then Pathan has picked up the phone and approached Akram and the meeting, between the master and the pupil could happen before the first Test in Johannesburg.
It might be noted that Akram had done a fair bit of tutoring on a still raw Pathan in Australia in 2003-2004. Akram, doing commentary for a television network, is in Cape Town and would fly this week to Johannesburg. Chappell is quick to acknowledge the obvious strengths of Sreesanth who "bowls his outswingers at a lively pace and gets the ball to bounce sharply," though the coach is also bemused by the experiments the young Kerala paceman often indulges in.