Michael Kasprowicz: Kohli motivates his men, drives them hard

The former Australian seamer attributed India's success Down Under to the team's confidence.

Kasprowicz: "Bumrah has an unusual action but his seam position is so good."   -  M. Vedhan

Michael Kasprowicz travelled to India for three Test campaigns, the last of which, in 2004, ended in glory for the Australian team as the Final Frontier was eventually conquered.

A strong, tireless paceman who employed bounce, cut and reverse swing to prise out the best, Kasprowicz combined effectively with the predatory pair of Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie.

Now 46 and his playing days behind him, Kasprowicz is in India on a different mission. On Saturday at Chepauk, the Queenslander conducted a net session for the Tamil Nadu women’s under-19 and 23 teams.

It was a part of the joint initiative between the Australian Consulate-General and the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association.   

Kasprowicz, also one of Board Directors in Cricket Australia, said, “The present generation of women cricketers is fortunate, there are more opportunities.”

He followed the recent India-Australia Test series down under. Asked about the biggest difference between Virat Kohli’s team and the previous sides that visited Australia, Kasprowicz replied, “Confidence. Not just confident individually, but confident as a team.”

The Australian paceman with 113 wickets in 38 Tests was impressed with Cheteshwar Pujara’s batting. “He was excellent with shot selection and wore down the attack. There were no cover-drives on the up from him.”

And Kasprowicz liked what he saw of Jasprit Bumrah. “He doesn’t give batsmen time. He has a short run-up, generates pace, extracts bounce and is back for the next delivery before the batsman can really settle in his stance. He hurries them up. Bumrah has an unusual action but his seam position is so good.”

Leading by example

Kasprowicz has bowled plenty of overs at maestro Sachin Tendulkar and liked what he saw of Virat Kohli. “Tendulkar was so balanced. He was neither stretched forward fully nor was completely back. I can see a similar balance in Kohli.”

Talking about Kohli’s captaincy, Kasprowicz observed, “He leads by example, motivates his men, drives them hard. Kohli’s methods remind me of Steve Waugh.”

Smith, Warner return a boost

A lack of control in bowling, he felt, hurt Australia in the Test series. “We were unable to create pressure with accuracy like a McGrath would. We gave too many scoring opportunities.”

Kasprowicz felt Australia would be stronger with the return of Steve Smith and David Warner and added the “underdog” tag would suit the side fine at the ODI World Cup. “I think, it is an open World Cup,” he said.

Kasprowicz rated Pat Cummins highly. “He is not only a future Australian star all-rounder but also a future leader in the Australian team.”

And greatest piece of advice for Kasprowicz came from a legendary batsman. Allan Border said to him once, “Keep challenging yourself. Never relax.”

And this is the message Kasprowicz has for the next generation.