MS Dhoni, Dale Steyn are tough guys: Corey Anderson

New Zealand all-rounder Anderson recalls the IPL game when Dale Steyn made him look like a ‘school kid’ and Dhoni dispatched him in the last over.

Corey Anderson during a practice session at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

T20 cricket is mostly about batsmen. The bowlers have their moments but it depends on homework, planning and a bit of luck. New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson has faced the music from both ends.

In an Instagram Live session with Sportstar, Anderson discussed the preparation needed to bowl to fearless batsmen.

“You have to see the best bowlers in the world and how they go about it. You need to be strategic. Fast bowlers, who can bowl very fast, have an advantage. You have larger margin for error [as a batsman].

“You can still bowl a very good ball and get hit for a six in T20 cricket. You don’t know when the batsman is going to pull the trigger and tee off. You can also get wickets off bad balls. The batsmen can make an error,” said Anderson, who has represented Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the T20 league.

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The left-arm medium pacer feels the bowlers can review their performance after a game for further improvement.

“If someone picks up five wickets in a match for 20 runs, looking at the scorecard you may feel they bowled very well, but did they execute what they wanted to do? Was it just three wickets caught at the boundary, was there luck?

“If you don’t have a bowling plan, it is difficult. In cricket, hope is one of the things that can drown you. If you are just hoping things to go your way, it may not. As a bowler, I have been dispatched plenty of times and I may continue to get dispatched but it is part of the joy of bowling. You want to fight back and get the guy out. Even if he hits you for a couple of sixes, if you get him out the third ball, you win the battle,” he said.

 

The Dhoni factor

Anderson recalled the moment when he had to bowl the last over in an IPL match between RCB and Chennai Super Kings, in 2018, with Mahendra Singh Dhoni on strike.

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Dhoni smashed him all over the park and finished the game with a six, as usual.

“When you uttered his name, I was about to drown myself in my coffee. He is one of the greats of the game, one of the best finishers in the world. Very difficult to bowl to him. I had Virat Kohli at long on, AB de Villiers at long off. They were continuously running in to say what do we do, what was I thinking, what should I do?

CSK skipper MS Dhoni lines up for a shot during an IPL game at the M. Chidambaram Stadium.   -  R. RAGU

 

“Even their thoughts were like ‘if you bowl here, he will hit you for a six’ and ‘if you bowl there, he will hit you for a six’. You can subdue the moment. You know that you aren’t the first one, he has done it to every bowler in the world at some point of time,” said Anderson, adding that bowling to players like Dhoni will only help a bowler improve.

“Once you bowl to those guys, it gives you a massive insight to bowl to other guys. You gain confidence once you bowl to these bigger guys like Dhoni. At times, it is demoralising but it can make you a better cricketer.”

The Steyn gun

As a batsman, Dale Steyn is one of the toughest bowlers Anderson faced.

“Some of the fastest bowlers I have faced is Steyn. The IPL [in 2014] was happening in Dubai. I had faced him a couple of times and I thought I understood how he goes about things but I was naive. He got me in the last ball of the over.

Veteran speedster Dale Steyn sends one down during an IPL game.   -  K.R. DEEPAK

 

"I thought I had to play a shot before he gets me but I could hardly see the ball. It just went past my head; he gloved me, wicket-maiden. He made me look like an idiot, like a school kid playing international cricket. It gave me an insight into thinking that I don’t want that to happen again."

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