Ranji Trophy: We were ready for short-pitched assault, says Andhra's Sasikanth of Rajasthan bowlers

Rajasthan’s strategy of bowling bouncers to Andhra's Sasikanth and C. V. Stephen didn’t work because they were ready for the fuller deliveries.

Representative image: Andhra's K.V. Sasikanth and C.V. Stephen showed good awareness and technique to counter the strategy employed by Rajasthan bowlers.

At 201 for 8, Andhra’s lead was just 50 runs. Rajasthan’s morale was high, having dismissed five batsmen for 23 runs. But K. V. Sasikanth and C. V. Stephen stitched a partnership of 55 runs and deflated the home team as none of its strike bowlers seemed to find a way to dislodge the pair.

Sasikanth went for his strokes when he saw the opportunity. Khaleel Ahmed peppered the duo with short deliveries that caused a hiccup or two, especially to Stephen, but couldn’t result in a wicket. Speaking to Sportstar at the end of the second day’s play at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium here, Sasikanth revealed what went on in his mind during this phase.

“I just reacted to the bouncer. I know I play bouncers really well because there [wasn’t] not too much bounce there. It [was] just coming on to the bat [nicely]. Pace was also not there so if I could see the ball I could hit it. If it was in my radar I just went for it,” Sasikanth, who struck eight boundaries in his innings of 54, said.

Read: I was focussed on bowling in the right areas, says C. V. Stephen

The two had a plan of negotiating the barrage of bouncers. “They employed the bouncer strategy for us but we were ready for the [full deliveries]. So, if we were ready for those balls, bouncers would be so easy [to negotiate]. That’s how I prepare for bouncers; if it’s in my range I’ll go for it. I’ll just be in front of anything; if it’s short, I’ll just [duck]. That was my plan and I spoke to Stephen also about it: ‘Don’t fear, just be in front,’” Sasikanth added.

The nature of the pitch during this time was also in their favour. “Compared to the first day, [the pitch has] changed a lot. When we bowled in the first innings, it was very slow, after lunch it got a little better and today it was fine. The only problem was [the ball] was moving in the air, not after pitching, maybe because of the conditions. But the pitch has become set,” he said.

The sun had disappeared by the time Rajasthan batted, and it may have played a role in the situation it found itself in. At stumps, Rajasthan was two down for 23.

“In these conditions, the ball will swing. That’s the time we should apply ourselves and play,” he signed off.