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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

‘Give it to Sibley and Crawley’, Kevin Pietersen shares notes given by Rahul Dravid on how to play spin

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England, owing to their skipper Joe Root’s tremendous form, won the first Test against Sri Lanka in the two-match series and are giving a tough fight in the second due to the same reason. However, one aspect which would worry the English side, given they have a spirited Indian side to face in a week’s time, is the form of their openers, Dominic Sibley and Zak Crawley.

Both Sibley and Crawley have been struggling to score runs against the left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya, who has dismissed the duo thrice now in the three innings. While Crawley has returned with scores of 9, 8 and 5 in the three innings, Sibley on the other hand, has been worse with scores of 4, 2 and 0.

While, Root with a double century in the first and 186 in the second Test has shepherd the England batting against Sri Lanka, the openers’ form is a cause of concern with a stern Test waiting for them in form of India, who are on a high coming from a 2-1 heist against Australia on their home soil.

Former England batsman, Kevin Pietersen, however, suggested that an email from Rahul Dravid, which he received in his playing says on how to play spin bowling in India. Initiall, he took to Twitter to write that he needed to find that email, expressing his frustration over the form of the duo.

Later, when he found the same, which was published in the South Africa-born cricketer’s autobiography, he shared the same in form of pictures, while saying, “Hey @englandcricket, print this and give it to Sibley & Crawley. They can call me to discuss it at length if they want…!”

In the email, while saying that Pietersen could ignore if what he is going to say doesn’t make sense or he doesn’t find relevant, Dravid wrote, “Against guys who bowled a bit quicker (and I grew up playing against Anil) I would look to go forward without committing or planting the front foot.

Dravid suggested that but the focus shouldn’t be on planting the front foot too early, as if that is done, the automatic signal from the braian will be to bring the bat down early too, which will mean the batsman forcing himself on the ball, rather than it comig to them.

Dravid also had suggested to Pietersen to play against the likes of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, without his pads on. He elaborated the reason, saying, “When you have no pads it will force you, sometimes painfully, to get the bat forward of the pads and will force you to watch the ball. Also the leg will be less keen to push out without any protection.”

Pietersen said that this email changed his game, given he had played a match-winning 186 against India in Mumbai in 2012 series, the effect of the advise clearly showed.

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