Sports

Poonam Yadav, living and dying by the slow sword

Poonam Yadav bowls so slowly that you can read a newspaper in the time you are waiting for the ball to arrive.

Sometimes, this turns out to be her strength and sometimes her weakness. On slow pitches, where the ball is not coming on to the bat, Punam becomes lethal as the ball holds in the surface, grips and spins. However, on quick pitches, her slow deliveries just sit up nicely to be hit.

That said, Yadav has shown time and again that she has the nous of turning her speed into a virtue. She came out all guns blazing in the first match of the women’s T20 world cup in 2020 against Australia and picked up four wickets while conceding just 19 runs as India went on to win the match.

She was brilliant in the following matches as well and played a major role in India making it to the final of the showpiece event.

Poonam revealed her preparation for the T20 World Cup shortly after returning to India.

“I have been working on the googly for three-four years. I first tried it out against Sri Lanka in 2017. Australia is a very good side. They read the bowlers well. I was concerned that they could read and hit me. I wanted the googly to be quicker and more accurate. I worked on these aspects. Earlier a batter got more time to play my deliveries on the back-foot.”

“I injured the index finger of my left hand before the WC. During that time, I worked on my skills. I saw the videos of England and Australia players. When I practice, I have a plan in mind every day. For instance, I only bowl googly one day. Similarly, I aim at a particular stump on a certain day. The idea is to keep improving day by day, and be perfect in what you do.”

In places like Australia and New Zealand, batters are taught to advance outside the crease against the spinners and meet the ball right where it pitches. This tactic does not work against Poonam.

If you try to run down the wicket and take her downtown, more often than not, you will get beaten by her pace and variations. The only way you can take her down is by sitting deep in the crease and targeting the square leg area.

Saksham Mishra

Justifying hours of watching sports by scribbling down a few logical lines that might just about hold your interest. Was not talented enough to make it as a professional cricketer, so the next best logical option was to enroll in a Mass Communication course, and write about sports instead. Because, what else is there to write about in this world, right?
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