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Reid open to bowling coach offer

Ashish Shukla | November 28, 2003 17:10 IST

Former Australia fast bowler Bruce Reid, who is tipped to take over as bowling coach of the Indian cricket team on the tour Down Under, expressed willingness to join the tourists and strengthen their five-pronged pace attack.

Bruce ReidIf all goes to plan, the former left-arm bowler who gave nothing away through a nagging line during his playing days, should be available to the Indian bowlers before the first Test begins in Brisbane on December 4.

Reid confirmed Indian coach John Wright spoke to him more than once about the job and said he is waiting for the Board of Control for Cricket in India to clear his appointment at its Working Committee meeting in New Delhi on Sunday.

"John [Wright] has spoken to me thrice on the possibility of me joining as a bowling coach," Reid said over phone from Perth.

"I am waiting for things to clear up to join the squad. I have told John as soon as I get the green signal I will fly over from Perth to join the boys," he said.

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Indian team management sources in Brisbane revealed that Reid has asked for "extremely low fees". The gangling bowler has quoted a fee of US $1,500 per week, which is on the lower side by international standards.

"You can't get a lower fee quoted than what Reid has asked for to assist our bowlers," said a member of the Indian team management.

Reid has not seen much of Indian left-arm bowlers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra but expressed confidence of getting the best from them.

"I haven't seen much of Zaheer or Ashish -- indeed I have seen them only twice and that too during the recent triangular tournament in India," said Reid.

"Let me get around and spend time with them to know where we stand."

Despite rarely seeing the left-arm duo in action, Reid could still help them take wickets in the upcoming series.

"Both Mathew Hayden and Justin Langer tend to fall over at the start of their innings. If the Indian bowlers could cramp them up a little, they could reap rich rewards," he said.

This advice from Reid should be welcomed by the two pacers, both of whom though have been rated as promising, but appear technically not as sound as they should be for the team's good.

Former Australia opener Keith Stackpole for one feels Zaheer tends to land his front foot first and his bowling arm then comes over quite late, which denies him any rhythm whatsoever.

"Zaheer's left foot and arm don't come together in complete harmony; the rhythm is just not right," said Stackpole.

Stackpole said the key to bowling on Australian wickets is not to pitch it too short or too up.

"The key is to keep the batsmen on the back foot. If you allow them to come on the front foot, they could hit through the line, since it doesn't seam sideways here. And if you bowls too short, you could be cut or pulled mercilessly."

Zaheer and Nehra earned rave reviews for their performance last year but somehow things have not fallen in place for them since the World Cup final in South Africa, in March this year.

Celebrated cricket writer Peter Roebuck feels Indian bowlers need guidance.

"Zaheer, for instance, could be rushing in too quickly or too slowly; it's a bowling coach who could look at this issue," said Roebuck.

Both Zaheer and Nehra chose not to come out for the optional practice session at the Gabba today.

Also missing from the practice were senior batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and openers Aakash Chopra, Virender Sehwag and Sadagoppan Ramesh.

Only Laxman and Sourav Ganguly chose to come out for a hit. Laxman had his first nets of the tour after suffering from flu for a better part of the week. He batted for over an hour in a bid to get back into the groove. Ganguly tried to practice at the indoor nets but, finding it closed, opted to play at a concrete floor of the ground instead.

Both wicketkeepers Parthiv Patel and Deep Dasgupta were present as were young Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble and Ajit Agarkar.

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