Melbourne, Jan 16: Indian bowlers might have come under severe criticism for their below-par show in the recent Test series in Australia but head coach Duncan Fletcher has defended them, saying that the thrashing they got from the home side batsmen was due to inexperience of some of them.
Asked about his assessment of India's bowling in the 0-2 series loss to Australia in four Tests, Fletcher admitted that the bowlers required improvement but said some of the criticism directed against them were "unwarranted".
"I agree that there is a lot of work to do with the bowlers and they must realise their responsibilities at the Test level. But I also think the Indian pacers get a lot of unwarranted flak," Fletcher, who has often been criticised for India's poor run in overseas Tests in recent years, said. "For these bowlers it's just a matter of gaining experience of bowling in these conditions. It was something that Ishant (Sharma) showed right through the series," Fletcher was quoted as saying by 'bcci.tv'. (India has good chance to win World Cup: Fletcher)
The 66-year-old, whose contract as India coach ends after the cricket World Cup to be jointly held by Australia and New Zealand from February 14, also sought to defend performance of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, saying that the pace duo did better than some of their Australian counterparts.
"You look at the highest wicket-takers in the Test series. Shami (15 wickets at 35.80) has taken more wickets than (Mitchell) Johnson (13 wickets at 35.53) at a similar average. And this was Shami's first tour here.
"Umesh (11) has only one less wicket than Josh Hazlewood (12). And this is after being in and out of the Test and ODI teams on a regular basis, which is not good for the confidence and rhythm of any bowler," said the Zimbabwean. (Umesh's expensive record)
He was pleased with the performance of the Indian batsmen but said they need to work on their shot selection. "It's good to see almost all the batsmen among runs, especially that outstanding performance by Virat. He has also done well in Australia in ODIs and I hope that continues. He is such a positive individual and has a positive influence on the side. The other batsmen, at times, have shown good form.
"The one area they need to work on is their risk assessment. In the Test matches, at times, I felt like they got themselves out. Now they need to understand what shots are on in certain situations. That will be one important aspect for us to work on in the tri-series," said Fletcher who took charge of the Indian team in April 2011.