'Doctor' Roberts' prescription for Pathan
By T.R. Ramakrishnan,
St John's (Antigua), June 7 (IANS) The glint has gone from Andy Roberts' eye, the mean look which sent shivers down the spine of batsmen 22 yards away. His face is wrinkled, his beard grey. At 55, he's put on a bit in the middle and there's a gentleness as he shuffles across the Antigua Recreation Ground, from the players' box to the opposite side housing the press box. But he's lost nothing of his mental sharpness.
One thing he spotted as the Indians were practising before play during the Test was something wrong with Irfan Pathan's delivery stride. The result was a special net for Pathan at the end of the fourth day, with Roberts in attendance.
"Pathan has some problems with the final couple of strides in his run-up. I spotted it when I was watching him practise," said Roberts. "I could feel he was having trouble with his final four strides."
Roberts' remedy was to have Pathan run up and bowl without the ball. After half an hour of that, Pathan had found some sort of rhythm, running up and following through smoothly.
"If you can't get your run-up right, then you will have problems with the rest of the action,'' said Roberts. "He found it hard initially but by the end of the session, he was not messing it. I made a few minor adjustments, that's all."
Coach Greg Chappell has been working on him and so has sports psychologist Dr Rudi Webster. Now "Doctor" Roberts has done his bit. Maybe it's the pick-me-up Pathan needs to regain his touch.