We need to work on facing spin: Franklin
Hyderabad, Aug 25: New Zealand started the Hyderabad Test by letting the relatively inexperienced Indian batting line-up put up a formidable 438 in the first innings. When their time came to bat, the visitors collectively managed 159 – the number of runs young Cheteshwar Pujara alone raked up for India.
Yes, the wicket did get friendlier for the spinners on the second day of the Test – the phenomenon that R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha exploited optimally. But there were more demons in the minds of the Kiwi batsmen than there were on the 22-yard strip. James Franklin, their only batsman who managed to hold his ground with an unbeaten 43, pointed this out during his interaction with the media at the end of the rain-marred Day 3.
The all-rounder said that New Zealand batsmen must quickly correct the mistakes they committed in the first innings if they are to bat out the remaining two days to save the Test after being asked to follow-on.
On whether this was a 159 all-out wicket
I don’t believe so. We’ve got to rectify a few mistakes that we made in the first innings. That will start tomorrow with Brendon [McCullum] and Kane [Williamson] at the crease. Now it’s all about spending time in the middle and scoring runs along the way. The formula is as simple as occupying the crease.
On how he approached the game differently from his fellow batsmen
I just tried to keep things simple. Spin played a very big part for India and I just tried to keep my game plan as simple as possible. I knew there will be some balls that will spin, but I tried not to worry about that and focus on the ball that was coming to me at that time. I think we’ve started pretty well in our second innings and we’ve got to continue that over a very long period of time.
On R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha
Both have very good records in India and are very good spinners in their own right. They put constant pressure. There were men around the bat all the time. But that’s something that we just need to deal with. We cannot let them weigh on our minds too much. We have to be strong and follow our game plan and take one ball at a time.
On whether playing with Ojha for the Mumbai Indians help him face the spinner
I’ve faced a lot of Pragyan during our time together at MI. This is a different format though. He bowls a lot faster in Twenty20. Here, he gives the ball a bit more air and looks to get it [to] dip. I certainly don’t want to get out to him, so that I have the bragging rights. We’ll see how things go between us in the second innings
On his batting and bowling role
My role as a bowler has just changed a little bit. Being a fourth seamer in the side, it’s all about blocking up one end and try and keep the runs down. If you can pick up a wicket or two, that’s a real bonus for the team. The emphasis on this tour is particularly on scoring runs because the wickets are more conducive to spin bowlers.
On whether facing spin bowling is one of the team’s weaknesses
It is an area that we can improve on. We’ve been working on it in the nets. It’s up to the individuals to work out their own game plans to combat what’s coming at you. But yes, we do need to keep working on our options against spinners and we have a great opportunity to do that over the next couple of days.
On whether New Zealand have started too defensively in the second innings and on Martin Guptill getting lbw shouldering arms
Yes, our players are just not that defensively inclined and we’re working on that aspect. But we’ve got to bat out at least a day and a half now. I think our batsmen have the technique to capitalise on the bad balls. It might appear as a slow start but it also shows how well the Indian bowlers have bowled in the second innings so far.
On whether Kiwi batsmen lost the mental battle against Indian spinners in the first innings
Possibly, yes. I cannot answer for the group though. I don’t think there was massive turn. Ashwin got a few balls to turn and bounce, but that was an exception rather than a norm. We discussed this morning what we needed to do. But unfortunately, we couldn’t execute that in the morning session and are now following on. It’s now up to our top five-six batsmen to walk the talk.
On whether the plan is not to get bogged down and play natural game against the spinners
Yes, I think so. But we’ve also got to be disciplined because we have to spend time in the middle and cannot just rely on scoring runs fast.
On his approach in the second innings against Indian spinners
I have my own plans in place as to how I’m going to play Ashwin and Ojha. I batted with a more defensive mindset in the first innings. Hopefully, when I get an opportunity to bat in the second innings, I can break free a bit and attack them a bit more. Having said that, I obviously have to stick with what worked for me in the first innings as there will be more turn tomorrow and the day after. I’m likely to have a bat, and I’ll see how to go about it after going out there and assessing the conditions.