There were few who could face up to him when he got going. And that's precisely why he will always be remembered as the 'White Lightning'. Allan Donald, the feared South African fast bowler of the '90s, is the bowling coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL-7. He opens up to mid-day in an interview. (Starc, Pollard Involved in Ugly Spat)
Q. The last Mumbai Indians-RCB encounter was marred by an ugly exchange between MI's Kieron Pollard and your paceman Mitchell Starc. What do you make of that incident?
A. I have a fairly strong opinion about what happened the other day at the Wankhede Stadium. It's not something that should be tolerated. As far as I am concerned, Pollard pulled out deliberately at the last moment and that's not acceptable. Pollard is a fairly arrogant individual. I can't stand a player who wants to throw his bat at the bowler. It's just not on. There's space for a bit of niggling but beyond that, I don't think these things should be allowed to take place on the field. And from the fines that were imposed, I must say that Pollard got away pretty lightly. But, that now is a thing of the past, and we must focus on the tournament ahead. (Pollard, Starc Fined For Spat)
Q. Are you surprised with the performance of Indian bowlers, especially the likes of Sandeep Sharma, Varun Aaron and Bhuvneshwar Kumar who seem to have edged past some of their more distinguished counterparts like Steyn and Johnson this season?
A. Well, I am not really surprised that they are putting up such splendid performances. They know these conditions well and are exploiting it for maximum gain. This boy, Sandeep, was very impressive in the game we played against Kings XI Punjab. He is not very quick, but knows exactly where to bowl and that is giving the batsmen a lot of trouble. Given the way they are bowling, India suddenly have a few more options in their bowling department.
Q. Varun Aaron has been impressive for your team Royal Challengers Bangalore. Is there any specific area you have worked on, given that he is injury prone and has missed more matches than he has played in the last couple of years?
A. Varun is showing the attitude of a true pace bowler. He is quick and aggressive, and the results are there for you to see. Talking about the work we have done with him, well, my philosophy towards pace bowling is that I don't tamper with the pace that a bowler possesses. Having said that, I have been working on his run-up and trying to smoothen it. But most of the focus has been on the mental aspect of bowling. I have essentially tried to build his confidence. With the limited time we have at our disposal, I have been specifically working on his mental attitude. And the way he has been bowling, I am sure he is in the reckoning for a spot in the Indian team for the England tour.
Q. On paper, RCB possess a very strong batting line-up. But somehow their performances don't match up. Where do you think you are going wrong?
A. I admit we are battling a little bit. Looking at it any which way, this is the most intimidating batting line-up in the competition. We seem to have retracted a bit from this intimidation. We are struggling. I am not sure what the exact reasons are. But, we need to gel as time is now running out. The guys must stand up and say we are going to fight back. For me, talking is cheap, but I am sure our batsmen have realised this and their actions will count.