Steve Smith's unconventional technique will warrant a slightly wider line from Indian bowlers, the iconic Sachin Tendulkar said, urging the pacers to target the "fifth stump" to blunt the redoubtable batsman during the upcoming series in Australia.
Smith, who missed the last India-Australia series in 2018-19 due to a ball-tampering ban, will be itching to go out there and prove a point. He has always performed against India and has six hundreds and a 92, a statistic that won't be lost on India skipper Virat Kohli.
"Smith's technique is unconventional...Normally, we tell a bowler in Test matches to bowl on and around off-stump or may be fourth stump line. But for Smith, because he shuffles, may be that line (of delivery) moves further away by four to five inches," Tendulkar told PTI in an interview.
"One has to aim between (imaginary) fourth and fifth stump for Steve to nick one. It's just a mental adjustment of line, more than anything else," the former captain said.
"Smith, I read, said he is ready for the short-pitched stuff...probably he is expecting bowlers to be aggressive upfront with him. But I think, he needs to be tested on and around that off-stump channel. Keep him on back-foot and induce that early mistake."
Can't an in-swinging yorker be more effective, considering Smith's pronounced trigger from leg to off stump?
"For that to happen, you have to see how much the ball is swinging. All those things matter. You can't use saliva, so it's a different case, if wickets have a lot more life. In England during the Test matches, on occasions, the Dukes wouldn't be swinging much.
"I don't know if they will have greenish wickets for the ball to do a little bit. If the ball doesn't swing. That swinging yorker, you might not even see."
The Indian bowling attack comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav is a "potent one" but Tendulkar would ideally like the team management to identify a defensive bowler as well.
"As I have always said, we have one of the best and most balanced bowling attacks India has ever had. Eventually, you have to pick 20 wickets to win Test matches. But 20 wickets shouldn't be too expensive either.
"...along with our attacking bowlers, we should also identify bowlers who can hold one end up on unresponsive pitches, bowl those continuous maiden overs to build the pressure."