Defending champions England are set to face New Zealand in the opening game of the World Cup on October 5. The match is set to be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad and is expected to be a thriller. Ahead of the clash, the term 'dog-thrower' has gone viral with England hiring a specialist in order to combat the left-arm pacer Trent Boult.
The Jos Buttler-led side included the Indian age-group cricketer Saurabh Ambatkar for the same reason. The dog-thrower is nothing but a sidearm device that Saurabh will use against the England batters in the nets to replicate Boult's deliveries. The device is similar to the one that throws balls for dogs to chase and has been used extensively by cricket teams.
Interestingly, Ambatkar is a left-hander which will help Buttler and his men as England's rest of the coaching staff is right-handed. Notably, Saurabh has been a part of the support staff of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in recent editions.
Not only against Boult but England have a history of struggling against left-arm pace bowlers. They had lost nine wickets to Mitchell Starc and Jason Behrendorff against Australia at Lord's in the 2019 World Cup. Overall, the eventual champions lost 20 wickets to the left-arm pacers, the most for any team in that World Cup. Add to it the fact that Boult picked up eight wickets in the four-match ODI series against England. It will be interesting to see if the specialist dog-thrower will indeed help the defending champions.
England: Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young.