Opinion | How Rosemary Mair can overcome her struggles
Written By: Jeet Vachharajani
Picture Courtesy: Central Districts Cricket Association
One key thing for everyone to know would be that the domestic numbers of several New Zealand players do not really tell you the true story. It doesn't tell you the real potential of that particular player. If someone rocks up to me and tells me that Rebecca Burns is not a good player because she averages 15 with an SR of 93 - I am not going to buy it! The reason being that I have watched her & I know that she is miles better than what the numbers suggest. This holds true for a dominating majority of players in New Zealand domestic cricket, especially the uncapped ones.
A player that I want to focus on here is Rosemary Mair. Now she has 35 international caps and her domestic numbers aren't that bad either. But, her struggles lately have been catching my eye time and again. She couldn't take a wicket in the HBJ Shield in 9 overs and conceded 61 runs. The start to the Super Smash wasn't any different. Is it because she is a bad bowler? - NO!
I have always felt and would stick to my thoughts on Mair. I feel she has a monster potential to be one of the best PP bowlers in cricket, whether it's T20 or 50-overs. There's no shortage of swing bowlers in New Zealand cricket, but there are very few who can seam it both ways, swing it decently, & have good variations in their armory. Mair's one of the few that I know.
HOW MELBOURNE RENEGADES FOUND SUCCESS
I always wanted the Hinds to give the new ball to Mair and back her irrespective of her returns. A spell of atleast 2 overs in the T20s and a spell of 4 overs in the LA is vital to squeeze the best out of her in the PP. Hinds haven't disappointed as they have done exactly that. Mair's new ball bowling can prove to be lethal & this benefit was reaped by the Melbourne Renegades in WBBL 2020 where Mair's primary role came in the PP and that was also the only phase where she majorly succeeded. But, it's more about how she bowled in that tournament that brought her success in that phase. It was good length bowling & it doesn't surprise me one bit.
Note: Mair also played a game for the Stars in the same season and did exceedingly well in that one game.
WHAT'S GOING WRONG
Mair's bowling style is suited to line & length bowling. The problem is that she has overcomplicated things of late. She is looking to bowl full, looking to bowl her yorkers - all of which with the new ball. Slipping in a yorker in the PP or bowling full as a genuine swing bowler is not an issue, but it's not suited to Mair in the PP. The execution of the same has been all over the place resulting in visible frustration after every boundary she concedes. She has either over-pitched or erred on the line.
HOW CAN SHE FIX IT
When nothing goes well, there's nothing such as a simple solution. But, you can always go back to the basics and that's exactly what Mair needs to do. For Mair - it's putting the focus on line & length bowling.
She needs to set an imaginary box on a full/good length (5m-7m) targeting a range from the off-stump to the 4th stump, & keep nailing that length ball after ball. It's more like top-of-off bowling with Seam In & Out as her only go-to variations in the PP. Hinds need to squeeze out at least 2 overs in this phase & Mair shall avoid any other variation during this time. She can go to her slower ones & yorkers at the death.
There are always a few bowlers in the circuit who can excel with such Test match like line & length bowling in the PP & Mair is one of them. She is capable of tormenting the opponents & when that happens, you shall see the Hinds bowling out teams for a sub-par score consistently.