The cricketing world is in a frenzy of commentary, analysis and advice — both professional and amateur — about the big semi-final in Mohali on Wednesday. But in Camp India, coach Gary Kirsten is clinical in his approach. He has handed out to his team a blueprint of how to win the World Cup — and tackle Pakistan.
The 16-page document, Roadmap to Success, a copy of which is with HT, mixes praise with criticism for Team India. And, more importantly, a full analysis of the Pakistani team, which he calls “very dangerous”.
“A combination of big-hitters and a potent pace attack with a decent spin attack to follow the pacers makes Pakistan a very dangerous side which is very well known to play fearless cricket,” says Kirsten.
However, he goes on to add: “Pakistan as a team over the years have a tendency to blow hot and cold. (In)consistency is their prime weakness… Their dazzling batsmen are inexperienced…Even though (Mohammad) Hafeez and (Ahmed) Shehzad are in top form, there is tendency that they both can struggle against pace.”
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Kirsten warns: “It’s a great chance for Pakistan to show the world what they are capable of… The tag of dark horses suits them and enables them to perform harder (eg 2009 ICC World Twenty20 victory).”
Kirsten describes the in-form Yuvraj Singh as the team’s “Superman” and Sachin Tendulkar his “hero” while pointing out the problems in fielding, use of the batting power play overs, need for the senior spinner in the side to take wickets as well as the bowling unit to provide support to Zaheer Khan.
The dossier — circulated before the Australia quarter-finals with similar specifics — had predicted that Pakistan would indeed make it to the last four.