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Chawla poses selection headache for India

cricket Updated: Feb 14, 2011 22:33 IST

AFP
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India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was grappling with a selection puzzle on Monday after a match-winning performance by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla in a World Cup warm-up game against Australia.

Chawla, who returned to the one-day side during a recent series in South Africa after a three-year break, was a surprise inclusion in a World Cup squad already including specialist spinners Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin.

With part-time spinners Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag and Yusuf Pathan further bolstering the slow bowling department, Chawla's selection sparked a debate.

But the baby-faced bowler forced the Indian team management into a serious rethink on their playing eleven after picking off four wickets for 31 runs to fashion India's unlikely 38-run win in Bangalore on Sunday.

"A leg-spinner can really trouble batsmen," Dhoni said after the match. "Chawla turns the odd one and has a very good wrong'un. He is consistent with line and length. Also, it gives you more options in bowling.

"One of the reasons for his selection was our need to have a spinner who can bat a bit. If he could contribute 15-20 runs then it would be good for the side.

"It's a bit of headache whom to play and whom not to play with the kind of talent we have in the team but it is good for the team."

Chawla said his warm-up performance could work in his favour once the tournament starts on Saturday with an India-Bangladesh match in Dhaka.

"We have a few good spinners in the squad," Chawla, 22, said. "If the pitch is slow and offers some turn, I will have a good chance to make it.

"When I came to bowl in the first powerplay, the ball was turning a bit and all I needed to do was pitch the ball in the right areas."

Chawla, who made his one-day debut against Bangladesh in 2007, has picked 28 wickets from 22 ODIs.