India need to address their bowling woes
With such a formidable batting line-up, there is no questioning the tag of favourites being attached to India. The batting line-up is only living up to its formidable reputation. Sanjjeev Karan Samyal reports.cricket Updated: Feb 28, 2011 02:19 IST
With such a formidable batting line-up, there is no questioning the tag of favourites being attached to India. The batting line-up is only living up to its formidable reputation. In both the games, their performance has been awe inspiring. First, Virender Sehwag powered them to a massive 370 against Bangladesh and then Sachin Tendulkar helped them to 338 against England on Sunday.
However, will just putting runs on the board be good enough to win the World Cup? It can happen, but will require a lot of luck. When compared to most champion teams of any era, this team suffers in terms of all round balance. For the balance, the attack and defence needs to be equally strong.
The batting of MS Dhoni's team is intimidating, but the bowling certainly doesn't evoke the same confidence. In both the games played so far, India have felt the absence of their injured pacer Praveen Kumar. His injury has already upset the precarious balance of the attack as Dhoni's options are limited.
S Sreesanth’s tendency to get carried away by the occasion makes it a risk as proved in the tournament opener in Mirpur, while no one is quite sure why Ashish Nehra is in the team. It's two weeks into the tournament and Nehra is still to report fit (On the eve of the England game, Dhoni said he was bowling at 80 per cent).
Piyush Chawla is a gamble. He was out of international cricket for almost two and half years before he was picked for the South Africa series and the World Cup. On a turning wicket, and against a team not known to be good players of leg-spin, his two for 71 on Sunday was a poor performance.
The bowling attack is so heavily dependent on Zaheer Khan that the situation reminds one of the Indian team of the mid-1990s when everything revolved around a certain Tendulkar. Get Tendulkar, get India was the slogan of the opponents then. Get Zaheer, get India can be their slogan now.
Zaheer is expected to singlehandedly carry India's pace attack on his shoulders. The impact he has on this team is amazing. His presence lifts the morale of the entire team. We saw it in the series against South Africa and against England too. The fear is over his fitness. He is injury-prone and in a long tournament like this, you can never be sure.