Little master gets ready for some spin in the tale | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Little master gets ready for some spin in the tale

It was not surprising that Sachin Tendulkar was the first one to pad up against the new ball in the Indian nets on Friday. After all, he is going to open the Indian innings in Sunday's big World Cup game against England. Sanjjeev Karan Samyal reports.

cricket Updated: Feb 26, 2011 00:59 IST
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal

It was not surprising that Sachin Tendulkar was the first one to pad up against the new ball in the Indian nets on Friday. After all, he is going to open the Indian innings in Sunday's big World Cup game against England. However, it was interesting to note that it was not Zaheer Khan and Co who were bowling to Tendulkar. It were the team's spinners - Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla.

Tendulkar's methodical preparation is legendary. His pre-game workouts are well thought-out and planned according to expected dangers. England's attack may be pace heavy, but Friday's net session suggests the Master Blaster senses danger lurking from their spin men. Clearly, ace offie Graeme Swann is playing on the Indian's batsmen's mind. In Bangalore, as is the case everywhere in the sub-continent, the spinners will have a critical role. And, given the trend in this World Cup of opening with spinners, the home team is braced to negotiate England's main weapon from all possible lines of attack.

Spin rivalry
Swann has been in brilliant form and has earned respect all over to be regarded in the same bracket as Muttiah Muralitharan and Harbhajan Singh. With Muralitharan playing his last tournament, adding spice to the clash is going to be the fight between Swann and Harbhajan for the title of the world's leading off-spinner.

They are different type of bowlers.

Harbhajan holds a mighty edge in numbers, having taken 247 in 218 ODIs. But Swann is a purists' delight. His classical action and bowling style are a joy to behold. No wonder, Bangalore's legendary offie Erappali Prasanna, not known to be a limited overs fan, is excited about Sunday's game.

"Swann is an excellent bowler. He's a good turner, bowls a good line and length and has the variation. It's going to be the best game of the tournament. Both the teams are well balanced," Prasanna told HT.

Smooth start
Swann provided one of England's few redeeming features during that Netherlands innings, as he returned impressive figures of 2 for 35. The England camp hinted they would better let Swann operate to his strengths with an older ball and not take the risk of trying him with the new ball against strong players of spin like India.

The England spinner thrives under pressure. And he can be assured that a packed Chinnaswamy Stadium will test him fully.