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Munaf brightens his World Cup prospects

M.S. Dhoni wanted his players to confuse the selectors a bit ahead of the announcement of the final 15 for the World Cup. Subhash Rajta reports.

cricket Updated: Jan 17, 2011 01:04 IST
Subhash Rajta

M S Dhoni wanted his players to confuse the selectors a bit ahead of the announcement of the final 15 for the World Cup.

Munaf Patel did exactly that on Saturday. He came up with a career-best four-wicket haul to help India clinch a thriller. And in case Munaf wasn't in the scheme of things for the World Cup, which is highly unlikely, his showing on Saturday should be good enough to make the selectors reconsider his name.

What makes Munaf's effort even more creditable is the fact that there wasn't much in the wicket for the seamers. It was his tight line and length that he normally bowls and his clever change of pace that caught the Proteas unaware.

No wonder, South African skipper Graeme Smith was full of praise for him. "The track suited his kind of bowling. He varied his pace nicely and got me with a good slower one," he said. And it was Smith's wicket that proved to be the turning point of the game.

With his stump-to-stump line and his ability to take pace off the ball, Munaf would be quite effective on the sub-continent tracks that will offer little seam or swing. MS Dhoni, too, sort of threw his weight behind Munaf. "It's good if we have more options in the pace department where we are struggling with injuries," he said.