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Bleeding pacemen could hurt India

The squad for the T20 World Cup in the West Indies is due on Friday. Clearly, the IPL will have a strong say in selection and the likes of Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa, Saurabh Tiwary, Vinay Kumar and Murali Kartik have done their chances no harm, writes Ravi Shastri.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2010 00:27 IST
Ravi Shastri

The squad for the T20 World Cup in the West Indies is due on Friday. Clearly, the IPL will have a strong say in selection and the likes of Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa, Saurabh Tiwary, Vinay Kumar and Murali Kartik have done their chances no harm. More so, since Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir are still on the sidelines and Yuvraj Singh has to make an appearance befitting his stature.

Pandey, Uthappa and Tiwary have scored consistently in the last dozen days. Pandey has built on his past performance and has been a tower of strength for the Royal Challengers. Along with Kallis and Uthappa, he forms a dangerous trio.

Tiwary is amongst the top run-getters and is pushing the likes of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard down the order. Kartik, at 33, is doing his reputation no harm. His economy rate is less than six runs per over and is better than Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Piyush Chawla or Amit Mishra. His playing the county circuit and pushing the ball through a bit quicker has helped.

When age is just a number — as Sachin Tendulkar demonstrates every other day — bowlers, like batsmen, should be judged by their performance and not years as long as they aren’t liabilities on the field.

Hopefully, Gambhir and Dhoni recover in time and the Sehwags, Yusuf Pathans, Yuvrajs and Rainas will remain fit for India to field a really strong squad for the T20 World Cup. India didn’t do well in the last edition.

The fast bowling resources will be a cause for worry. Irfan Pathan, RP Singh and Munaf Patel aren’t making much headway and Sreesanth's economy is a concern. It's an area that could hurt the Indians on the slow pitches of the Caribbean. As the Royal Challengers have demonstrated, a good start is essential. My choice for the four fast bowlers would be Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Vinay Kumar.

Finally, Tendulkar has turned down suggestions to be up for selection for the T20 squad. He has turned his back to international duties as he feels Gen Next can do the job.

It’s now for the younger lot to prove him right.

TCM