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India must attack the spinners

india Updated: Aug 17, 2008 00:56 IST
Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri
Hindustan Times
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It's so easy to get overwhelmed by the disaster that overtook India in the Test series. But the beauty of the sport is things can change overnight. A few of the advantages I can straightaway see with the Indian ODI squad is the athleticism and speed which youngsters would bring across.

The daredevilry, so shockingly missing from the Test squad, would hopefully be exhibited by the younger lot. Also, I have always believed that India play better in one-dayers when they tend to be more relaxed with the cushion of games in hand as opposed to a triangular with a final that becomes the most important game.

The biggest issue the Indians had in the Tests was the lack of initiative from the batsmen in taking on Mendis and Muralitharan. Openers Gambhir and Sehwag were the exceptions and the figures tell the tale. Indeed, they were a principal component in India staying alive till the final Test. Or else, it could easily have been 3-0.

More of it will be needed by the Indians in the one-day set up. The stretch between 20-40 overs would be critical. The Sri Lankan spinners are not only accurate but they are also capable of running through a side. India can't lose wickets or afford to have a low scoring rate. The way forward is to take the spinners on.

Sri Lanka will be stronger in the one-dayers. They have interesting allrounders and Sanath Jayasuriya alone is worth half a dozen good men in the side as he showed in the Asia Cup final. He must be chomping in anticipation for his turn after sitting out the Tests.

It will be a critical series for the youngsters many of whom are trying to establish themselves. Uthappa cooling his heels at home and the inclusion of two young faces, Virat Kohli and S. Badrinath, are enough to keep everyone on his toes and hopefully this sense of competition will bring the best out of them.

It will be a good test of Dhoni. He knows he hasn't won a title for a while and the growth achieved in Australia appears to have been retarded a bit. A fresh momentum needs to be acquired if India is to make up for the poor performance that befriended the seniors in the Tests.