It's good to see Dhoni back under-fire Chawla to the hilt | india | Hindustan Times
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It's good to see Dhoni back under-fire Chawla to the hilt

This is the real test for the Indian team. A lot has been said about their performances against the Associate nations, with many fans feeling the five-wicket wins against Ireland and the Netherlands weren't convincing enough. Anil Kumble explains.

india Updated: Mar 12, 2011 01:36 IST
Anil Kumble

This is the real test for the Indian team. A lot has been said about their performances against the Associate nations, with many fans feeling the five-wicket wins against Ireland and the Netherlands weren't convincing enough. It's time now to get the doubters back on their side, because, going forward, India need form, confidence, momentum as well as fan support.

After the tie against England, India had, what was generally considered, two straightforward matches against two of the lower-ranked sides. While the manner of the victories could have been more emphatic, there is no denying that they got the job done, picked up the four points from those ties and secured qualification to the quarterfinals.

Saturday to set tone
That, however, is history now. It's time to look ahead, not back, and I firmly believe that Saturday will set the tone for India for the rest of the tournament; it will set the proper course for Dhoni and his boys.

A lot has been said in the last few days about Piyush Chawla, and not all of it is complimentary. I think Piyush has shown a lot of character through this difficult phase, and there were promising signs against the Netherlands, even though many might say his spell came against a team not totally proficient against spin bowling in general, and wrist spin in particular.

Captain's support

It's good that Dhoni has backed the young man through it all, and it will be interesting to see how the skipper handles the situation now. Having stood by him for the last three matches, there will be no harm if Dhoni plays him against South Africa as well, because that will send a message out to Piyush that his captain has the confidence that he can deliver the goods even against the stronger teams.http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/110311/12_03_pg19a.jpg

SA weakness exposed
South Africa have all the ingredients to be a world-beating side, but Chennai last week, when they lost from a winning position to England, once again exposed their propensity to succumb under pressure. The South Africans still have to do a lot to erase the tag of 'chokers' that they have attracted over the years. It's not a nice label to carry and I am sure Graeme Smith and his men will be hurting every time they hear that word.

Kallis will be crucial
The performances of Jacques Kallis, perhaps more with the bat than the ball, will be crucial if South Africa entertain visions of their first World Cup victory. Hashim Amla is ranked the No. 1 one-day batsman and he seems to relish the Indian attack. His will be a key scalp.

Hawkeye