Pace spearheads in a race to exorcise ghosts | india | Hindustan Times
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Pace spearheads in a race to exorcise ghosts

india Updated: Apr 02, 2011 10:07 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni

Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga are as different as chalk and cheese. While the former trundles in and relies on his ability to out-think opponents, the latter focusses on using his sling-arm action and toe-crushing yorkers to do the job.

Both Zaheer and Malinga, the pace spearheads, have played a pivotal role in their team's march to the final and unlike traditional fast bowlers who make the new ball talk, the duo has been working wonders with the scuffed up ball in the middle and death overs.

Zaheer will have a bigger role to play as he aims to put the ghost of 2003 to rest. He had wilted under pressure and the 10-ball opening over had set the tone for the defeat against Australia.

Eight years later, he can handle the situation better. Zaheer has been bowling within himself with the new ball and comes into his own once the ball starts to reverse swing.

If it was Zaheer's spell in the batting Powerplay that helped India tie with England, the second highest wicket-taker of the World Cup was instrumental in pegging back Australia in the quarterfinal.

Not just that, he will also be responsible for leading the bowling unit and prepare a strategy to restrict Sri Lanka's top four.

Skipper MS Dhoni explained the magnitude of the responsibility when he spoke about letting the bowlers make their game plan. "Ever since I have taken over as captain, I never take part in the bowlers' meetings and let them work out a plan. That way I can have a different thought process and a Plan 'B' if things don't work according to their plans," he said at the media conference.

The situation would be different for Malinga as he would have to fight a forgettable record against the Men in Blue and take on added responsibility in the absence of Angelo Mathews.