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Simons backs the bowlers pack

India will go into their West Indies Test series short on firepower after Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth, who were key to the first drawn series in South Africa last year, pulled out. N Ananthanarayanan reports.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2011 23:32 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

India will go into their West Indies Test series short on firepower after Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth, who were key to the first drawn series in South Africa last year, pulled out.

There are questions mark over whether Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel and Co. will have the staying power and temperament needed to get the job done in the three-match series that kicks off in Kingston on June 20.

Having faith
Ishant Sharma looked out of touch in his first outing in this series on Monday. Although he began sharply, he ended with one for 60. Bowling coach Eric Simons acknowledged Sharma was a bit tense returning to the ODI squad for the first time since August last year. "He has bowled with great aggression, and in great channels. I'm very excited to see the way he has bowled, from an action perspective and from where the ball is going."

Will the pacers - Praveen has not played a Test and fourth seamer Abhimanyu Mithun played three Tests in Sri Lanka last year - be ready to bowl long spells coming off T20 and one-dayers?

South African Simons believes it would be down to managing the bowling resources. "It is exciting to test the bench while not having someone like Zaheer here," he said. "The strength of our team in the last two years has been to work at a plan that suits our bowlers. We will see what they do and make sure we play to their (bowlers') strengths."

Tough call
India's best bowler in the one-day series has been leg spinner Amit Mishra and the West Indies camp has acknowledged he has been the most difficult to pick.

"You have got to be confident when you are a leg spinner and that is what I have seen in Amit Mishra. He has bowled with a lot of aggression and has tried to get a lot of drift."

The 28-year-old is the leading wicket-taker in the series with nine scalps, one ahead of Munaf Patel. It will be tough to keep him out of the eleven, although Harbhajan Singh will be the number one spinner.

With Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar not playing, Indian batsmen will face a pace challenge. S Badrinath, looking for a spot in the middle-order, was nervous against Kemar Roach and Andre Russell on Monday.

"I wouldn't say we were softened up," Simons said. "I don't think we fear the short ball, I don't think it is an issue in our discussions at all."