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HindustanTimes Tue,25 Nov 2014

Cricket Columns

Virat could be the next big thing in Indian cricket
Saurav Ganguly, Hindustan Times
August 02, 2012
First Published: 01:46 IST(2/8/2012)
Last Updated: 04:03 IST(2/8/2012)

India sealed the series in style and continued their domination of Sri Lanka. Their supremacy over the island country will continue, considering the poor quality of the Sri Lanka bowling attack. The India batting will not lose sleep every time they play them, whether at home or away.

Nobody looks penetrative other than Lasith Malinga and once the shine off the new ball goes, the wicket-taking ability of this attack diminishes. Spin, which has been Sri Lanka’s strength over a decade, has become mediocre and I am surprised that Suraj Randiv is not a regular member of the squad. Both Rangana Herath and Jeevan Mendis don’t have the special ability on good batting surfaces and this could be Sri Lanka’s biggest weakness with the white Kookaburra ball. Other than Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, their batting is not the same and this will also be a worry.

Perfect No 3
On the other hand, Lanka were up against a side which has players, who on their day can win games on their own in the sub-continent, and one such batsman is Virat Kohli. He’s made an unbelievable impact at the No 3 spot and it’s a joy to watch the way he wins games on his own. He is a special talent and if he keeps his head on the shoulders, he could be the next big thing in Indian cricket.

India were in some bother at 60 for three and the game could have gone either way, but Virat, along with Manoj Tiwary and Suresh Raina, dominated the Sri Lanka attack. It’s not about getting a hundred, it’s about the class and quality, which was the hallmark of his batting. Virat’s decisive footwork and adaptability will stand him good.

Raina comes good
It’s been a good series for Raina too. He has this tremendous gift of finding the boundaries and hopefully he keeps improving from here on.

The India bowling was outstanding with Ashok Dinda being the best of the fast bowlers. He bowled with pace and was not afraid to use the short ball, which is important in this format of the game. He will be an asset to Indian cricket in both Tests and ODIs, and I hope he gets picked, because he is a captain’s delight.

It was also a good day for Tiwary. He bowled superbly against batsmen who play spin well and his bowling could be a huge bonus for the team along with his fielding and batting capabilities.

There is one more game to go and I don’t see Sri Lanka pulling it back until they bring some spark in their game. Skipper Mahela is batting way down and he needs to think about it as the team needs the top order to get hundreds if they are to post big totals. He might as well handle the pressure upfront rather than leave it till late.

The writer is a former India captain.

(360 Corporate Relations)


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