India in the mood to experiment
Indians seem to be in a mood for a few experiments before they enter the knockout stage. While they contemplate fielding five specialist bowlers against Ireland on Sunday, they are also planning to check what shape the batsmen are in during the group league matches.
So don't be surprised to see Suresh Raina in the 11 ahead of Yusuf Pathan if India stick with their old ploy of going in with seven batsmen. Although Pathan has hardly got the opportunity to showcase his big-hitting prowess against Bangladesh and England, the logic for picking Raina would be three-fold.
PROS AND CONS
According to sources, the team is not impressed with Pathan's performance as a part-time bowler in the two games, in which he conceded 70 runs in 11 overs and took just one wicket.
Raina, sources felt, wouldn't be any less effective if he has to bowl four-five overs. He is a far better fielder and will lift India in an area they have been found wanting so far. Playing Raina will also give the think tank a chance to see in what shape he is in.
Not that this doesn't make sense, but it's a little harsh on Pathan for three reasons. He came into bat after 40 overs in both games and had to go for shots immediately. It's not fair to judge his bowling by what he did in the last two games because they were played on batsmen-friendly pitches.
And he made a greater impact as batsman than Raina in the matches he played just before the World Cup.
While Raina's ability as a good one-day batsmen is well established, it's certainly taking things a bit too far by saying that he can be more effective than Pathan as a bowler.