'All-rounders will hold the key for Cup success'
Chief selector Vengsarkar feels Pathan and Dhoni could lend balance to the Indian middle order.Updated: Feb 18, 2007 18:56 IST
Chairman of cricket selectors Dilip Vengsarkar believes all-rounders will hold the key to success at the upcoming World Cup, and Irfan Pathan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni could lend balance to the Indian middle order.
In what could be music to Pathan's ears, Vengsarkar said the 22-year old, subject to his inclusion in the squad, coming in at number seven will strengthen the lower order batting and will also allow the team to play five specialist bowlers.
"India has an advantage with a wicketkeeper-batsman like Mahendra Singh Dhoni batting at No. 6 and Irfan Pathan at No.7. (But) this is all subject to selection on 12th February (when the World Cup squad is to be picked)," Vengsarkar told PTI in an exclusive interview.
"The conditions in West Indies are similar to those in India.
"However, the importance of having all-rounders in the squad is crucial in one-day cricket, for not only the batting line-up gets the much required depth but an all-rounder could send down effective overs that matter in the ultimate analysis.
"In that respect, India can afford to play five bowlers. Besides, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag could send down useful overs," Vengsarkar said, emphasising again that it was all subject to the players being chosen for the quadrennial extravaganza in March-April.
Vengsarkar made a subtle difference between the current team and the one that won the 1983 World Cup while trying to highlight the crucial role of all-rounders in one-day cricket.
"At that time we had medium pacers who could bat as well as bowl effectively in those conditions. In the English conditions, movement in the air and off the wicket was more crucial than pace," said the scorer of 17 Test hundreds and 6868 runs.
"All-rounders play a very important role not only in one-dayers but also in Test cricket. It solves many problems as far as combination of the team goes," he added.
The former Indian captain said that the 3-1 victory over the West Indies was excellent but cautioned when asked whether the team is peaking at the right time.
"Well, the win against a strong opposition like West Indies recently was an excellent one. However, it depends a lot how we perform in the initial matches in the West Indies," the 116-Test veteran said.
Vengsarkar said a team has to focus on all departments of the game in order to succeed at the World Cup.
"It's the combination of all three (batting, bowling and fielding), for any team that plays well on that particular day has an advantage," he said.
"We have quality and experienced spinners. Besides our batting looks solid now than before."
Vengsarkar, however, pointed out fielding as an area of concern. "Though we have sufficient depth in batting and bowling, in one-day cricket fielding could turn the matches around and gives that much boost to the bowlers and to the team in general."
On the role of spinners and whether he would advocate using them in power plays as Dravid had said, Vengsarkar replied, "spinners are bound to play a very crucial role, for not only they would be bowling in the power play but also during the important middle overs."
The stylish middle order batsman, who holds a unique record of scoring hat-trick of centuries at the Lord's, wished to see India in the semi-finals.
"It depends a lot on how the teams peak during the tournament. Sure, I would love to see Australia, West Indies, India and Sri Lanka in the semis," he said.
First Published: Feb 18, 2007 18:56 IST