Bowlers pace up for final slot
Most members pick themselves in the India XI, but there is a fight for the final bowling spot. In the fray are Munaf Patel, S Sreesanth and Ashish Nehra. Sanjjeev Karan Samyal reports.india Updated: Mar 29, 2011 00:24 IST
All three sweated it out under the searing sun on Monday afternoon, bowling full throttle in an effort to impress the team management. Most members pick themselves in the India XI, but there is a fight for the final bowling spot. In the fray are Munaf Patel, S Sreesanth and Ashish Nehra.
Patel played the quarterfinal against Australia but the team management is having second thoughts after he returned figures of 7-0-44-0. More than the number of runs he conceded, skipper MS Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten are concerned over the way he was targetted by the Australia batsmen.
Patel sticks to his basics and is a disciplined bowler, but his line and length can be predictable, making it easier for teams, who have batsmen good at hitting through the line, to target him.
The Mohali wicket is expected to provide more help to the pacers and the view is that a bowler with more pace would be effective. Hence, Sreesanth and Nehra have come into the equation.
Sreesanth has the X-factor and is a match-winner. He's played only one match in the tournament, but playing him could be a gamble in such a big match. He is unpredictable and there's the fear of him getting carried away by the big occasion. But to be fair to him, Sreesanth has not got a second chance. He was discarded after a poor spell in the opening match against Bangladesh (five overs for 53 runs), and it can be argued that he was not picked in the original squad and did not have the ideal preparation.
Nehra has been out of favour after his last over against South Africa, in which he failed to defend 13 runs. Having sat out the first three weeks of the tournament, his match fitness is also in doubt. However, Nehra is an experienced campaigner and on wickets with a little bit of help, he is expected to be more effective. Also, being a left-armer is an advantage against the Pakistan line-up, which is dominated by right-handers.