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Fewer bowlers spoiled it

The Australia game will hurt. India played with less bowlers and lesser firepower. Indian batsmen looked inept against speedsters. Ravi Shastri writes.

india Updated: May 09, 2010 00:17 IST

The Australia game will hurt. India played with less bowlers and lesser firepower. Indian batsmen looked inept against speedsters. The fielders will escape the blame because they cannot do anything if the shots are sailing over their heads. This defeat would have hurt big time.

Team India needs urgent solutions over the next three days. It needs to strengthen its bowling. Its batsmen need to show the stomach for battle on a pitch with pace and bounce. Both West Indies and Sri Lanka, their opponents in the queue, would have a plan ready.

Ravinder Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan are in the line of fire. Jadeja, as a bowler, had a rare bad game. I hope it doesn't hurt him too badly, for he is still young and a quick learner. His bowling in the international arena has mostly stood up to the test. He has to learn to alter his length in batting conditions.

Besides, if a Stuart Broad can recover from a Yuvraj pasting and actually prosper in the international arena, Jadeja can do likewise. Some moments are critical in a cricketer's career. Who knows if Jadeja hadn't got the second over in succession, he might have recovered the lost ground in his later spells.

But 38 runs in two overs would hurt him badly. Having said that, bowling two spinners in powerplay and in the conditions that existed was a massive gamble that backfired.

The case of Yusuf Pathan is different. Even though I admire him and rate him as an impact player, he is not convincing against genuine pace. The option he provides with his bowling isn't weighty enough on a Barbados pitch. I would go for a specialist like Chawla.

All those teams which have a batsman to anchor the innings prosper. We have examples of Sachin Tendulkar and Jacques Kallis from the IPL. Even in the other formats, look at the roles Larry Gomes or Alvin Kallicharan played for the West Indies in the 70s and 80s. Ricky Ponting too is adept at playing long innings at number three. Such sheet-anchors are the backbone of a side.

In India, Rahul Dravid played this role for many years. In the present bunch, Gautam Gambhir has that ability and he has to rethink his role in the absence of Sehwag. In the next two games, India must not make the mistake of going with fewer bowlers. Vinay Kumar might be young and Umesh Yadav has just checked in, but both --- or one of them --- must be thrown into the deep end.