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'Greg's flexibility theory worked well'

The spin legend Prasanna said that Dravid should also be complimented for the successful implementation of the plans.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2005 20:13 IST

Spin legend E A S Prasanna on Wednesday said coach Greg Chappell's flexibility theory and gameplan has paid dividends to the Indian cricket team but success in the 2007 World Cup will largely depend on the ability of the players to adapt to the bouncy Caribbean tracks.

Crediting India's success against Sri Lanka in the recent one-dayers to Chappell's gameplan and its perfect execution, Prasanna, however, felt that the task of the home side was made easier by the below-par showing of the visitors.

"The credit definitely goes to Greg Chappell for his well-thought out gameplans. He kept the Lankans guessing all the time... Generally, a side plans its strategy on the basis of the rival team's composition and formation. But here the Sri Lankans had no idea about our final XI and which Indian player will come in as number three or number four or five," Prasannasaid.

"This was the right strategy. With the bowling attack being not of that level, Chappell planned his strategy around the batting line up, and that clicked," said Prasanna, who formed a part of the famed spin quartet of the 1960s and 1970s that fashioned many an Indian triumph.

At the same time, Prasanna said that skipper Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag, who took on the role of captain in one match, should also be complimented for the successful implementation of the plans.

"A plan is on the drawing board. And it is the captain who executes it on the field. And both of them came out with flying colours," Prasanna said.

Asked whether Indians could now start dreaming big about the coming World Cup, Prasanna said "here, I will advise a bit of caution. The tracks in the West Indies will be fast and bouncy. And such wickets will be full of life, and not like the restrictive ones we see elsewhere in one day cricket".

"And it will be interesting to see how our newcomers adjust to such pitches," he said.

However, Prasanna added that there were lot of positives from this series.

"One day cricket is basically an explosive game. It is extremely difficult for 30 plus people to fit in. Earlier, we had four 30 plus people in the squad. But now we have two players in that age group," he said.

"We now have lot of youngsters. In fact, the average age of the team is 23-24. And one day cricket is basically a game for youngsters," he said.

On the flexibility policy of Chappell, Prasanna said it was the best strategy to follow when there were several new faces around.

"There are many aspirants for a particular position available now. These youngsters might have attained success playing at certain slots at the domestic level. But one has to gauge the position where he is most suitable in international cricket. That's the reason Chappell very rightly rotated the batting order," he said.

At the same time, he felt, the inability of Sri Lankan bowlers acted as a "value addition" to the Indians' efforts.

"Their two strike bowlers - Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan - did not bowl upto their capability. Due to Murali's below par performance the Indian batsmen took grip over the games during the middle overs," Prasanna said.

Murali, he said, failed to get his big turns. "I have never seen him being cut off the backfoot through point and cover so often. He often bowled too short".

On the sizzling batting performance of man-of-the-series Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Prasanna said "He has served a purpose in this series. But it is too early to attach superlatives like 'great' to describe his batting.

"He has succeeded against a particular type of bowling, which suits his style. Against Sri Lanka, he could hit the leather with so much force as he generally faced fastish deliveries. And Murali was also not in his elements.

"But someone like B S Bedi would have had him in trouble. I wonder how he can hit back deliveries which are slow and flighted. I am not sure that he can maintain the same level of consistency against such stuff," Prasanna said.

First Published: Nov 15, 2005 19:55 IST