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Kumble should be brought back in the team

If anybody can give the right advice to the bowlers, it can be only be this silent assassin, writes Javagal Srinath.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 18:36 IST

The first one-dayer in Peshawar came to a rather sad end as the game was poised so delicately. But in the end, Duckworth-Lewis equations tilted the balance in favour of the hosts. In what appears to be an incomplete defeat for the Indians, few bowling issues still stand up in the face of the team management.

First of all, the Indian bowling, which had struggled to come to terms in the Test matches, will not find it easy playing the one-dayers on much more batsmen-friendly pitches. Having realised that the bowling is the weak link, the idea of going with five bowlers was certainly a sensible decision. It needs buffer in the form of few extra bowlers chipping in with more variety.

But what is glaring is that the team is missing out on the experience front. While Zaheer Khan, the senior most bowler, is still a shadow of his own self, consistency is eluding Ajit Agarkar time and again. Somehow, the Indian new ball pairs have never settled for too long. With Irfan Pathan leaning more towards the bat than the ball, the quest for match-winning bowlers still continue for the tourists.

With Murali Kartik getting intermittent calls into the side the team is only left with the 'Turbunator' to rely upon. Under such circumstances, it is certainly wise to call upon Anil Kumble to lend credibility to the bowling department as a whole. If anybody can give the right advice to the bowlers and also grudgingly take part in the game, it can be only be this silent assassin.

It is true that the playing 12 (including the super sub) should be picked keeping in mind the 2007 World Cup. Till then, the confidence building measures for the bowlers has to be an integral part. Losing too many games and holding the bowlers responsible too many times will erode the conviction of the bowlers. So it will not be a bad idea to recall Anil to help the battered bowling department.

Sachin Tendulkar played a well-defined role for the team. His approach must have surprised many in the initial part of his innings. But if one can read between the lines, he was the one infusing energy into Irfan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the centre.

The senior most player not only leveraged his wealth of experience but also did even out with the lesser mortals at the crease. This act of mentoring in a game situation is where he brings real value to the team. Scoring runs from his wood is one thing but making the others score is the most important thing.

Few years ago, the game plan would be for Sachin to play his aggressive shots and the rest would revolve around. Now, it is still Sachin at the centre but other batsmen around him play the shots.

In a way, it is a reversal of roles where Sachin does not open up to take the extra risk initially but enable other batsmen to unleash through his learnings and monitoring from the other end.

The most heartening sight was to see Asif bowling as well as he bowled in the Tests. On sub-continent wickets, it is so crucial to bowl well during the initial part of one's career to have a sense of belonging in both forms of the game.

Graduating to the white ball has been easy for this lean youngster. Hitting the right areas consistently and being repetitious are good habits in fast bowling. Asif has worked hard to replace Sami, whose potential is yet to be realised.

As a captain, Rahul Dravid was impeccable. Timely promotion of Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh in the batting order helped India to keep the momentum going. Shuffling the bowlers was so important to bring about the variation as bowlers bowling long spells became too predictable.

From the Pakistan point of view, they almost played the game into India's hand. Mindless running and batting by Shahid Afridi and Mohammed Yousuf proved that pressure can bring the best down to their knees.

With Shoaib Akthar yet to make his presence felt, Pakistan may appear to have an upper hand. But if Indian batting can bat the way they did on Monday, the bowling edge of the hosts can be negated.

First Published: Feb 07, 2006 16:45 IST