by Sumit Srivastava
The Irish victory brought the smiles back on the Indian supports’ faces as they were looking for a revenge from the English men. But it also made the Indian think tank and the supporters to think about the game against Ireland more seriously. A good Sunday and Ireland can fancy their chances of qualifying to the knock out stage. So India needs to put their moves and equations right against Ireland on Sunday.
Batting has never been a doubt for the Indians. It has got a very settled look. Almost everyone has been amongst runs and this, indeed, has been the actual problem. With every one being in such a good form, the batsman at number seven is not getting any time to spend in the middle and is virtually of no use. With the bowling department struggling to prevent the opposition to make huge totals, the current combination of seven and four is not clicking.
The thing that comes out from the two matches India has played till now is that the jaded Indian fielding, some ordinary stuff with the ball and overly defensive tactics by Mahendra Singh Dhoni are not going to favour India. One feels that in both the matches, with such huge totals to defend, Dhoni should have kept more men inside the circle to prevent the singles which were given away far too easily.
The Indians can trust and bank upon their devastating batting line up, especially on these placid tracks and can play with five specialist bowlers, leaving out one batsman. The toss up is between Yusuf Pathan and Virat Kohli. In both the matches, Pathan did not get time to get himself in as he has to go for his shots straight away while Kohli has hit brilliant hundred against Bangladesh, so this toss should be very difficult for M.S.Dhoni.
If one believes in out of the box thinking then he can come up with another option. He can be used at number six with bowlers to follow him. And this option is leaving out both Kohli and Pathan and play Suresh Raina instead. It will give you the firepower, very much similar to Pathan, he can always be used for 3-4 overs if required and his fielding will certainly lessen the number of tired legs in the side.
A combination of three fast bowlers with two spinners should be the ideal one. If Ashish Nehra is fit, then he can join in with Munaf Patel and Zaheer Khan as the third seam options and R.Ashwin should be playing ahead of Piyush Chawla.
The concept of not playing two off spinners or two leg spinners together looks rubbish at times. If one says that Harbhajan Singh and R.Ashwin, both are off spinners and thus they will not give any variety to the Indian spin department then he should analyse the bowling skills of both the bawlers and see if they both are similar or not.
Harbhajan is not a traditional off spinner like Greme Swan or Nathan Hauritz who looks to make the batsman drive and go through the gap between bat and pad. He is more of a modern day off spinner who relies more on the Doosra. On the other hand Ashwin is another type of modern off spinner who is quicker through the air and has a carom ball. So, even this combination gives India a god variety of modern kind of spinners.
The most important factor of including Ashwin in the playing eleven is his batting ability. He can bat at number seven and he is more than just a decent batter as he has already shown in the warm up game against Australia. His ability to bowl at any part of the match gives him another edge over Piyush Chawla. He can open the bowling, he can be used traditionally at the middle and he can also come in the power plays.
Even before the start of the World Cup everyone knew that the Indian bowling is the real weak link in the set up and they have been rated as one of the major favourites primarily because of the batting power they had. The two matches so far have made the point more evident that whatever success India are to achieve they have to do it with their batting power.
The weakness in bowling can easily be exploited by the other side which could prove really costly, especially in a knock out match. But the match against England warned them that whatever they do with bat can be easily lost on the field because of some lethargic fielders and ordinary bowlers.
This team is carrying a lot of expectations of the cricket fans and the tag of favourites but if one looks into the history he will come to know that never has a team so much over dependent in their one department and so light in the other has won the world cup and it if things kept on going like this for India, it looks a tough equation to solve.