That seems to be the general summation at the end of the India South Africa ODI series. It may be recalled that that was one of the burning questions in the minds of the coach, captain and selectors a few days before the Indian selectors announced India’s World Cup 2011 squad.
Gary Kirsten, the Indian coach, has mentioned not so long ago that the one thing the Indian cricket team was lacking was in the fact that they had not found a genuine all rounder. He was also quick to state that Irfan Pathan no longer fit the bill because his game had essentially fallen apart.
While some would blame Irfan falling away due to some radical strategizing on the part of Greg Chappell, the then Indian coach, who repeatedly thrust Irfan into the no.3 slot in ODIs and let his bowling fall away, there was little doubt that India have struggle since to find one they could truly connect as the one key player in every line up.
Now it appears Yusuf Pathan, who also fell out of the selectors’ favour a while back, has won his spot just in time. Yusuf is of course Irfan’s older brother although he broke into the Indian team much later, and through the greater focus on the IPL.
While Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain, has repeatedly suggested his faith was in Harbhajan Singh to play the all rounder’s part though he did not want to label it and draw pressure upon his sole off spinner, it appears Harbhajan and Zaheer Khan can continue to focus on their bowling as the primary weapon for India while Yusuf can be expected to turn his arm over on a part time basis.
And there are a few options that Dhoni can turn to on the slower turners in the Indian sub continent in the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and even Suresh Raina. However, Yusuf Pathan, for his sheer ability to pack a punch and the fact that he has been in stupendous form, will become integral in the line up and his bowling then will be a bonus.
There will be many who will question whether India have an out and out all rounder since the retirement of Kapil Dev, what can be said of the present Indian cricket is that they have enough to make a strong contention in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 at home.