Former Australian captain Ian Chappell feels bowling is a big area of concern for India and the defending champions should go with two spinners rather then depending on pacers during the cricket World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand.
“For India the big area of concern is bowling. I mean against a better side they can concede 300 plus runs. I know India is good chaser and they will fancy themselves chasing but against better attacks it can be too hard. There bowling has been profligate and I don’t see any sign of improvement,” Chappell told NDTV during a chat.
“India must play two spinners. R Ashwin and I like (Axar) Patel. Generally India’s strength is spinners. So it is better India goes with their strengths.
“If you have some good spinners who can get some wickets in the middle overs by luring them, like Nathan Lyon does it for Australia. So good spinners can buy you wickets. Good is the operative word here,” he said.
Chappell said India’s pace attack lacks accuracy and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men need to sort them out before they start their campaign on February 15.
“I think you need to have five regular bowlers. Shikhar Dhawan is struggling opening the innings and Binny can be brought in as an opener. Technically (Stuart) Binny looks efficient, so he can open the innings. He then makes the extra bowler,” Chappell said.
“India have some genuine fast bowlers but there is no point if you bowl fast but inaccurate. So if they can get the fast bowlers sorted, then it’ll be good and get some extra overs from Binny. But if they go for an extra fast bowler because it is in Australia then it is not good.” he said.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar too backed Chappell and described how the 1985 World Championship winning side used spinners to tame the opponents.
“If we can go back to 1985, the boundaries were right near the fence. We used spinners such as Shastri and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. So I felt may be a leg-spinner could have been handy. We have similar spinners in Patel and Ashwin, may be a Karn Sharma would have been handy,” he said.
“But you have big boundaries in Australia, if Ashwin can bowl without much experiment he can be good. Patel is more of a roller of the ball but he is accurate. Ravindra Jadeja is a bit predictable because he has a same line and lengh but these are big boundaries so spinners will play a part.”
Talking about his bowling line-up, VVS Laxman, who was also present at the chat, said: “At WACA they have to go with three fast bowlers. It depends where they play. But I’ll like Binny at No. 7 and then you can have between Ashwin, Patel and Jadeja at No. 8 then the fast bowlers depending on their fitness level.
“I don’t know how fit Bhuvneshwar Kumar is and Ishant Sharma will be before the start. But in the first match at Adelaide, I’ll go with two spinners and two fast bowlers, Bhuvneswar and Mohammad Shami.”
Gavaskar felt that the current World Cup squad lacks experience.
“This team doesn’t have the experience that 2011 guys had. There was Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag … they all played in previous World Cups but in the current team there are not too many players who played earlier,” he said.
One of the greatest openers, Gavaskar feels the fact that Indian bowlers are not good fielders will put more pressure on the batsmen.
“I feel you got to be good in two departments. The problem with Indian bowlers is that they are not all decent fielders. At deep, they can’t be relied upon to stop a boundary, that means there is extra pressure on bowlers anyways. So I will look at two seam bowlers and one extra seam bowler depending on conditions.
“Definitely, I will pick Binny who can bat a No. 7 and Ashwin as 5th bowler. So depending on where we are playing and opposition we are facing, I’ll look at four regular bowlers with Binny filling as an allrounder.”
Laxman also stressed on the bowling, saying: “Pressure will come only at knockout stage for India. So it is important how the bowling line-up shapes up. Batting has the potential to score runs but whether they will do well in bowling… If not, it’ll put too much pressure on batsmen.”