Having taken India to World Cup glory in 1983 by his all-round performance, Mohinder Amarnath feels the current side lacks “genuine” all-rounders and the bowlers are trying to bowl too quick instead of focussing on line and length.
“In one-day cricket all-rounders make a lot of Difference. And in this team I don’t see any genuine all-rounders. See when we play in India or the sub-continent then the conditions are to our liking, so probably anybody can bat, so it doesn’t mean you become a genuine all-rounder,” Amarnath told PTI in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of a ‘Royal Stag Barrel Select Perfect Strokes’ event, here.
“The last genuine all-rounder I can think of is Kapil Dev and after that we have not produced any genuine all-rounder,” the former cricketer added.
If captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has banked on Ravindra Jadeja to do the all-rounder’s role many a time in ODIs then Stuart Binny’s, a middle-order batsman who can double up as a useful medium-pacer, emergence has also helped the Men in Blue.
Amarnath, who has played with Stuart’s father Roger in the 83′ World Cup, feels that the Bangalore boy is shaping up well.
“Stuart Binny is still new, he is inexperienced when you talk of international cricket but yes he has the potential to become a good player. It’s not an easy job when you have to perform in both the departments and usually the all-rounders are either frontline batsmen or frontline bowlers.
“So at the moment Stuart is doing a little bit of both and because he is coming in at No.7, it’s not easy to get runs or take the attack to the opposition. So the potential is there and how well he can handle the pressure is very important,” Amarnath opines.
Amarnath, who was adjudged man-of-the-match for his stellar show with bat and ball against the mighty West Indies in the Prudential World Cup final at Lord’s, said that Indian bowlers are not sticking to their basics and trying to play copycats.
“I think the Indians are trying to bowl too quick. It usually happens that when you see more bounce on pitches, which you don’t see in India, then you tend to get excited. One feels if others can do it then why can’t I. But it’s not a very good strategy,” he said.
“In one-day cricket I think the idea is to bowl straight, not to give too much room for batsman to play because the shorter you bowl it’s easier for teams like Australia and South Africa or any overseas team to play that kind of length. So I think the length is key when you bowl in Australia so if they can adjust themselves quickly then I think it’s good for them,” Amarnath added.
All eyes are on the much talked about India-Pakistan encounter in Adelaide on Sunday and the pressure it can generate on the teams, but Amarnath, who represented India in 69 Tests and 85 ODIs between 1969-89 said that the tension is more in the fans minds’ than the players.
“I don’t think there is any pressure on players as such. To be honest the people who are watching the game, feel the pressure more than the players themselves. I think players from both sides want to give their best performance, especially in this encounter, because they know that this is the best thing they can do for their nation,” said the cricketer-turned-analyst.
Stressing on the role of a leg-spinner in Australia and New Zealand, Amarnath said that India may have missed a trick by not picking Amit Mishra over one of the spinners.
“Spinners can only do wonders if the wicket is spinning. See in India I can understand like in 2011 probably Indians bowled 30 odd overs of spin in a 50-over game, which has not been the case over here. So I don’t think spinners here bowling lot many overs. That’s what I am saying that a genuine all-rounder or maybe a leg-spinner is best suited.
“In this format leg-spinners are always very successful and the only genuine leg-spinner that come to my mind is Amit Mishra. If he was taken in place of one of the spinners then I think it would have been helpful,” he said.
Hopeful of India’s good showing in their title defence, Amarnath said the job ahead is not easy but Dhoni and company will have to play their best cricket.
“I don’t think that India can’t defend the title but they have to play their best cricket now. They should go to the quarters anyway with those four teams playing in their group. And again I believe if they are playing those two games, in the quarters and the semis in New Zealand then they have a very bright chance to reach the finals,” concluded Amarnath.