India 'spins' Cup dreams

Bhajji, Ashwin and Chawla trio in World Cup squad

India 'spins' Cup dreams

By packing the side with three specialist spinners––off-spinners Harbhajan Singh and R Ashwin and leggie Piyush Chawla––the selectors have clearly gone for “spin for win” mantra, given the slow nature of the pitches in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
On the face of it, the team wears quite a balanced look. A solid batting line-up, an experienced seam attack and a talented set of spinners—the selectors, under the circumstances, couldn’t have come up with a better combination. With an additional spinner in the side, it remains to be seen if India deviate from their tried and tested seven-batsman and four-bowler theory on Indian pitches and instead go with five specialist bowlers, including two spinners.  

The question is: are the chosen 15 good enough to win the World Cup that has eluded India for more than 28 years now? There is no reason not to believe so. For the last two years, MS Dhoni and company have been performing well both in India and outside, their No 2 spot in the ICC rankings amply reflecting their consistency.

Of course there are injury concerns to some of the key players. Sachin Tendulkar had to fly back back home following a hamstring niggle he sustained during the second one-dayer against South Africa. Before that blow, openers Virender Sehwag (shoulder) and Gautam Gambhir (elbow) and paceman Praven Kumar (elbow) too had been forced to return home skipping the on-going series. By not including an additional stumper and given Dhoni’s finger injuries, the selectors, some might argue, may have taken a risk. But it’s a gamble worth taking.

While India hope to pool in the best players for the job, other teams too could be thinking on the same lines; not least their sub-continental rivals Sri Lanka who too have three spinners in their ranks. Pakistan in familiar conditions can be dangerous while it will be foolhardy to write off Australia. A solid-looking England may be tested in conditions that may not suit their bowlers. Last but not the least South Africa, favourites in any conditions, unless of course they learn how not to choke, when they almost have their lips to the cup.

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