'Spin will play a good role this time too'

World Cup 2015: Former Indian captain Anil Kumble says pace won't be the only factor

'Spin will play a good role this time too'
Ever since the inaugural edition of the cricket World Cup in 1975, the role of bowlers have undergone plenty of change in one-day internationals.

It is perhaps easy to conclude that fast bowlers made a strong mark in the earlier editions with dominant performances and set a trend to follow, be it England's Mike Hendrick's fine show of 10 wickets in five matches to help his side reach the final of 1979 World Cup, medium pacer Roger Binny's key role with the ball (18 wickets) that saw India clinching the coveted trophy in 1983 or opening bowler Craig McDermott's stupendous performance of 18 wickets in 1987 that played a key role in Australia’s maiden World Cup triumph.

However, post the 1992 World Cup, where again a fast bowler in Wasim Akram sparkled in Pakistan's glory, spin bowling has indeed come into reckoning as a crucial wicket-taking option and great performances from world class spinners have showcased the importance of spin in major events.

Former Indian captain and leg spinner Anil Kumble, the highest wicket-taker (15) in the 1996 World Cup, is quite straightforward in his opinion about spinners having a lot to contribute in the upcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

"Irrespective of where the event is being played, spin bowling will be effective and teams will be aware of their slow bowling options to make the most out of it," said Kumble, playing down the thought that fast bowling will remain the only lethal weapon on the tracks of Australia and New Zealand.

India has a problem on the bowling front, with a clutch of inexpereinced men in their ranks. However, Kumble feels that the youngsters in the side can spring up a good show. "Ashwin (Ravichandran), with his experience, is familiar with the conditions and it is great a chance for a youngster like Axar Patel to prove his mettle,” said the former Indian skipper.

Kumble was all praise for Axar, the slow left-arm orthodox bowler. "He is a very matured cricketer for his age and brings in a lot of variations. To India's advantage, he is no mug with the bat and will play his part.”

Kumble also talked about the role of part-time spin bowlers, who have made an impact in the past. "The strategy to use part-time bowlers is not spontaneous. It is more about how they come into the scheme of things in different kinds of match situations. For Dhoni, his options are quite clear and he has succeeded in the past with someone like Suresh Raina. But it is a fact that they will not be as successful in foreign conditions, as they were in the sub-continent," he said.

With Pakistan's top spin option Ajmal likely to miss the bus, Kumble brushes off the possibility of the quadrennial event missing some solid performers. "I don't agree with it. One must look at the reason behind why certain bowlers are being sidelined. Their absence will not affect the tournament's ability to captivate fans."

Kumble felt South Africa may deliver a surprise when it comes to spin bowling, even though they have a handful of top class quicks. "The South African team might be known for their tremendous fast bowling talent like Dayle Steyn and Morne Morkel, but they will surely benefi with someone like Imran Taher, who has done so well in the past. They will look to stop the run flow and get breakthroughs through him," he said.

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