Batting can take India to last four, feels Bishop

The Caribbean pacer and commentator backs Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Australia make the semifinals.

Ian BishopIndia's solid batting line-up can make up for their relative weak bowling attack and help them enter the semi-finals of the World T20, says former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop.

Bishop has a good feel about the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team.

They’ve got such good batting. If things fall the way they like why can’t they be in the final four? Their batting is so powerful that it can probably make up for the lack bowling potency at times,” Bishop told Mail Today. Bishop, who played 43 Tests and 84 ODIs between 1988 and 1998 and is here a television commentator, said the Indian players’ experience in the IPL would be helpful.

One bad over in T20 can cost a team a place in the final four. They (India) are superb in batting - so many of them prosper in the IPL – but I think their bowling lacks a bit of edge. However, if their batting can compensate, they can pick one of the other guys [ teams] that I have picked make it to last four,” he said.

Does experience count in the T20 format as youngsters often put experienced players in shade?

“I feel experience counts for a fair bit. I look at a guy like Rohit Sharma. He’s so good in this format. Why? A lot of younger guys while chasing 10 runs an over, when they get only five per over, panic. “You will find out the best guys – the MS Dhonis and Chris Gayles [besides Rohit] – won’t panic if they don’t achieve 10 in an over. They’ll say there’s more than you think to make up,” said the 47-year-old Bishop.

“That’s where the experience comes in: the ability not to panic. Even from a bowling perspective, you look at guys like Sunil Narine [of West Indies]. When they go for a boundary off the first ball of an over, they have the strength to come back. So, I do think experience is critical in this format too, maybe not as much as in Test matches.”

Bishop’s picked Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia to make it to the penultimate round, and said defending champions West Indies could well become the first team to retain the World T20 title. “I see Sri Lanka being strong as well. I see Pakistan, although their batting is volatile, their variety in bowling can carry them deep into the tournament, and Australia [reaching the semi-finals] because they have a lot of players in IPL and also in the subcontinent,” he reasoned.

Bishop, however, would not pick the potential champions. He pointed out that most of the West Indies players who won the title in 2012 are in the team here too. “The good thing for the West Indies is that when you look at the team that won the title, 90 per cent of those guys are here. The only guys not here are Darren Bravo, who didn’t play a critical part last time, as did Fidel Edwards. So, it’s a team that has the experience of winning, they are skilful, powerful, and who knows this time they could break that mould of no team successfully defending the title,” he said.

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Kruger van Wyk of Central is struck on the helmet from a Matt Quinn delivery during the Ford Trophy Mens One-Day match between the Auckland Aces and Central Stags at Eden Park on March 12, 2014 in ... more 
Kruger van Wyk of Central is struck on the helmet from a Matt Quinn delivery during the Ford Trophy Mens One-Day match between the Auckland Aces and Central Stags at Eden Park on March 12, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. less 
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Getty Images | Photo by Stringer / Jason Oxenham
Sun 16 Mar, 2014 11:30 AM IST

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