Visakhapatnam, Sept. 9 -- In the last T20 match India played in Sri Lanka, just before this series against New Zealand, it was the pacemen who did the job. Ashok Dinda snared four after Irfan Pathan had removed three top-order batsmen to help India to win the one-off T20. However, ahead of their departure to Sri Lanka again for the World T20, they have picked a side that looks a bit spin heavy.
R Ashwin is expected to lead the attack, no doubt. Harbhajan Singh, who comes on the back of good showings for Essex on wickets that didn't help spinners, and Piyush Chawla will vie for a spot.
There is variety no doubt, but with as many as four decent part-time spinners -- Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Virender Sehwag - the squad looks spin-heavy on wickets that are not expected to turn that much.
Sources say India skipper MS Dhoni had a say in including the spinners.
Former players like Maninder Singh feel there is something wrong with the combination. He, however, says it is mainly due to confusion. "Till date, we have not been able to understand the ideal combination required for T20," says the former India spinner. "We are still going with that old mindset of seven batsmen, one wicketkeeper batsmen, four pacemen and three spinners. We have to find batsmen who can bowl four overs and give confidence to their bowling." He says the batsmen being considered as mere part-timers is the real worry. In the last five T20 Internationals in Sri Lanka, pacemen have taken 41 wickets and the spinners just 24.
The other worry is the newlook bowling combination. Four of the bowlers haven't played in the last five T20Is India have played over the last one year.
While Zaheer was resting, Harbhajan was out due to non-performance. For Piyush Chawla and Laxmipathy Balaji, decent returns in the IPL got them the nod. The two matches against New Zealand were important for preparation for the World T20 but with rain dashing hopes here, skipper MS Dhoni has just one game to try and strike the right combination. "These guys have played together in the past. They are experienced," said a BCCI official. The Indian bowlers, over these past five T20I matches, have conceded 7.86 runs per over. Their batsmen, on the other hand, have scored at just 7.09.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.