Spinners made a huge impact in the Indian Premier League, so India can look ahead to the Twenty20 World Cup with confidence on the bowling front.
“Yusuf (Pathan) and Harbhajan (Singh) did very well opening the bowling in IPL. Both have produced results in all formats of the game over the years to be called specialists spinners,” said M.S. Dhoni, referring to the spin options at his disposal. “We also have very good part-timers in the team. I don't think bowling should be a problem,” he added.
Piyush Chawla, the youngest spinner in the squad, impressed in the IPL, pitting his skills and guile against established batsmen.
India will face Afghanistan in the opening game, but the skipper is cautious, given the fickle nature of T20 cricket when fortunes can swing each over. The captain strongly believed no team can be pushovers.
“In T20 format any team can beat any other team. You can't relax and will have to give 100 per cent in every game,” he said.
The IPL results over last three years supports the argument. Rajasthan Royals, Deccan Chargers and Chennai Super Kings won once and only the last named figured in two finals. The T20 World champions in the first two years were India and Pakistan.
India coach Gary Kirsten was confident of his players giving off their best, regardless of the packed tournament schedule. “We have got the schedule and can't do anything about it now. The Indian players may feel the heat of it more because all of them played in the IPL but our responsibility is to go out there and ensure that we are well prepared.” he said.
“We are looking forward to the World Cup. It is a big tournament and we will like to go out there and perform.”
Kirsten felt it is for the players to deliver against short-pitched bowling. Foreign players in IPL teams were effective when Indian batsmen in the rival ranks were attacked on the body.
Sachin Tendulkar was offensive against short-pitched bowling, but is not playing.
“Every player is aware of what he plans to do and how he wants to set up his game plan. I'm sure the players themselves would know the bowlers they will be facing and would try to exploit the potential weaknesses of those individuals,” added Kirsten.
Yuvraj Singh's form with the bat is supposed to be cause of worry, but the India captain dispels the notion. “Yuvraj is a great player, one of the best in T20 format. He is one of the biggest hitters of the ball and can contribute with the ball at the same time.
“He has not scored too many runs in the IPL but it is not a big worrying factor. You need just five to 10 ball to hit form,” said Dhoni, ruling out any injury worries in the squad.
The India skipper said the best thing about his team was that in spite of playing such a lengthy tournament like IPL, there were no injury worries in his team. “I have not got any reports of individual fitness.”
Asked about Ravindra Jadeja, missing IPL 3 III after been banned the IPL for breach of player guidelines, Dhoni was sure that the Saurashtra all-rounder would hit form during the tournament. “He has worked hard and Jadeja would be fresher than us, I am sure he will perform for India at the T20 WC.”