Mumbai: Former Indian new ball bowler Abey Kuruvilla said four-pronged pace attack could turn out to be a surprise weapon for India during their World Cup campaign in the West Indies.
"The way the wickets have behaved so far and the way the Indian new ball bowlers bowled against the West Indies in their last practice match, I will not be surprised if they can surprise their opponents with their four-pronged pace attack during the World Cup," Kuruvilla told Cricketnext.com in Mumbai on Monday.
"Agreed India does not have a Brett Lee or a Shane Bond or a Shoaib Akhtar, but their medium fast stuff backed-up by probing line and length can be very effective on the West Indies pitches as the new ball will swing alarmingly under those conditions," Kuruvilla said.
"And if the Indian bowlers - Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel - continue to bowl like they did against the West Indies in the practice match, then any team will find it difficult to score runs at a fast clip and when the runs dry up the batsmen will be forced to take chances against all odds," he added.
Stressing that this World Cup was an open contest, Kuruvilla, said his money would be on India.
"I think this will be an open tournament as the present form or lack of it of the top teams suggest. My money is on India simply because they have one of the best batting line-up and a decent bowling attack. If their fielders back their bowlers, I don’t see why Rahul Dravid’s men cannot do an encore of Kapil’s Devils performance in the 1983," Kuruvilla clarified.
When asked to name India’s key players, Kuruvilla said, "in a One-Day tournament every player’s contribution will count. If Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid and Sourav Ganguly can contribute to the total consistently, then Indians have a good chance of putting up a defendable total and the onus will fall on their bowlers and fielders."
"The experience of India’s three main batsmen (Sachin, Sourav and Rahul) and aggressive batting of their younger brigade (Virender Sehwag, Robin Uthappa, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik) will be the key as batting is their main strength," he added.
When asked if both the spinners should be played in the West Indies, Kuruvilla said, "it’s going to be a very difficult choice for even the team management to decide about this. In fact every team will be in a dilemma whether to bank only on pace or mix it up with spinners”.
"That way India is blessed with three part-time spinners (Sachin, Sehwag, Yuvraj) who can bowl 10 overs between them if the team’s think-tank decide to go in with medium pacers alone. But I personally think there is room for at least one spinner as six batsmen and five bowlers would be an ideal combination on West Indies wickets," Kuruvilla said.
"However, when pitted against a strong bowling side like Australia or South Africa, we might have to sacrifice a bowler (pace or spin) just to accommodate an additional batsman," he added.
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