Bowling lacks the sting
Former skipper Sunil Gavaskar believes India's bowling is still a concern and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will have to add some sting to their attack ahead of World Cup semi-final clash against Pakistan.
"Bowling is still a concern. Zaheer Khan is bowling well but there is still some sting missing in the second new-ball bowler. Munaf Patel is trying but he has just not been able to get any success," Gavaskar told ESPN STAR Sports.
"With R Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh bowling the way they are and Yuvraj picking up wickets, a bad spell or an off day for a regular bowler is camouflaged. But now with the rounds moving to the semi-finals and the finals, India as a team cannot afford too many bad overs," he said.
Image: Munaf Patel during a training session
Yuvraj a genuine all-rounder
Yuvraj Singh, who was the hero of India's five-wicket victory over Australia last night, has so far taken 11 wickets and scored 341 runs in the World Cup and Gavaskar feels the talented left-hander deserves to be called India's genuine all-rounder.
"He deserves the tag of being India's genuine all-rounder. He is picking up wickets. He is back to his favourite backward-point fielding position. He is a rejuvenated cricketer," Gavaskar said.
"When India were in South Africa prior to the World Cup, he looked a little out of sorts. But he has come back strongly and whatever he did in that break before the World Cup, that seems to have worked wonders for him. He is now a serious contributor in this World Cup," he added.
Image: Yuvraj Singh
'Raina's inclusion was right'
Gavaskar also backed Dhoni's decision to pick left-hander Suresh Raina ahead of Yusuf Pathan for the crucial encounter.
Raina scored 34 of 28 balls and added 74 runs with Yuvraj in the successful chase of 261 on a slow and dry Motera track last night.
"His inclusion for the Australia clash proved right. He is a finisher. We have seen Raina bat at five or six in the one-day games and he has gone on to finish the innings, be it batting first or chasing.
"He gives India the thrust and when the team needed to move on, Raina stepped up to the plate. When he came in to bat, and a wicket had fallen, then Australia would have clawed back into the game.
"Although Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan can bat, the pressure could have been just too much for them. So Raina played his part. Not to forget his fielding too was crucial," added Gavaskar.
Image: Suresh Raina
Former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar, meanwhile, said the India-Pakistan semi-final might turn out to be a no-sweat contest for the hosts.
"It might turn out to be a one-sided game. India is a far better team and Pakistan have come through to the semi-finals against all odds. The Pakistanis are undisciplined in many areas of their game. And to expect them to win three big matches successively is expecting too much," Manjrekar said.
"I would be surprised if they win against Dhoni's men. I expect India to win this match a lot more comfortably than they did against Australia," he added.
Image: Indian team celebrates after picking up a wicket