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India's shoddy bowling cause for concern

Last updated on: February 28, 2011 18:40 IST

India's bowlers were all over the place

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India's batting was phenomenal in their first two games at the World Cup, but the bowling a disappointment, writes Harish Kotian.

India's batting has lived up to potential in the first two games of the World Cup, but the bowling appears to be getting worse.

- Images: India vs England

In the first match, the Indian batsmen piled up a mammoth 370, but Bangladesh came back strongly and replied with a respectable 280. Then, England, led by their captain Andrew Strauss, shred the bowling attack to pieces as they tied the match after being set 339 for victory.

- World Cup coverage

There may be many 'what ifs' about India's showing while discussing the final outcome of the match, but, in the final analysis, it was shoddy bowling that cost the team full points.

Understandably, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had mixed feelings about the team's performance in Bangalore on Sunday. While he expressed happiness with the manner in which the batsmen went about their task, he did not hold back the punches thrown at his bowlers.

Had England not collapsed so tamely in the Batting Powerplay, they would certainly have chased down a total of even 370-380.


Image: MS Dhoni unsuccessfully reviews an LBW appeal against Ian Bell
Photographs: Getty Images
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Apart from Zaheer, no one could impress

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Except for Zaheer Khan, who turned the match around with a fiery spell in the Batting Powerplay, the rest of the bowlers failed to make any impression.

- World Cup coverage

"Of course, it is a big positive that all the batsmen have scored runs in the two games that we have played and the two warm-up games. As far as the disappointment, it is a mixed feeling. When you score 340-odd runs you are supposed to win, but there was a situation in the middle when you thought, maybe the game would get over in the 48th or 49th over. So if you get a draw you should be happy with it and not get greedy," Dhoni said after the match.

India's biggest problem is the failure of the part-time spinners. It only adds to the pressure on the frontline bowlers.


Image: Zaheer Khan
Photographs: Getty Images
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'Bowling in the second innings was a lot difficult'

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Piyush Chawla bowled superbly against Australia in the warm-up match on the same track, but found it tough against England. The pitch didn't offer any turn and, according to Dhoni, only got better for batting as the match went on.

"I think the second half was slightly better for batting because the ball was coming on to the bat nicely. It was not that there was too much dew on the field, but just enough to ease batting a bit. It was a bit difficult to turn the ball. You didn't see consistent turn from the spinners and only when they were bowling a bit slow they got some turn. I think it got a bit difficult as compared to the first innings," he opined.

- Video: Dhoni lashes out at UDRS

India were lucky that the opposition was England and not Australia or South Africa, who would not have thrown away such a good opportunity to win.

At one point, England needed 59 from eight overs, with eight wickets in hand, but failed to finish off things. Andrew Strauss summed it up perfectly: "We got to the finishing line, but we could not cross it."

Coming into the tournament, everyone knew that bowling would be India's major handicap. S Sreesanth was dropped after a bad showing against Bangladesh, and Chawla also looks likely to face the axe after Sunday's showing.


Image: Piyush Chawla wears a dejected look after a below par performance against England
Photographs: Getty Images
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'It was tough for spinners at the end of the day'

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Dhoni has made his preference of playing three seamers and one spinner clear, since he feels it adds variety to their attack.

"As far as disappointments are concerned, it was very tough for the spinners at the end of the day. We were playing with four spinners, so there may be times where you will find yourselves under a bit of pressure. In the end, they [England] batted really well."

- Six key moments from a World Cup classic

In the end, Dhoni was satisfied with escaping with a draw and a single point from the game.

"I think it's a mixed feeling. What the Indian team would be thinking is that they have scored 340 and not won the game, while the English team would be thinking is that they got off to a good start and were so close to winning the game, but were not able to win it.

"I think both the teams will be a bit disappointed but they will be relieved to take one point out of this because both were facing defeat at one point of time in this match," he said.

India's next match is against minnows Ireland at the same venue on Sunday, March 6. Surely, it provides the bowlers a chance to redeem themselves, even though the opposition may be weaker. It's time for them to stand up and deliver!


Image: MS Dhoni speaks with Umpire Billy Bowden (right)
Photographs: Getty Images
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