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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > News > Report

'Kumble, Harbhajan hold the key
against Australia'

Faisal Shariff in Johannesburg | February 13, 2003 13:35 IST

Pakistan cricket coach Richard Pybus says spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh hold the key to India's chances in its crucial Pool 'A' match against Australia at Centurion on Saturday.

"The Australian top order -- Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting -- is very powerful. Taking early wickets is imperative. But how India bowls its middle overs will greatly impact the outcome," Pybus told rediff.com.

"This is where Kumble and Harbhajan will come in. They are quality bowlers who can cause a lot of trouble on their day. As far as I can see, they will play a most important role," the South African-born coach said.

"As our match showed, Australia can run away if you don't bowl the middle overs well."

Given the manner in which slow bowlers dominated the West Indies-South Africa, New Zealand-Sri Lanka and India-Holland matches, Pybus believes that spinners will have a huge role to play in this World Cup, and he is all for picking them ahead of seamers.

"There's no point going into this World Cup with average seamers. In my opinion, average seamers will be the reason for the defeats of many sides. I would rather pick quality spinners than average seamers," Pybus said. "That is why I am plumping for Kumble and Harbhajan."

Pybus himself has been under criticism from the likes of former Pakistan captain Imran Khan for the way his team bowled against Australia, when Ponting and Andrew Symonds got after the bowling. And for excluding off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq from the final eleven.

But Pybus refuses to be drawn into a slanging match. "As someone who has a say in the selection of the team, it is wrong for me to comment on Saqlain's exclusion, but we need to take a relook at the balance of the side"

Pybus doesn't believe that the defeat against the world champions in their tournament opener is a setback for Pakistan.

"Not at all. Our fast bowlers bowled exceedingly well. Everyone's in nick. The mood is good. There's reason for cheer. Form here on, we simply have to win every match."

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Number of User Comments: 16

Sub: does only bowlers hold the KEY?

Well, rightly pointed out that spinners hold the key in this battle...but I would like to add that its high time India becomes considerate of ...

Posted by subinoy

Sub: RE:world cup

yea but the more important thing is our batting should click as well. Even our bowlers bowled out australia for 230-250, our batsmen has to ...

Posted by sukirtha

Sub: Ind Vs Aus

I think India should open with Sachin and Sehwag. Ganguly should play at No 4. otherwise, he can change our batting direction entirely wrong side ...

Posted by Bharath Bhushan


I don't think so. I am not sure about Harbhajan, but Kumble will be smashed to all parts of the ground by the Aussies

Posted by George


True that AK and HS hold the key to influencing India's performance against the Aussies, but it is high time now that the INDIAN batting ...

Posted by Shirish


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