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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Report

'Our batsmen were overcautious'

March 18, 2007 05:06 IST

It was a disastrous start for India at the 2007 World Cup as they went down to minnows Bangladesh by five-wickets in a Group B match in Trinidad.

Former India wicketkeeper and chairman of selectors Kiran More analyses what went wrong for India on Saturday.

'Full marks to the Bangladesh bowlers, they bowled fantastically and they deserved to win this match,' he told Special Correspondent Harish Kotian.


Will you be able to sleep tonight after watching India go down so tamely to Bangladesh?

It's shocking. I said in my earlier chat also that you have to be very careful when you play against Bangladesh. And I had said that this wicket really suits them and they exploited it very well.

They bowled brilliantly with their fast bowlers, with the way they started off. Their spinners were also good, both the left-spinners bowled very well to the Indian batsmen. As I had said earlier also, the Indian batsmen are not the best players of spin bowling. So that's what happened today.

It was not only the batting, but the bowling also looked ineffective. India were totally outclassed in both batting and bowling by Bangladesh.

Regarding our bowling combination, I think we could have gone in with four fast bowlers and one spinner or we could have gone in with two spinners [and three fast bowlers]. But four fast bowlers and one spinner would have been ideal.

They had three genuine fast bowlers in the team, [one spinner] but there was no fifth bowler. There were make-shift bowlers in Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh. When you have a low-scoring match, you don't have a bowler who can take four or five wickets and Irfan Pathan is capable of getting wickets. Pathan can take three or four wickets in a match plus he can bat well. I think that is what we missed out. We went in with a wrong combination.

Anyways, we only managed just 192 runs against Bangladesh, which does not have a great bowling attack, but they utilised the conditions very well and won this match.

Do you think the Indian team misread the pitch and it was a wrong decision to bat first?

I don't think so actually. The way we got out and the way we started after losing one wicket, we were over cautious. There is definitely going to be some movement in the wicket because the white ball moves a bit. But full credit to the Bangladesh bowlers, they bowled magnificently, in the right areas.

They troubled Sourav Ganguly and even Robin Uthappa, so they didn't have a great start. Our start was very slow and they kept on putting the pressure on the Indian batsmen and we kept on losing wickets.

Sachin Tendulkar's wicket was very crucial. He tried to play the ball, but it was his bad luck that it hit his pad and went to the wicketkeeper.

So I think full marks to the Bangladesh bowlers, they bowled fantastically and they deserved to win this match.

The Indian top order played some poor shots today to throw their wickets away. What is your view?

I think we batted in an overcautious manner. I think when we you are playing against Bangladesh, at least one or two batsmen should go for their shots. Nobody went for their shots and by the time we went for the shots it was too late in the innings. That stage if we would have decided to get around 210 or 220, it would have been a great total on this wicket. But then we lost some crucial wickets, and with the score on 159, we lost three quick wickets and that was not on.

We should have tried to play a couple of overs at that stage and try to get some runs in the end. The last wicket partnership of 32 between Munaf Patel and Zaheer Khan was very vital.

In the morning, the wicket had a bit of moisture, but later on the ball was coming on very nicely. The way young [Mushfiqur] Rahim batted, it was a mature innings. He is just 17, he kept brilliantly and I felt like he was playing the 50th match of his career. In the batting too when the situation demanded, he went for the big shots. So full credit to Rahim, the way he carried from one end and kept on scoring runs.

All the Bangladesh batsmen who did well today are all youngsters. Tamim Iqbal is 17, Saqibul Hasan is 19, Mushfiqur Rahim is 18 � they scored vital half-centuries. Was it a lesson for the Indian batsmen?

I think it was not the question of learning. The way the Bangladesh team went about their business was outstanding.

They were chasing 192, so they knew they had to dominate the bowling. So what they did was they put a lot of pressure on the bowlers initially, especially Zaheer Khan. They went after him, they got away with some shots and I think that is how the pressure came on the Indian bowlers also. Munaf bowled very well in the first spell and there was no support from the other end at all.

I felt Ajit Agarkar could have been brought earlier in the innings [for his second spell]. He would have used the new ball and would have been useful. Agarkar, when he came on to bowl [for his second spell] it was around the 18-19th over and it was too late. I felt Agarkar could have been brought a bit earlier, when Zaheer was hit for a few boundaries.

In a low scoring match, you to bowl tight length and you have to get wickets also and that didn't happen. But the way Bangladesh put pressure on the Indian bowlers, it was outstanding. They had some game plans, they went for a lot of positive shots, they were a bit lucky also that some of the shots fell away [from the fielder] and a top edge went for six. But I think the wicket also kept improving.

Again the fielding also did not stand the test. Fielding is very key when you play low scoring matches. It is okay when you have scored around 300 runs, you can take it a bit easy. But today our fielding was exposed.

What should we do with Virender Sehwag? Should he be dropped for the next match?

He is not looking in the best of form. The team management should give him a break and let Uthappa open with Sourav Ganguly. Dinesh Karthik should come in or maybe Irfan Pathan. I think Pathan should be part of the team, because he can bat and bowl. He can bat in any position, number three or opening or number seven. He can also play the big shots when needed. Plus he is a left-hander, which makes a lot of difference. Like today, Bangladesh had two left-arm spinners and Pathan would have been very useful against them. He slogs the left-arm spinners very well and he is a big hitter of the ball and I think he would have been very useful. I hope he gets an opportunity in the next match.

The Cup: The Complete Coverage

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