Thatscricket - Columnists - Ram Raj - India needs fifth specialist bowler in ODIs: Vishwanath

Published: Monday, October 7, 2002, 0:00 [IST]
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Bangalore: India needs to go into One-day internationals with a fullfledged, specialist fifth bowler and can't always get away with bits andpieces players as it has been doing during the last nine months. Thesewords of wisdom came from none other than India's legendary "littlemaster" and International Cricket Council (ICC) match refereeGundappa R Vishwanath."The Indians have been doing well and we always had a good team.Consistency was only the concern and the players have shown a lot ofit in the recent times. Though the Indians seem to be peaking at theright time for the World Cup, I think the fifth bowler option is still acause for serious concern," Vishwanath told reporters on the sidelinesafter inaugurating the Jain International Residential School's turf wicketat the school premises on the outskirts of the city."The confidence in the team is very high and the team has beenwinning close matchesthat's fair enough. But, we can't always gointo a match especially in the World Cup with just four bowlers andexpect a Sehwag, Sachin or Saurav to fill in for the fifth bowler's slot.We need to go with five full bowlers and then have the option of a sixthor seventh bowler," Vishwanath opined.Stating that India was definitely among the favourites for the WorldCup, the little master known for his patented square cuts also said thatAustralia would be one of the strongest contenders to win the WorldCup. "The Australians are excellent in all aspects of the game, be itbatting, bowling or fielding. That gives them the extra edge though oflate they shown that they can be vulnerable under pressure," he said."At this stage, we need Srinath. He bowled very well in West Indiesand if he had been in the team for England, it would have really helpedthe team. He must have made up his mind to give that much back tothe game and that should be motivation enough for him to return. Hehas to give all that he has for may be the next couple of years for thecause of the team in both versions of the game," Vishwanathexplained, while stating that it would not be appropriate to compare thecurrent Indian team with the one that won the World Cup in 1983. "Yes, there could be a comparison if they win the cup. We can thensay both the teams won the World Cup and that would about be thebest comparison," he stated amidst laughter.G R Vishwanath was also not happy with Dravid's dual role aswicket-keeper/batsman in the One-dayers. "I dont think it is right forDravid to continue to don the gloves even though the team seems tobe moving in that direction for the World Cup. He (Rahul) is essentiallya specialist batsman and he should concentrate on his batting skills,"he added.He also complimented Saurav Ganguly for becoming aggressive in asmuch as he could now extract what he wanted from each and everyplayer.Stating that, at present, he would not be keen on taking up the job ofIndian team coach as he was pre-occupied as a match referee in theICC's elite panel, he said, "I'm enjoying my role as ICC match referee.In the present format of five elite match referees, I have to travel a lotand I get to see a lot of places. I always loved watching cricket and asa match referee, I have to watch each and every ball especially inTest matches which I really enjoy."

Thatscricket Special: World Cup 2003
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