Indians should play to potential for positive results

Published: Sunday, January 26, 2003, 1:13 [IST]
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Chennai: India faces a Herculean task in winning the coming World Cup in South Africa, said Erappaly Prasanna, a former great spinner of the country. Saying that a team which calls the shots in the first 15 overs and bowls the middle overs effectively will win the cup, Prasanna asked "Do we have the attack and adequate fielding to win matches, especially being amongst the contenders for the title in the same group? Prasanna, who is here to train the 30 aspirants in the MAC Spin Foundation along with former Indian spinners, Abhiram Bhat and L Sivaramakrishnan told a press conference, "Both our seamers and spinners need to maintain a line and length despite the fear of being hit for runs and our batsmen up to seven should play to their potential for positive results."

He was of the opinion that Harbhajan Singh does not spin the ball much and if he could turn the ball as much as Muthiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka, he would be successful. "It is a pity that we do not have genuine spinners in our country. It is our bad luck. Seamers and spinners are the ones who operate mainly during the 11th to 40th overs in a match. "I am not convinced about our strength in this," he said adding Australia and South Africa will qualify as the top teams from the respective groups for the super six. Prasanna advised the spinners to spin the ball most and no batsmen could hit over him all the time and the ball would sure fall in the hands of the fielder in the long.

If a batsman goes in the defensive, firstly the bowler had checked the run and then opens up a chance of dismissing the batsmen for his defensive approach. He said, "Both Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag have to do well in both batting and bowling to help India win its matches in the World Cup, while it is difficult to plan our batting phases. Tendulkar should be used to break a settling pair." Explaining that planning was the most important factor to scheme for a good total, Prasanna felt that it is difficult to plan our strategy in batting. If Sehwag fails to apply himself and does not stay at the wicket for 15 overs as per plans, the burden would automatically fall on the next batsman and so on.

"Here we will wilt under pressure like witnessed on many occasions, including the match against the West Indies in Vijayawada in November," he said. While coming down heavily on Dinesh Mongia's selection, Prasanna felt that we do not have players for the sixth or seventh spot. "We need to have a sheet anchor in the team. I personally feel that Laxman should have been retained and he had in the past scored runs with the last five batsmen giving him company," he said.

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