WC 2003 - Ganguly should give up superstitions: Chappell
Published: Saturday, February 1, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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New Delhi: India captain Saurav Ganguly should rise above superstitions and quirks and include spinner Anil Kumble against Australia in the World Cup final, former Australian skipper Ian Chappell said on Saturday. "It's the Aussie batting that the Indians must keep under control and to do so they need an extra front-line bowler in their line-up," Chappell wrote in his column in the 'Hindustan Times' ahead of Sunday's final at Johannesburg."My choice would be Anil Kumble and I would even be tempted to open the bowling with the highly competitive leg spinner who has troubled both Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden (Australian openers) at times."Kumble, with 308 wickets in 241 One-dayers, has virtually been reduced to the role of a spectator in the ongoing competition in South Africa. He has figured in just three of his team's 10 matches.Ganguly's team won nine of those games with just four specialist bowlers three pacemen (Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra) and one spinner (Harbhajan Singh). India hardly felt the absence of a fifth regular bowler in its previous matches as the trio of speedsters did remarkably well by sharing 43 wickets.Chappell, however, felt India would require an extra specialist bowler in order to stop the rampaging Australian batsmen in the final showdown. "So far in this World Cup, India has been predictable almost to the point of being paranoid with its selection, but it needs to change that pattern for the final against Australia," said Chappell."At the very least, I'd have Kumble primed and ready to go early if Gilchrist does start well against the quicks as the experienced leggie enjoys bowling with close catchers around the bat."It is this type of innovative captaincy that has brought New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming success against Australia. But, I'm not sure such enterprise is in Ganguly's make-up, given his superstitions and quirks."If he (Ganguly) wants to grab World Cup glory he has to suppress those inhibiting tendencies for a day and be prepared to 'look outside the box'."Chappell said India could seize the initiative only if its bowlers restricted Australia to a total of around 225 since they had the batsmen to complete the job after that."If Australia scores more than 250, India will be relying heavily on another masterly and major contribution from Sachin Tendulkar. As always, Tendulkar is the key to Indian success," he said."The ideal situation for India would be to bat first and post a score in excess of 250. Then all the pressure is exactly where you want it to be on Australian batsmen."Chappell, however, warned that India could be in trouble if dependable middle-order Australian batsman Michael Bevan stayed long at the crease."If teams continue to let Bevan play his preferred game of push and run in the early stages of his innings, they will continue to pay the ultimate price defeat," said the former Australian captain.Bevan has pulled his team out of trouble against England and New Zealand with gutsy half-centuries in the company of tail-enders. "Australia with Bevan in the middle-order is like the West Indies in its heyday; if you don't bowl it out, it'll reach the target," said Chappell."If Bevan is there at the end, it doesn't matter who is partnering him. Australia will win."