Saturday, February 3, 2007

Should India Include One Extra Spinner for the World Cup Cricket Squad?

The biggest stage of world cricket, ICC Cricket World Cup, is going to be held from 11th of March this year in the Caribbean island nations. So, the selectors of all participating nations are now busy with last time experiment to set the best combination. As the wickets of West Indies are traditionally friend of the fast bowlers, it is undoubtedly sure that all the participating countries will give more importance on their fast bowlers and the number of fast or pace bowlers, for sure, will be more than that of spinners in almost all the teams. However, the sub-continental teams, who are famous for their spinners mostly, such as India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will mostly rely on their spinners except Pakistan.

India played last world cup cricket in South Africa with two specialist spinners- Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble, even though the South African wickets are also fast bowler friendly. Last time, India had three occasional spinners- Shewag, Yuvraj and Sachin who did well throughout the tournament and helped the strike bowlers taking important wickets in crucial situation. The only all-rounder Sanjay Bangar were batsman come slow medium bowler who could not do well. This time, India will also depend on the spinners mostly as they could not find any consistent medium fast bowler in these four years. The only difference is that Ashis Nehra has been out of the scene and Pathan came into the scene. Experienced bowler Javagal Srinath has got into retirement.

Now ahead of another world cup both Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble are still the first choices of the selectors as they were more or less consistent in the last four years. So, it is well enough to guess that both Kumble and Harbhajan will be seen in West Indies but the ultimate question is that would India go for third specialist spinners. Well, time can give the best answer of it but to me, India can go for a spinner-all rounder in order to keep the third option open for the captain. After having a look at the initial squad of 30 members, I think Suresh Raina can be the best choice of third spinner. He is a very good off spinner who can both check the runs in the 30 to 40 over range which is very important for a team. Moreover, I have seen Raina playing in the Under 19 world cup where he played very well as a middle order batsman. He can be a reliable batsman in the middle of the innings to carry on the innings to a competitive score. It is also needed to be mentioned that he is a good fielder too. So, Suresh Raina can be the best choice as an all-rounder.

If Suresh Raina is selected then I think it is not needed to have any other spinner in the squad. For occasional spinner, Sachin, Yuvraj and Shewag are still in the first 30 and they can well-serve to the specialist spinners. So, selectors can think about the fifth fast bowler in the squad or an extra batsman in order to make the batting line up more strong.