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Bowlling blues a serious threat to India's WC chances

By Ravi Shastri
Monday, September 20, 2021

In less than five months, India play their opening match of 2011 World Cup. Tour to Sri Lanka showed up vacancies in middle order. Its bowling vase was without a bottom. Fielding was abysmal. So Champions League held unusual interest from an Indian perspective.

I don’t have the advantage of hindsight in view of Mumbai-Bangalore clash on Sunday. And I only hope Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh have been able to recover their poise. Else, their economy rate in 7s and 8s isn’t pretty.

Without them, Indian bowling attack could be the worst in years. For us old-timers, the return of Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid holds a romantic notion.

Kumble isn’t any different from his international days. Could he please just make a comeback for the 2011 showpiece event? He has the bitter memory of omission in the 2003 World Cup final to act as a motivation. He and Tendulkar could be partners in chasing a long-cherished dream of theirs. As Team India struggled to raise up to three figures in Sri Lanka twice, Dravid was back in equation for ODIs in fans’ eyes.

Among the youngsters, Sourabh Tewary, Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay, have been eye-catching. Not so Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey or Virat Kohli.

R. Ashwin was deemed successful till he went to pieces the other night. This is before Sunday. No young bowler has burst through the ranks. Agreed, the T20 format isn’t quite toast and honey for bowlers. This event in particular, against all odds, has been singing the batters’ chime. Yet Indian fans are desperate for a bowling ray to emerge.

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