By Sandip Sikdar
New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Former South Africa cricketer Jonty Rhodes is surprised yet impressed with the Indian bowling attack in the World Cup which has been crucial in the defending champions’ four consecutive wins in Pool B.
Such accurate and economical have been the Indian bowlers, seamers and spinners alike that they have bowled out every opposition in all the four matches yet.
“Everyone knows how strong India’s batting line-up is but there was scepticism about the Indian bowling attack on how they, especially the seamers, would do in Australia. What has surprised me is the discipline with which they have bowled in those conditions as they have enabled the team to put the opposition under pressure,” Rhodes told IANS in an interview from Cape Town.
“I have been surprised with the ability of the pace attack. Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma and the others are bowling quick with accurate direction; otherwise the ball can go over the boundary, especially in powerplay overs. The direction of swing has been the the key as well,” added the South African, who is a World Cup analyst for Yahoo Cricket.
Elaborating further, the 45-year-old, often regarded as the greatest fielder ever, said what has clicked for India is the balance of the side.
“I like the balance of the Indian team who have five specialist bowlers which can make a big difference. Also, India have been one of the stand out fielding teams in the World Cup,” added the former right-handed batsman.
“They have good spin bowlers who have done amazingly in Australian conditions. Meanwhile, the fast bowlers have bowled pretty straight and haven’t given width at all. They have been impressive, having been able to contain runs and take wickets on good batting tracks.”
India have now beaten Pakistan, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and the West Indies on the trot to qualify for the quarterfinals. In the process, India won their eighth match in a row in World Cups which equals their previous longest Cup streak in 2003.
“The first two weeks of the tournament were focussed on India performing so well, especially after their tough tour of Australia. They have been able to come back and convincingly beat Pakistan and South Africa in the space of a week, following it up with victories over the United Arab Emirates and the West Indies,” Rhodes concluded.
India have finished their Australia leg of the group phase and will now travel to New Zealand to face Ireland (March 10) in Hamilton and Zimbabwe (March 14) in Auckland.
(Sandip Sikdar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)