There is too much nonsense written in the press and on blog posts after India’s despicable bowling performance against England in the previous league match. While there is no denying that the Indian bowling lacks depth and is not one of its strong points, India will continue to be favorites to win the tournament. There is no changing that.
Other than Australia and South Africa, none of the other teams have a bowling attack that they can be boastful of. Let us quickly analyze the bowling attack of the teams that are expected to reach the semi-finals.
James Andersen and Shehzad have been struggling for England. It is too early to talk about Tim Bresnan from the evidence of a single performance. He earned most of his wickets as Indians went slogging in the end-overs. Other than the perfect yorker to dismiss Kohli, none of the other deliveries he bowled were wicket-taking per se.
Sri Lanka doesn’t have a pace attack to talk about with Malinga being the sole exception. Kulasekara and Perera are not the names that you associate with first-class seam bowling on flat sub-continent wickets. Muralitharan and Herath have passed muster so far.
For Pakistan, Umar Gul and Shoaib Akhtar form a potent combination. But this is a long tournament and it is to everyone’s guess if Shoaib will survive it unscathed. Afridi’s part time spin might be too much to handle for the minnows but India has the batting prowess to make him look a club bowler.
On the other hand, I have to admit that Australia and South Africa have the best seam attacks in the World cup. With Imran Tahir and Johann Botha, the South African line up has that extra-edge in the spin department which Australia lacks.
India’s bowling performance against England doesn’t come as a surprise. Their shocking performance in Bangalore will serve as a timely wake-up call to iron out those weaknesses that are within their control. They will replace Chawla with Ashwin and their fielding will show considerable improvements in matches to come. Ashwin is an attacking wicket taking bowler who could be used in the powerplay if the pace bowlers go for runs.
India’s bowling hasn’t been any different in the last two years. I feel that the press is over-reacting on the basis of a single bad performance. I feel India have no reasons to worry as long as they can be consistent with their batting. They have the batting to bat most teams out of the tournament.