The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India should field both spinners: Prasanna

Calcutta: Speed, swing and seam movement are expected to play the dominant role in the World Cup beginning in South Africa on February 8. However, a fourth ‘S’ will be the determining factor, feels Erapalli Prasanna.

No marks for guessing spin is what this former off-spin wizard was referring to on Sunday afternoon at Eden Gardens, where he dropped in to witness some Ranji Trophy action. He is here for Monday’s Frank Worrell Day blood donation camp, where he will be signing the donors’ certificates.

“You can’t form a good, balanced attack without a spinner. People might think that spin won’t be that effective there, but it will play a significant part in a team’s chances of succeeding.”

Prasanna is of the opinion that India should go in with two spinners — Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble — to harbour hopes of applying the brakes and putting pressure on the opposition.

“It doesn’t matter whether you field seamers or spinners. But they (Kumble and Harbhajan) are two of our better bowlers and they ought to be used. Restricting a batsman means nothing if you don’t take wickets. And these two are our best bet to that end.”

He isn’t too hopeful of India’s chances. “We don’t have the bowling resources to operate well in the middle overs — the most vital part of a one-day game. We can’t pick five specialist bowlers and to me, this reduces our chances. Also, our tail starts early. Apart from the four bowlers, even the No. 7 batsman is also a weak link because India seldom gets runs from that position.”

New Zealand are his favourites as he feels they have the most well-balanced side. Bowling wise, his pick is Pakistan, ahead of South Africa and Australia.

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