The Telegraph
Monday , March 24 , 2014
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‘Mishra has made a huge difference’

- India are on the right track, says Sunil Gavaskar
Yuvraj Singh fails to catch a Chris Gayle skier, in Dhaka, on Sunday

Calcutta: Their off-form in the lead-up to the World T20 is a thing of past as India seem to be a rejuvenated outfit, thrashing whichever opponent is coming their way. If Pakistan were crushed on Friday, West Indies, the defending champions, were humiliated by the Indians on Sunday.

The dominating fashion in which Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side have been blowing away rivals, some may think that the Indians are masters of the format because of their experience in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

But former captain Sunil Gavaskar disagrees with such a theory. Rather, he feels that familiar pitches are the secret to India’s successes so far.

“I don’t think India’s performance against the West Indies have anything to do with the IPL… It’s because of the pitches. The pitches in Bangladesh are different from those in Australia or New Zealand. There was nothing there for the Indian spinners. In Bangladesh, there is a fair bit of turn for them,” Gavaskar said, during a programme on a television channel.

“We saw Marlon Samuels turning the ball even in the 40th over of the match. It’s the pitches which are making the difference and credit to the Indian bowlers that they have exploited them to the best of their abilities,” he added.

With the pitches being helpful, Gavaskar thinks that the bowlers don’t have to try too hard to get wickets. He, however, added that leggie Amit Mishra’s inclusion in the Indian XI has made a difference.

“If there is not much purchase from the pitch, the bowler tries a lot… He tries looping the ball, tries variations... But if there is turn, the bowler doesn’t have to do much except for bowling at a good line and length. Having said that, there has been one significant difference in the Indian bowling attack — Amit Mishra.

“The inclusion of Mishra has added a different colour to the attack. He has a different bowling style and is much slower than the rest of the spinners. He bowls at around 70 kmph, which is much slower than the rest. He is the guy who has made a huge difference,” Gavaskar opined.

Experts have said that India look to be the team to beat in this edition’s World T20. Gavaskar reserved his views on that as he is yet to see all the teams, but maintained that other teams have surely taken note of India’s superb performances.

“Even though all the teams haven’t played yet, but going by the way India have played in the two matches, they have absolutely steamrolled the opposition… And when that is happening, the opposition starts taking note of it… They get into a state of awe and that is always a plus point. We do have a really well-balanced team,” he said.

Gavsakar praised Indian batting and bowling and also said that the fielding is improving. “It was a very good performance from India, as far as batting and bowling are concerned. The fielding is also improving. Only two matches have gone, but I have to say that India are on the right track. They are playing well, combining well and, more importantly, delivering the goods.”

“India have dropped a few catches… But dropped catches are part of the game. One can’t say that no other team have dropped catches. I think the throwing has to get better. A good throw can really make the difference between a run and a run out. If the throw is flat, one bounce, straight on top of the stumps, it can really put the opposition batsmen under pressure,” Gavaskar said.

He, however, reminded that there’s no reason to be bothered about such “niggles”. “These are just little niggles… I won’t be too fussed or bothered about it. I am absolutely delighted by how both these matches have turned out.”

Moving on from India, Gavaskar said that one shouldn’t read too much into Australia's loss against Pakistan in the other match on Sunday. “Australia have this uncanny habit of lifting themselves up after a disappointment. India need to be very cautious against the Aussies.”