Bowling key for India in World Twenty20
Grost Islet (St. Lucia): Before leaving for the World Twenty20 starting Friday, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said bowling would be the team`s strength and his belief stems from their performance at the just concluded Indian Premier League (IPL).
There has been a lot of debate on spinners Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra, the top two bowlers in IPL, being left out of the squad but India still has the firepower in the bowling department with a good number of part-time spinners in its ranks.
Harbhajan Singh played a vital role in Mumbai Indians reaching the final. The off-spinner is third in the IPL list of most wicket takers - 17 wickets from 15 matches.
The strikeforce in pace department Zaheer Khan got 15 wickets in 14 matches, but most importantly he came good for his team - Mumbai Indians - at crucial times that had an impact on the match.
Karnataka speedster R.Vinay Kumar, who got his maiden call-up in the Indian squad, was a revelation, handling the new ball for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Vinay was brilliant in varying his pace that got him wickets upfront. He led the wicket-tally for the first half of the tournament, but fell back to fifth place later with 16 wickets.
Praveen Kumar, with 10 wickets from 12 matches, went for runs, but could be dangerous with his swinging deliveries.
Leg spinner Piyush Chawla, who got 12 wickets in 14 matches, will have plenty to prove himself.
Ashish Nehra, who played just four IPL matches as he was out with an injury, and spin all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who did not play in IPL, would be relatively fresh and eager to perform.
Dhoni will also rely on a host of part-timers Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, and Yuvraj Singh.
In fact, Dhoni, who was leading IPL champions Chennai Super Kings, used Raina as a partnership breaker and the off-sppiner did not let his captain down.
Dhoni also did not rule out opening the bowling with a spinner, Harbhajan or Yusuf, both of whom handled the new ball in IPL with good degree of success.
The batsmen, however, will have to lift themselves. There is no Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir are struggling for form. Dhoni missed some IPL matches in the middle of the tournament, but played an important pacy knock against Kings XI Punjab that saw Chennai Super Kings qualify for the final.
Raina is in top form with 520 runs in 16 IPL matches at an average of 142.85. He finished third in the IPL batting charts.
Murali Vijay, who scored 458 runs in 15 matches, raised a few eyebrows with his clean six-hitting prowess.
Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik enjoyed some good outings but lacked consistency. Sharma though would be looking to make a mark having made a return to the squad.
Yusuf Pathan made 333 runs in 14 matches that included a whirlwind century, but came at an amazing and best strike rate of 165.67 for the tournament.