Young India legspinner Piyush Chawla should bowl from closer to the stumps while offie Harbhajan Singh needs to flight the ball with a little more craft to make a greater impact in the World Cup, says spin legend Erapalli Prasanna.
The tweaker, who was part of the famous Indian spin quartet in the 1970s, feels the Indian spinners have to come consistently good on familiar sub-continental pitches which are likely to assist them in the Feb 19-April 2 mega event, where India have an “80 percent” chance to win the Cup for the second time after 1983.
“India are very much the favourites. I think they have an 80 percent chance to win the trophy. And for this, the spinners have a vital role to play,” Prasanna told IANS in an interview.
He rated England, Sri Lanka and Pakistan as the other nations who have it in them to finish on top in the quadrennial tournament which is being jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
“They have the remaining 20 percent chance to take home the Cup,” quipped the 71 year old former Indian Test bowler.
Having seen Chawla bowl in Sunday’s warm up match against Australia, Prasanna said: “He was in fine fettle. But I feel he should bowl from closer to the stumps and the crease. He was bowling wide of the stumps and away from the crease. So he was not getting the lbw decisions in his favour.”
The 22-year-old Chawla finished with 4/31 in nine overs to emerge as India’s most successful bowler in a 38-run win over Australia. Harbhajan took three for 15.
As for Harbhajan, Prasanna said: “He should flight the ball with more deception. He is now our number one spinner and should attack the batsmen without thinking of containing them.
“His aim should be to get the batsman out, not contain him,” said Prasanna, who scalped 189 wickets in 49 Test matches with his controlled flight and deadly drifters.
He felt the other offspinner, Ravichandran Aswin, would get few opportunities to show his mettle as the Indian team management was likely to persist with a double-spin attack.
The Bangalore-based Prasanna, who had a 16-year-long international career between 1962 and 1978, said he did not consider the Indian bowling was relatively weak compared to the formidable batting line up.
“There is a lot of variety in our bowling. The attack will revolve around Zaheer Khan. He has good supporting bowlers in Shantakumaran Sreesanth and Ashish Nehra, besides Munaf Patel. And then we have part time bowlers like Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag,” he said.
Asked about Dhoni’s wicketkeeping, he said: “He is doing a good job both as captain and as wicketkeeper.”