Munaf is one of the unsung heroes, says Simons

New Delhi: India`s bowling coach Eric Simons on Wednesday lavished praise on Munaf patel, saying the bowler was the team`s unsung hero during the victorious World Cup campaign.

"Munaf is one of the unsung heroes of the World Cup for us - he stepped in and played a vital part for us, after we lost Praveen (Kumar) and Ashish (Nehra) to injuries (before) and during the tournament. Munaf has learnt to understand his bowling and stuck to his game plan taking some crucial wickets," Simons said.

With 11 wickets at an average of just under 33, Munaf was India`s third highest wicket-taker in the World Cup, the top two being Zaheer Khan (21) and Yuvraj Singh (15).

He started with a four-wicket haul in India`s opening fixture against Bangladesh and bowled also well in the high-pressure game against arch-rivals Pakistan, picking two wickets.

"Munaf never once doubted himself or what he could offer the team. His work ethic is enormous, he has a very strong and steady head on his shoulders and calmness in any situation. He gave Zaheer the freedom to bowl very freely and aggressively," Simons was quoted as saying by a cricket website.

Munaf`s ability to bowl to a good line and length and generate bounce off the placid Indian tracks made life difficult for the batsmen and, according to Simons, the bowler`s presence had given the Indian attack the reassurance it badly needed.

The South African felt that Indian bowlers made up for lack of pace with their high degree of skills.

Simons also had a word of appreciation for pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and took special mention of his slower ball, which left many a batsman bamboozled during the tournament.

"Zaheer began working on it during the World Twenty20 in the West Indies and was ready to use it during the World Cup."