No injury concern but we might rest some players: Simmons

Chennai: India’s bowling consultant Eric Simmons today ruled out any injury concerns but said the hosts might rest some key players in the fifth and final ODI against New Zealand here tomorrow keeping in mind the upcoming South Africa tour.

India enjoys an unassailable 4-0 lead in the series and Simmons, who is presently in charge of the team in chief coach Gary Kirsten’s absence, said the team management would pick the best playing eleven and eye a whitewash against the Kiwis.

“There are no injury concerns. No one is ruled out but if we don’t play anybody tomorrow, it will be more of a precautionary measure because we leave for South Africa in a few days time,” he said at the pre-match press conference here.

“It is not that we are experimenting, we will pick the best team we can. The team that played in the last game was a balanced side. Tomorrow is the final match and certain players may not play because of niggles but we want to win the series 5-0,” he added.

Simmons was also full of praise for comeback-man Yuvraj Singh, who was slowing and steadily returning to his usual self.

“Yuvraj was under tremendous pressure the other day (in Bangalore) but his shot selections were pretty good. I am quite happy with the way he played. He was striking the ball pretty well. He is clearing the boundary with ease and that proves that he is timing the ball well and batting with confidence,” he said.

He also lauded Yusuf Pathan after the dashing right-hander guided India home in the fourth ODI in Bangalore with his whirlwind 96-ball 123-run unbeaten innings.

“Yusuf had played one of the incredible ODI innings I have ever seen. Lot of people talk about Yusuf’s power but what excited me more was his temperament between the boundaries. That is something he has added to his repertoire and augurs well for him as a number seven batsmen,” Simmons said.

Simmons was of the view that with youngsters like R Ashwin and wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel justifying their place in the team with fine performances, India will have a problem of plenty when the selectors sit out to pick up the squad for the World Cup.

“I think when the team is selected (for World Cup) a number of guys will be in contention because players are putting up their hands. It is a very exciting time for coaches and selectors,” the former South African pacer said.

“It is tremendous to see Parthiv Patel working hard for a place. It develops healthy competition amongst the entire squad. Ashwin has been very encouraging. He has different variations in his bowling which plays a key factor in the slog overs. I think he is moving forward with each performance.

“You can see the competition within the present lot. It is a good situation to be. At the end of the day a player get need to perform under pressure. It is a good sign that bowlers are competing against each other,” he added.

Simmons, however, conceded that bowling at the death continues to haunt the team and they were working hard at the nets to rectify the grey areas before the World Cup.

“Certainly, we talk about it (death bowling) a lot. It is something we have to work on all the time. Cricket has become a tough game for the bowlers in the death overs, particularly when you play teams like New Zealand as they bat very deep. It is surely going to be our major focus before the World Cup,” he said.


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