ICC World Cup: Ashwin will always be in my playing XI, says Dipak Patel

Kiwi off-spinner, who famously opened the bowling in the 1992 World Cup, talks on India, NZ and the importance of spin in the forthcoming extravaganza

One would expect a former New Zealand cricketer, who made an impact in a World Cup to be at home less than two weeks before the greatest cricket show on turf which opens in Christchurch on February 14. But Dipak Patel is in Papua New Guinea, helping their national team to be part of mainstream one-day international cricket in the near future.

Dipak Patel
Dipak Patel 

Patel (56) served NZ well for a decade in Test and ODI cricket, but his claim to fame was opening the bowling with success for his country in the 1992 World Cup in which he claimed eight wickets.Patel spoke to mid-day yesterday on spin and New Zealand's chances in the World Cup.


On the role spin will play in the forthcoming World Cup:
Spin has always played a part in the recent past at World Cups. It has always been at the forefront in the success of teams, so I think it will play a role now too although not as much as it would in the sub-continent.

Dipak Patel during the 1992 World Cup in NZ. Pic/MiD Day Archives
Dipak Patel during the 1992 World Cup in NZ. Pic/MiD Day Archives 

On whether he foresees captains opening the bowling with a spinner like Martin Crowe did with him in 1992:
I don't think you can discount that. It comes down to horses for courses. Some teams will try and work out plans for opponents whose top order may be vulnerable to spinners. At times, it (opening with a spinner) is a surprise factor.

On India's premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who played only one game in the recent tri-series:
Ashwin will certainly be in my playing XI anytime. He has variety and can bat as well. He will always be in my starting XI. He's an attacking spinner and that's the way he should be used. I find that spinners are used too negatively. I urge captains to use them well even in the batting Power Play. As for Ashwin, he's a smart bowler to work things out.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin 

On the threat co-hosts New Zealand pose to other teams:
On home soil, New Zealand will be a force – no question about that. If they can do what they've done of late (winning series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan), it will be good. Hopefully, they haven't peaked too early. The middle and lower order hasn't been too convincing so there will be a lot of pressure on the top order and more importantly, our bowlers will be under pressure as well.

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