Hamilton: India seamer Mohit Sharma warned Monday that the defending World Cup champions' razor-sharp attack will only be judged fully once they are exposed to a desperate, late innings assault.
Mohit Sharma. Pic/AFP
India have already qualified for the quarter-finals after seeing off Pakistan, South Africa, the UAE and West Indies and a win over Ireland at Seddon Park on Tuesday will guarantee top spot in Pool B. The pace trio of Mohammad Shami (nine wickets), Umesh Yadav (six) and Sharma (six) have been instrumental in their team's success, but Sharma is still braced for potential run gluts in the closing overs of matches.
"We have performed well as a unit," said the 26-year-old right-arm fast bowler. "But there is no limit to doing well, I feel that we have not faced the pressure of the slog overs and there is a lot to do." Sharma said the shorter boundaries in New Zealand will not be a concern despite India having played all four games so far in Australia, at the major Test venues of Adelaide, Melbourne and twice in Perth.
"It makes a little bit of difference in the mindset of the bowlers," said Sharma. "You have to adjust your line and length but it's the same for both teams. We don't want to disturb our momentum by thinking that, so we will concentrate on our strengths." Sharma is being utilised by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as a first change bowler once Shami and Yadav have had the early overs.
"Shami and Umesh are bowling well with the new ball and putting on a lot of pressure. My job is to maintain that pressure. "I keep that pressure on so that spinners (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja can take them on," said the bowler, who was a late call-up to the squad to replace experienced paceman Ishant Sharma. Mohit, who has played just 16 ODIs, was generous in his praise of Ishant.
"When I came in, Ishant helped me a lot. He told me what length to bowl with the new ball and then with the old ball. All of us share experiences with each other." Sharma admitted India will have to play well to beat Ireland, who have six points from four matches and are also well-placed to make the quarter-finals, with the non-Test nation concluding their pool campaign against Pakistan in Adelaide on Sunday.
"They played good games earlier," said Sharma. South Africa, Pakistan and the West Indies are also in the hunt for a last-eight place from Pool B. Pakistan and South Africa have six points each from five games while the West Indies have four in five. "Ireland have a chance to qualify. They have a good team," said Sharma. "We will have to play well to beat them, and we'll try to do it."