Brisbane: Once again slamming the Indian bowlers for their poor showing in Australian conditions ahead of the World Cup, former captain Sunil Gavaskar said that the bowlers have learnt nothing from their past experiences on foreign tours.
After failing to take 20 wickets in the 2-0 Test series defeat against Australia, the Indian bowlers once again failed to defend a 267-run total in the tri-series opener against the hosts and Gavaskar is not at all impressed.
"The problem I think is that Indian bowlers have learnt nothing from their overseas experiences over the years in limited-overs cricket. So that is a worry. We are just hoping that when the World Cup comes, the fact that they are the defending champions will give tremendous motivation.
"At the moment it just looks to me as if even the bowlers are bowling well within themselves. They have had a long tour, the Test series and they don't want to stretch themselves to such an extent that they might cause some injury to themselves going into the World Cup," Gavaskar told NDTV.
But like a true optimist, Gavaskar still hopes that Mahendra Singh Dhoni and company can take inspiration from their England performance, where the bowlers came good, to make a mark in the 50-over showpiece event. "They handled themselves really well in England. So I am hoping that they will be able to find the same rhythm that had
in England and restricted them to win the series 4-1.
If that happens then India will be a formidable team," said the cricketer-turned-analyst. Gavaskar also pins his hopes on Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami to come out all guns blazing when the situation arises. "My first choice bowlers would be Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. I would go in with these two. I would go in
with Stuart Binny and I will go in with two spinners as well.
Because for the simple reason that Bhuvneshwar can also bat a little bit, he is also a very good fielder. Shami can also tonk along a bit and he is also a very good fielder. With Binny and the two spinners, they all bat. "So I am looking at a team which will have batting depth. Considering the pitches where you are going to play on where the batsmen might just flounder a little bit, like they did at the Gabba.
So if they have the batting depth then it sort of covers all my bases," said the former opener. Gavaskar also opines that the Indian think-tank is looking to slot Virat Kohli at No.4 in the ongoing tri-series and the World Cup. "If you actually have a look at the last ODI series India played against Sri Lanka, you will find that after a couple of games when Virat was not performing he was dropped down the order. And again I think he was batting at No.4 when he got a hundred.
"So eventually I have a feeling that they are looking at Virat as a No.4 batsman and they will either have Ajinkya Rahane if they open with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan," he opined. The former opener certainly has an advice in store for very talented Kohli, who has failed to get into double figures in the two games gone by.
"What he's doing wrong is that he is trying something different at this moment. He is looking to go on the front foot and then jumping on to the backfoot well within the crease. What that is doing is that his head is bobbing up and down. "In cricket the head has to be still, if your head is still then you are able to judge the bounce better.
Unfortunately because he is jumping and have a look at both his dismissals. His jumping is putting him off balance." The two ODI losses notwithstanding, Gavaskar still believes that the Men in Blue have it in them to defend the World ODI crown. "Yes, they are. I am pretty confident. Look qualifying for the knockouts should not be a problem. Once you get into the knockouts then it's the luck of the day that counts.
Sometimes you play and miss, sometimes the luck not going your way you edge that ball. "So all those things is going to be an important factor. But if India qualify by winning most of their league games then they will certainly be in the right frame of mind to defend the World Cup," he concluded.