23 March 2007

Drop Uthappa?

In any case, he is only in the team as long as we are following the 4 bowler strategy. But if we are, then tough call. To be fair, the guy has only failed twice. Might as well give him a last chance, and it will be a final opportunity to make an impact in this World Cup and prove he is ready for this level. But should we go with four bowlers?

We need to WIN this match. Setting them a huge total is not going to decisively win it, though it will turn into the ultimate slog-fest. And if India put them in to bat, India must be prepared to chase down a massive total as well. The Indian bowling has been a little tame in the World Cup, and Jayasurya, Tharanga, Chamara and Sangakkara don't need a second invitation. The only way to contain them is to keep picking wickets and never letting them settle down. And so, we need more and/or better ammo.

So do we trust the four man attack of Zaheer-Agarkar-Munaf-Bhajji to deliver the goods this time? Or do we drop one of them to make way for Sreesanth? Or drop Uthappa and pick Pathan?

Picking Sree is a gamble. He is not the most economical of bowlers, and the pressure of playing his first World Cup game in a death-or-glory cauldron might tell on his discipline. But by god, is he a wicket taker! Pathan? Equally a gamble. Until he plays we will never know which Pathan has turned up. In any event, even if Pathan falters with ball, there is opportunity to compensate with the bat, and Sehwag-Sachin can finish off the overs that Pathan does not bowl. But I feel that picking Pathan is a waste if Dravid is not prepared to give him the new ball. That is where he has got a lot of wickets.
So we stick with our existing attack and trust in them to deliver the goods? Yes, because Agarkar has done extremely well in the past against the Sri Lankans. And a fired-up Zaheer Khan is now a beautiful thing, and Munaf hasn't bowled badly. Bhajji, though will need to up the ante and attack the Sri Lankans for any weaknesses. Keep probing.

And Uthappa. We need some magic today.