India will do well to plan tactics for Bangladesh batsmen, spinners

March 17, 2015 09:37 AM

The summer Down Under in Australia and New Zealand has been exceptional. Apart from the odd day when it has got cooler and rained, the sun has been out most of the time and that has made the pitches even better for batting than they usually are. The drop in pitches have been bereft of grass, and so the seam bowlers have had little help from them. Yes, the ball does bounce a bit more due to the hardness of the surface and there's a good thump as it settles in the wicket keepers gloves. This means that once the ball becomes softer, the batsmen can play through the line without worrying about lateral movement which could get them in trouble. The white ball in any case barely moves after a few overs, so it's been a batsman's paradise most of the time.

The number of hundreds that have been hit have been the most in a World Cup, and with the knockout stages still to come, there could be some more added to the list. Topping the list at the moment is Kumar Sangakkara in what is his last World Cup, and it is fair to say there has not been a better exhibition of batting in a World Cup than what the Sri Lanka left-hander has provided in this edition. He has scored four consecutive centuries, all of them classy affairs, and most importantly, when needed by his team. He has also kept wickets for the 50 overs of fielding by the Lankan team, so clearly it is not a question of fitness which is why he is quitting the game. It is good to see him getting the recognition that he so richly deserves.

Unfortunately, we still look up to the media from the old powers who are invariably promoting their own players even if they have one-fifth the achievements that the subcontinent players have. For example, Younis Khan has got 25 hundreds in Test cricket, but do you ever hear his name being taken when any discussions of great Test batsmen are made. On the other hand, any player from the old powers who gets even half a dozen centuries is immediately compared to the greatest in the game.

Tillakaratne Dilshan also has got two hundreds and has given the team a good aggressive start. Mahela Jayawardene, the stylist, has not got big runs after his hundred against Afghanistan, but he is the man for the big occasion as we saw in the final of the last World Cup. What has also been impressive is the way Bangladesh's batsmen have come to the run making party. Mahmudullah became the first Bangla player to get a World Cup hundred and then followed that with another better effort against group leaders New Zealand.

India meet Bangladesh in the quarterfinals and they will do well to pay attention to the Bangladesh batsmen when discussing tactics for the match. Bangladesh also have good spinners, so if the pitch affords a bit of spin, then their spinners could cause a few problems. Kumar Sangakkara, for his superlative batting, is the Ceat International cricketer of the week.

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