India should play with five bowlers in South Africa, suggests Erapalli Prasanna

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India should play with five bowlers in South Africa, suggests Erapalli Prasanna

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SportsCafe Desk


Erapalli Prasanna has suggested that the Indian cricket team should go with five expert bowlers against South Africa as their strength currently lies there. The former spinner also praised the balanced national team, where all the players have shown a positive mindset in the past few years.

One of the major reasons why experts have their hopes pinged on the Indian team for the first time on South Africa soil, is the visitors' new-found pace attack. Their current bowling unit comprises of pacers, who have been quite consistent in the recent past. The pace department includes the likes of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuveshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah. And Prasanna, who was part of India's finest spin attack in the past, has rated the current Indian bowling group as the best in the last 60-70 years.

"India have one of the best attacks in the world. In fact, I don't think the Indian teams of the past could boast of an attack like the current one. It is probably the best I have seen in the last 60-70 years," Prasanna told PTI. 

Pointing towards Indian bowling department, the 77-year-old has claimed that they have the quality upon which the Indian team can bank on. He also stated that the team has all the reasons to give chance to five bowlers in the playing XI.

"I have always believed five bowlers are must if you want to win the game. The same logic which applies while picking an extra batsman should apply on the bowlers.

"Even if you play an extra batsman, only one or two would go on to make big scores. There is a possibility if the top five fail, the sixth batsmen will fail as well," Prasanna was forthright in his assessment.

"Similarly, if you do pick five bowlers, more often than not you see one or two having an off day. And for a bowling line-up to be effective you need at least three bowlers to fire all the time. So picking a fifth bowler helps in this case," said the former off-spinner, who played 49 Tests for India taking 189 wickets.

In the spin department, India has the two most experienced players in the name of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. Jadeja, who has played 35 Tests in his career, has appeared in 10 away Tests so far claiming 34 wickets. The left-arm spinner has played only one match in South Africa in 2013 where he had claimed six wickets. On the other hand, Ashwin has played 55 Tests for India since 2011 crossing the 300-wicket mark recently. The off-spinner has also played one match in South Africa where he went wicketless. In the upcoming Test, the team is likely to pick only one spinner in the playing XI.

"Ashwin is an automatic selection in this case. He is good with the bat as well. I noticed during the Sri Lanka series, Jadeja was bowling like a stock bowler. He was not as effective as he used to be," said the 77-year-old. 

Under Virat Kohli’s captaincy, the Indian cricket team has had a brilliant home season where they managed to equal Australia's record of nine consecutive Test series win. The former Indian cricketer also believes that this is the right time for the team to create history by winning their first ever series on the South African soil.

"It is a well-balanced side and players have a positive mindset. What I like most about this team is that they don't fear any side. If the batters can score 350 runs consistently in the first innings, then half the battle is won," he added.

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