Having just fielded one wrist-spinner in their games against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Anil Kumble believes that India should go with both Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the semi-final. Kumble also added that India should only play Bhuvneshwar Kumar in case of the pitch being a slow one.
After being taken apart by the English batsmen at Edgbaston, India went with a rather cautious approach in their following two games against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, fielding only one of either Yuzvendra Chahal or Kuldeep Yadav. However, former Indian skipper Anil Kumble firmly believes that Virat Kohli's men should field both wrist-spinners against New Zealand on Tuesday, with the Kiwis proving susceptible against Spin in the past.
“If it was England in the semifinals, you would have thought differently. But since it’s New Zealand, I’d certainly go with both,” Kumble told The Hindu.
Kumble also batted for the inclusion of Mohammad Shami in the starting XI, stating that India should play Bhuvneshwar Kumar only in the rare case of the pitch being a slow one. “If you have a slow pitch at Old Trafford, then maybe Bhuvi, but otherwise my five bowlers will be the five attacking options,” he said.
“Shami has been brilliant. Jasprit Bumrah has been exceptional whenever he’s come on to bowl. Hardik Pandya has been really good, giving 10 overs consistently. So these would be my best three seamers, to go with the two wrist-spinners,” he added.
The former Indian skipper also showered praised on opener Rohit Sharma, who has set the World Cup ablaze, as he turned things around quickly after having a dull patch in build-up to the World Cup.
“Five hundreds with two games to go – you can’t ask for a better tournament. And look at the quality of those hundreds as well. The one against South Africa was exceptional. It was India’s first match, he was coming in with not many runs behind him in the IPL, and people were talking about his lack of form. Even in the practice game against New Zealand, he hadn’t got runs. He’s been the stand-out performer. The top three have all been brilliant,” Kumble added.
Kumble also emphasized the value of MS Dhoni's experience, stating that it would come in handy in the semi-final. Dhoni has been under the scanner for his slow knocks, but Kumble dismissed any concern surrounding the 38-year-old, citing instead the importance of the team combination.
"Yeah, you can say, ‘Why is he looking to take a single when you need 10 runs an over?’ But it’s important to look at the overall combination, the way India has won. I don’t think you need to worry too much about one particular player, focus there and criticise him. He’s been a quality player for India and his experience will be needed in this semifinal” he concluded.
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