New Delhi: MS Dhoni has never enjoyed a lethal bowling attack at his disposal; in fact, none of the Indian skippers has, with bowling never been India's strength. But former Test batsman Sanjay Manjrekar feels Dhoni is a master at getting the most out of his spinners to help India overcome that weakness at September’s ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
Manjrekar, who was responding to media on Tuesday at a promotional event for the tournament, said death bowling has been India's weakness in ODIs but that Dhoni was shrewd to "work around" that shortcoming. "They [India] have a weakness in death bowling in 50-overs cricket. But on spin wickets, Dhoni is a master at using his spinners. Bowling has been India's weakness but Dhoni is good enough to work around it," said the former India player.
He felt India was a better side in the shorter versions of the game because of the many game-changers it possesses, a feature which would hold the team in good stead at the World Twenty20. "India is a pretty good team in shorter formats. Each individual is capable of winning a T20 match on his own," he said.
But Manjrekar stopped short of picking a favourite for the tournament. "Weaker teams have a better chance of beating bigger teams [in T20 cricket]. You can't have a couple of slow games to start. You got to be at your best from the first match. That we have three different [T20] champions also tells a bit to you. It is a bit of lottery. Short format, seven matches, there will be upsets. It's difficult to pick a team that is likely to win. West Indies is a strong T20 team. They have four players who are the most explosive T20 players."
Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly, who was present on the occasion, also refused to pick favourites, though he hinted at India and West Indies doing well. "I don't believe in favourites in any format. India have the team to win. We have massive match-winners, like Dhoni, [Virat] Kohli, Yuvraj [Singh]. All of them can clear boundaries at will. We won the [ODI] World Cup last year. We won the  T20 World Cup in South Africa. They did very well in Sri Lanka recently, though Sri Lanka were not the same side without Sangakkara," Ganguly said.
"But there are other strong sides as well, like West Indies who have Chris Gayle, [Kieron] Pollard and Andre Russell. Sunil Narine can be a match winner. [They have] a good fast bowling attack - [Fidel] Edwards and [Kemar] Roach. But what's important for West Indies is how quickly they become hot and cold. Australia may just struggle with spin, but it's just four [to eight] overs. Pakistan have a lot of talent and if they get going, they can be a very dangerous side," Ganguly analysed.
The tournament commences on September 18, with India playing their first game against Afghanistan on September 19 in Colombo. England is the other team in India's group, and their match is scheduled for September 23 at the same venue.