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'Spin all-rounders crucial for India'

Press Trust Of India
Feb 08, 2011 at 07:05pm IST

New Delhi: The spin all-rounders have a major role to play in India's campaign at the upcoming World Cup since the fast bowling lacks firepower, former cricketer Abbas Ali Baig said on Tuesday.

Baig, who was the first Indian cricketer to score a Test century abroad, said India have plenty of genuine spin all-rounders and they are capable of dishing out a rollicking show before the home crowd.

"Absolutely, they have a big role. There is Yusuf Pathan, who is a genuine all-rounder. There is Yuvraj (Singh), (Virender) Sehwag, and Harbhajan Singh has actually turned into a mature batsman.

'Spin all-rounders crucial for India'

Former cricketer Abbas Ali Baig said India are capable of dishing out a rollicking show.

"The lower order batsmen also have to chip in. The lower order batsmen have supported the frontline bastmen, which was

not the case earlier. They certainly have a role to play in Indian conditions," Baig told PTI in an interview.

"If you look at Indian bowling. It does not have the firepower like that of batting....except for Zaheer. It's not up to the mark and may not be able to deal with the situation," he added.

"But having said that. Anything can happen in cricket and anyone can rise to occasion," he said.

A wonderful strokemaker in his days, Baig said India surely relies on its batting to deliver the goods but fielding would also be crucial.

"No doubt, batting is our main strength. We have enough firepower. On an unusual day, it may collapse. But it take us the whole way on Indian pitches.

"Our fielding has also improved. I think we are among the best in world with lot of youngsters in the side. On paper batting is our strength. So we will have to produce runs and save some on the field," Baig said.

Like many other former India cricketers, Baig also felt that the selectors could have added variety to the spin attack.

"I would have picked either Pragyan Ojha or Murali Kartik. One of them would have been ideal choice in place of Piyush Chawla. I would also have gone for an extra stumper. Parthiv Patel is good batsmen and wicketkeeper," he said.

Talking about Dhoni as leader of the side, Baig said his charisma will remain in the biggest cricket event and advised him to be fearless.

"Until now he has been a relaxed captain and has maintained his cool demeanour. But certainly World Cup is different. He is clear and bold and have to size up the situation and take on the opposition. I think these traits will remain with him and he can come out (with flying colours)," he said.

Baig also refused to believe that young Indian players, specially those who are playing their first World Cup, will feel lot of pressure to perform at home. He reasoned that Indians have played enough international cricket to cope with that.

"Virat (Kohli) has been doing well and I don't think he should feel pressure. Harbhajan is not the kind of guy, who will let pressure damage his performance.

"But yes, Yuvraj Singh need to silence his critics. His performance (in the recent past) has been under cloud," he said.

His advise for the whole team was that they should "play for fun and enjoy the game."

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