India might have bowled out Pakistan for a paltry 128 in the World Twenty20 here but Sri Lankan batting great Aravinda de Silva feels that the Mahindra Singh Dhoni-led side has a weak bowling attack, besides also lacking in variation.
“Whatever I have seen so far in this tournament, the Indian bowling attack seems to be weak. And when I am saying weak, it means pretty weak,” de Silva, whose century helped Sri Lanka win the 1996 World Cup (50-over) final, told PTI during an interaction.
Asked to elaborate on his view on Indian bowling, de Silva said, “The Indian bowling attack does not have much variation in either spin or pace. On Sri Lankan pitches which are slow and offer some turn, one needs to mix it up.
“I have not seen the Indian spinners try out different things against Australia. I felt that they were pretty flat and against sides which have good players of spin, this will be a problem,” the 48-year-old, who himself was a great player of spin bowling, explained.
The former Sri Lankan captain said that he was unable to understand the reason as to why Dhoni was not using Virender Sehwag’s off-breaks more often.
“Let me tell you that it’s not an ideal situation to be in where you drop a player of Sehwag’s calibre. Also I don’t know the reason I don’t see him bowling his off-breaks more often. Sehwag is more than a handy off-spinner.
“The advantage to have a bowler like Sehwag is that he does not think like a part-timer. He is someone who thinks like a specialist off-spinner which is very important,” said de Silva.
De Silva, who played 93 Tests and 308 ODIs with 31 international centuries to his credit (20 in Tests and 11 in ODIs), also said that Sachin Tendulkar should be “left alone” to take a call on his future.
“Retirement is an absolutely individual decision and Sachin has the right to decide about his future in international cricket. The decision does not depend on age but more on how your body responds to rigours of international cricket at that point of time,” he said.
Just like Indian cricket which is now at the crossroads after retirements of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, Sri Lanka will also experience the same in a couple of years as the likes of Mahela Jayawardene (35 plus) and Kumar Sangakkara (nearing 35th birthday) are not getting younger.
Asked about this, de Silva said, “Look, there is a lot of talent in Sri Lanka just like there is plenty of talent in India. After myself and Arjuna (Ranatunga) retired, Mahela and Kumar took up the mantle. Both are world class performers. Similarly, once they leave, there will be other talented players who will take up their place. Obviously, talent alone does not guarantee success at the international level as you need to be consistent too,” he said.
De Silva explained why Ajantha Mendis has turned out into a lethal weapon in the Sri Lankan armoury.
“Ajantha is fresh in his mind after his comeback and that is the reason for his success. If one analyses Ajantha’s international track record, only the Indians have been able to read him well. Any batsman who plays Ajantha for the first time will find him difficult to negotiate. That’s why West Indies, who have not played against him struggled,” de Silva reasoned.
So, which team will win the World Twenty20? Pat came the reply from de Silva, “Sri Lanka are one of the top contenders to win the title.”