India played a master stroke with bringing in Piyush Chawla against England: Sourav Ganguly

It is not fair that you don't carry points into the Super Eights because in a World Cup every game is important, writes Sourav Ganguly in Hindustan Times, adding that it is unfortunate India's fantastic showing against England will have no bearing.

“India played a terrific combination and the master stroke was playing Piyush Chawla. The England players looked like they had never played spin before and looking at them, I get a feeling that without Kevin Pietersen there will be early finishes in the Test matches in India. Harbhajan and Piyush will hopefully be persisted with, and the addition of R Ashwin will make it a formidable trio, especially on the Premadasa pitch,” writes Ganguly, adding that India are in a tough group comprising Australia, Pakistan and South Africa.

“They will have to play out of their skin to beat them. It is not impossible because India’s batting has looked solid and the bowling also climbed the ladder against England. These teams were beaten by India in similar conditions in the knockout phase of the World Cup last year and India will carry that confidence with them,” adds Ganguly.

Meanwhile former Indian captain Anil Kumble reckons that India’s spin repertory was full of “quality bowlers” and rated comeback man Harbhajan Singh as one of the “best spinners in the country”. According to a report in The Hindu, Kumble, who is world’s third highest wicket-taker with 619 scalps, said Harbhajan was exceptional and Ashwin’s main attribute was a calm head which is crucial to perform under pressure.

The former captain also said that leg-spinners such as Amit Mishra, Rahul Sharma and Piyush Chawla should be given a good number of opportunities. Talking about leading spinners of the country, Kumble said in Ashwin, Harbhajan and Ojha India have a very potent spin attack. “You’ll never know the real calibre of a spinner if you don’t give him enough opportunities. Right now the spin cupboard is pretty healthy because there are two spinners (Ashwin and Ojha) who are performing on the field,” Kumble said.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, Sri Lanka’s spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan dubbed it ‘advantage India’. “All the bowlers are doing well for India, at the right time, making it a balanced attack. The advantage is with India,” he told HT on Tuesday.
The man with 800 Test wickets said: “The combination will depend on the team you are playing but in Sri Lanka, spin will always play a big role. We have wickets which have something in it for the pacers too but are always loaded in favour of spinners. Here, they’ll get drier and I will say it will be 60-40 for spinners.

 “Ashwin is bowling well for one-and-half years now. And I’ve always been impressed with Harbhajan, he’s a proven performer and has the experience of doing well on the big stage. He showed that against England. They can form a good pair.”