Former India pacer and bowling coach of the Indian team that won the inaugural World T20 in 2007, Venkatesh Prasad, considers Dhoni and Co. as a major title contender in the upcoming edition of the event in Bangladesh. In an interaction with The Indian Express, Prasad spoke about India’s medium pacers and said it was time to help Zaheer Khan make a decision about his future. Excerpts:
If you look at his technique, the seam position is fantastic. I wish all bowlers had that near-perfect seam position like him. I have seen him struggle in the second spell in the longer formats of the game, his fielding is a liability for the team and he is not much of a batsman. He is outstanding in his initial spell but later on he struggles a bit, and that’s obviously due to the age factor, wear and tear and the injuries he has gone through in the span of 14 cricketing years. He debuted when I was part of the team in 2000 ICC Champions Trophy in Nairobi. We need to give him credit and help him in the decision (regarding his future).
On India’s bowling Attack
The bowlers have a good thought process, but the execution under pressure is what matters. They need to create more situations by challenging the batsmen. Varying pace in this format is important and so is the length. They need to be more consistent in the death overs, bowl more yorkers and use the slower one. They need to train in an environment where you are constantly trying variations.
He is a fantastic bowler and a great find. We need to handle him with care, which does not mean wrap him up in cotton and wool but rather manage his training and bowling schedules. He needs to be playing a lot of cricket at this point of time. This is his age to play cricket, no point giving him a rest.
He is a great prospect for the team. It’s important to give him confidence. He has this great ability to swing the bowl both ways and that’s his strength. We need to emphasise more on his strengths rather than pointing out his mistakes. Nobody is a complete player. We need to work on those strengths that he has got as a bowler.
India’s World T20 prospects
T20 format is all about good and intelligent cricket. It’s not just about hitting the boundaries but you need to build the innings. We have the batting depth and some young good bowlers. We did it in 2007 with a fairly young side, and that too in South Africa. In the Asia Cup, we did struggle but going into the World T20, we have a better understanding of the conditions, pitches, venues and weather in Bangladesh, so it might help.
By: Muhammad Saad