De Silva believes India’s bowlers need to have more variation
Former Sri Lanka captain Aravinda de Silva has branded India’s bowling attack as extremely weak and he also believes that both the spinners and pace bowlers lack in variation.
Speaking to PTI about India’s bowlers during the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20, de Silva said: “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 added that the Indian bowlers don’t make full use of the conditions in which they play, which is why they struggle everywhere except at home.
“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. I felt that they were pretty flat and against sides which have good players of spin, this will be a problem,” de Silva said.
The former Sri Lankan batsman also failed to understand why current India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was always so reluctant about letting opener Virender Sehwag bowl his off-breaks.
“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,” de Silva added.
When asked about whether it was time for India batting legend Sachin Tendulkar to reitre, de Silva said: “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.”
However, Sri Lanka themselves will face the problem of who will replace their senior batsmen not too far down the line since Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are not getting any younger.
But, de Silva believes that Sri Lanka have a lot of talented youngsters, who have the ability to fill the shoes of the senior players once they decide to retire.
“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,” de Silva said.
When asked why mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis had become such a lethal weapon for Sri Lanka, de Silva said: “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.”
De Silva represented Sri Lanka in 93 Test matches and 308 ODIs, during which he scored 31 centuries, with 20 of them coming in Test cricket and the remaining 11 in ODIs.