Dubai: Former Sri Lankan legend, and the highest wicket-taker in the world, Muttiah Muralitharan while conceding that India pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah is a match winner for his side, feels that the Virat Kohli-led team is too reliant on him at the moment.
India lost the opening ICC T20 World Cup ‘Super 12’ game to arch-rivals Pakistan by 10 wickets. Murali said that India, barring Bumrah, not having a genuine fast bowler like Pakistan’s Shaheen Afridi or Haris Rauf, was a cause for concern.
“One thing has been clear at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. The best teams have strong bowling attacks. Pakistan have been dangerous because of the pace of Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi. They can bowl at more than 140kmh, bowling yorkers and slower balls. The extra pace makes a big difference in these conditions. Then it is about the spinners who can stick to a line and length”. Muralitharan wrote in his column for the International Cricket Council (ICC).
“The team who concerns me in that regard is India. Jasprit Bumrah is a match-winner but they look a bit reliant on him at the moment on the bowling side. I think they could do with a leg spinner in the team, or maybe Ravichandran Ashwin. It might be a case of going down to two fast bowlers and relying on Hardik Pandya to bowl. It is about finding the right balance and not relying too much on Bumrah,” opined Murali.
The Sri Lankan great said that Pakistan were in the best position to go the distance in this World Cup. They had beaten two of the best sides — India and New Zealand — in the tournament.
“When it comes to the team in the best position though, I think Pakistan are looking good because they have already beaten the two strongest teams in their group in India and New Zealand. They have so much talent, which has always been the case, but like the West Indies, in the past they used to have those off days where they played really badly.
“This team feels different. I am not sure where it has come from but they have momentum and a world-class bowling attack. The batting is built around Babar Azam, who is their one world-class batter, but then there is the experience of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez who have been playing 15 years of international cricket, as well as some good youngsters. Traditionally they have not been a strong fielding team, but that has changed as well.
“I think the biggest thing for them though, has been the input of Matthew Hayden. He really understands the game from his playing days and it feels like has been a great advisor for the team. That is a big factor in how good they look,” said Murali.