Against Pakistan, India should play five bowlers

Sourav Ganguly

India, Sept. 30 -- India-Pakistan clashes always get a lot of attention but considering India's future in this world cup depends on this game, the importance of this match attains new heights. Both teams have played a game in the Super 8s. Pakistan were down and out till Umar Gul and Umar Akmal played out of their skins to get past a talented South Africa. I wasn't surprised by Gul's effort because I have seen him do that before in T20 and although he is a wiry fast bowler, he can pack a punch with the bat.

Pakistan are a good T20 side and have won more games than any other team. They are also the only team to make the semifinals of all editions of the T20 world cup. This doesn't surprise me. They have a good balance with the bat and ball and their spinners are world-class.

The biggest difference between India and Pakistan is the quality of bowling. Although India possess a better batting line-up, the Pakistan attack is better.

India had a tough game against Australia; they were outplayed and that can happen in T20. It was a game India would want to forget quickly. They have been in good form with wins against Afghanistan and England and quickly need to get their confidence back.

What will help India is that they have never been beaten by Pakistan in a world cup game and in the recent past, their record against the arch-rivals has been terrific.

This is a high-pressure game for India but they've been in this situation before, and come out victorious.

Their win against Pakistan in the 2007 World T20 final in South Africa and in the 2011 World Cup semifinal in Mohali is testimony to that. This should give them confidence but the question is, can they do it again?

Dhoni will have to solve a few puzzles before this game. The question he'll have to ask himself is should he go in with five bowlers, and the answer is yes. Then, we come to the openers. India need a quality player at the top.

With due respect to Irfan Pathan, I feel he would be more useful at No. 7. His technique is good but not good enough to play the new ball and get a big score.

Scoring big runs is more than technique and one needs to have a habit of doing that. So, there is a strong possibility of getting Virender Sehwag at the top of the order or even getting Virat Kohli to open with Gautam Gambhir.

India and spectators around the world must remember it's not about combinations but execution on the field that matters. India have the team to go far and one bad day on the field doesn't make them a bad side.

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The writer is a former India captain

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.