South Africa v India, 4th ODI, Port Elizabeth January 20, 2011

'Harbhajan is bowling as well as he has in his career' - Dhoni

35

India came here as a potential threat to South Africa's proud home record, but while people would have expected the result in Tests, it comes as a surprise that for the second time on the tour India find themselves one match away from winning a series. It didn't happen in the Tests, although 1-1 was a hugely creditable result, but in the ODIs they have two chances to become only the third side to win a bilateral series in South Africa.

They have come close without the services of key players; something they have become used to in limited-over series. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Praveen Kumar have played no part in the series, and Sachin Tendulkar went home after the second game.

On the eve of the fourth ODI, MS Dhoni said his side was approaching the game the same way as any other. "The mood is the same," he said. "When we lost the first game, we felt it was very important to keep a positive state of mind throughout the series. We play so many games, so our mood and mental state cannot fluctuate too much. We always concentrate on the process, and don't really see what the scorecard is saying or what the series position is. We are not thinking about anything right now. We just need to make sure that we don't repeat all the wrong things that we have done so far in the tournament. That will be our focus."

One of the big positives from this series for India has been the way the spinners have performed on tracks that, in theory, should be less helpful than the ones in the subcontinent. Harbhajan Singh, Dhoni said, "is bowling as well as you have seen him bowl through his career", and the part-timers are "a big plus for us".

"Harbhajan has done really well. We are using him regularly in the Powerplay and have used him even before the 10th over." Harbhajan has gone for just 3.82 runs an over in the first three games.

Dhoni said the reasons for the improvement in Harbhajan's form could be a mix of conditions and batsmen's attitude. "If the batsmen are successful, we tend to turn around and say maybe the bowler is not bowling well, but sometimes it may just be that the batsmen are playing really well.

"Some of the Indian tracks are too flat to do anything on. The batsmen have the momentum from the very start. If they get off to a good start, then once you bring the spinner on, it is a 50-50 scenario. They go after the spinners. If in the first few overs they are able to apply some pressure, then the spinner is on the back foot. A lot depends on where you are playing, and how the batsmen are coping with you."

Dhoni is also pleased with the work the other spinners have put in. "Along with him, the part-timers are doing a real good job, and of course the team composition allows me to have a few more part-timers than we would [with a full-strength squad]. Virender Sehwag is not bowling regularly, if Gautam Gambhir is part of the side he doesn't bowl, and we are not using Sachin Tendulkar that much, but because of their absence we are featuring players who can contribute with the ball. It gives me the liberty of using even eight bowlers in one innings."

Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh have combined to bowl 40 overs over the three ODIs played so far and have taken five wickets between them.

That, though, doesn't undermine the importance of the three big batsmen when they are back. "We will have to use the resources that are part of the side at that point of time. If you see the best batting line-up the Indian team has, Viru will be part of it, so will Sachin and Gautam, which means we will have maybe just two part-timers in the side. The surprise element of who is going to bowl from the other end won't be there, because I won't have so many options. But still they are the best batting line-up, and they will feature, that's why we need to perform with the bat more than the ball."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • doctor.x on January 22, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    for worldcup in subcontinent, parttimers will do very well Yuvi, yusuf and Raina all can bowl well in spin friendly pitches.... so this is nice sselection....

    Chawla might get a game or 2 ... by replacing Munaf.

  • doctor.x on January 22, 2011, 19:32 GMT

    I dont think Kohli will get a chance in World cup... unless Yusuf or Gambhir fails against mediocre teams during group stages( which aint gonna happen , bros..!)

    So we will have 4 batsman in Viru, Sachin, Gambhir/Kohli, Dhoni, 3 batting allrounders and part time bowlers in Yuvi, Yusuf, Raina and 1 spinner in harbhajan 3 fasters in Zaheer, Pk , Munaf( chawla if spin friendly )

    Now bowling problem of India is genuine.... but we can not afford to have it now at cost of Yuvi, yusuf or Raina.......... so live with it.

  • on January 21, 2011, 16:48 GMT

    Baaji is a world class bowler according to Dhoni.With helps from the pitch,umpires,why not he could take all the ten wkts.He has not bowled to Richards,Botham,Chappells,Anwer,Zaheer Abbas,Miandad etc.A very lucky bowler like Kumble.

  • Ranura on January 21, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    @ Saransh Saxena: dats true, but only coz he played more games agains sl n pak. otherwise he didnt

  • on January 21, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    No replacement for Sehwag at this moment. Please replace your comment first :) you need to have atleast two batsman with good strike rate for World cup. (we have it in Sehwag and Yusuf) Kohli is just an average batsman with good average in less than 50 innings , might be best at no 3 spot. So one batsman with good strike rate (sehwag) will open the innings.OPENER other one with good strike rate (Yusuf/Raina) will finish the innings (atleast give a try/cry) . FINISHERS.

    GOT IT ?

  • MadMonk on January 21, 2011, 12:15 GMT

    Kohli is not yet a replacement for Sehwag... if anything, he might replace Raina or Yuvi in the XI. Kohli still needs to work on his back foot play... not saying it is an important requirement in India but knowing how teams these days target a particular batsmen's weakness or less skilled areas it something worth looking at. And I am in no way endorsing the back foot play of Yuvi, Raina and Gambhir, but they take precedence over Kohli for the following reasons: a) Gambhir is more experienced and has a good test record against quality fast bowling which will negate and short pitched tactics b) Raina and Yuvi bat much lower in the order and should ideally not face up to short pitched attack, Kohli would come in later as well but would you prefer to have Yuvi / Raina to take strike in your end overs or Kohli? So there... my analysis for the day :-)

  • Cricket.Nellore on January 21, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    Dhoni is so bad in planning strategies nowadays, he always rely less bowlers and more batsmen plan which i arguably deny. See, dhoni says "'Harbhajan is bowling as well as he has in his career' " and yet he give 9 overs in the match. And he give nearly 20% bowling to part timers. You dont utilize your main bowlers when they are doing good. Bad leadership and very bad stimultaion to the co-workers. ---- Why these double standard statements. ---- I like dhoni so much but Nowadays i believe that dhoni is lucky to be a winning captain but not winning by strategies.

  • Jube on January 21, 2011, 11:11 GMT

    Give me a break!!! Cricket Nellore: it would appear you have no clue about cricket or any law. There is absolutely no law or regulation that says you have to play with 5 batsmen, 5 bowlers and a wicketkeeper. You play with the best strategy that works and as long and it is in the spirit of the game and does not violate any law it is fine. As far as you 'ask any expert' comment goes, there are enough experts who are praising Dhoni's captaincy and leadership. India are playing to their strengths - in the absence of a good alrounder this is the best option and if it wins the match why not??? As for Abhimanyu's comment - every team plays an extra bowler or batsman depending on the situation/ ground/ team strength. Lets just appreciate some very good captaincy, fighting spirit and playing quality and stop just trying to find fault even when we are doing well

  • Haleos on January 21, 2011, 11:04 GMT

    I hope they rid of useless M Vijay. He is only good enough to play for CSK. Also dont understand the point of carrying Ashwin along if he is always going to be a reserve. This has happened numerous times. He is talented and should be given oppurunities now that he is in the world cup squad.

  • Cricket.Nellore on January 21, 2011, 10:05 GMT

    @G.Sateesh Murali Reddy: Even if abhimanyu is kid, he is absolutely right. Its not a professional game which is to violate the law of game 5 bowler/5 batsmen and a keeper. Ask the experts they will criticise this funda. How would you take just 4 bowlers when you have to bowl 50 overs, its ridiculous game plan, when you dont rely on the potential of your 5 solid batsmen how would you think that your part time bowlers will do.. Yes, dhoni the lucky fellow, may get luck in some matches but not a genuine strategy of playing cricket. ----- btw, India is not playing with just one batsmen more, but 2 extra batsmen, dhoni is also a batsmen ...you boy!!!! its 7:4 ratio - Ridiculous game plan.

  • doctor.x on January 22, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    for worldcup in subcontinent, parttimers will do very well Yuvi, yusuf and Raina all can bowl well in spin friendly pitches.... so this is nice sselection....

    Chawla might get a game or 2 ... by replacing Munaf.

  • doctor.x on January 22, 2011, 19:32 GMT

    I dont think Kohli will get a chance in World cup... unless Yusuf or Gambhir fails against mediocre teams during group stages( which aint gonna happen , bros..!)

    So we will have 4 batsman in Viru, Sachin, Gambhir/Kohli, Dhoni, 3 batting allrounders and part time bowlers in Yuvi, Yusuf, Raina and 1 spinner in harbhajan 3 fasters in Zaheer, Pk , Munaf( chawla if spin friendly )

    Now bowling problem of India is genuine.... but we can not afford to have it now at cost of Yuvi, yusuf or Raina.......... so live with it.

  • on January 21, 2011, 16:48 GMT

    Baaji is a world class bowler according to Dhoni.With helps from the pitch,umpires,why not he could take all the ten wkts.He has not bowled to Richards,Botham,Chappells,Anwer,Zaheer Abbas,Miandad etc.A very lucky bowler like Kumble.

  • Ranura on January 21, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    @ Saransh Saxena: dats true, but only coz he played more games agains sl n pak. otherwise he didnt

  • on January 21, 2011, 12:28 GMT

    No replacement for Sehwag at this moment. Please replace your comment first :) you need to have atleast two batsman with good strike rate for World cup. (we have it in Sehwag and Yusuf) Kohli is just an average batsman with good average in less than 50 innings , might be best at no 3 spot. So one batsman with good strike rate (sehwag) will open the innings.OPENER other one with good strike rate (Yusuf/Raina) will finish the innings (atleast give a try/cry) . FINISHERS.

    GOT IT ?

  • MadMonk on January 21, 2011, 12:15 GMT

    Kohli is not yet a replacement for Sehwag... if anything, he might replace Raina or Yuvi in the XI. Kohli still needs to work on his back foot play... not saying it is an important requirement in India but knowing how teams these days target a particular batsmen's weakness or less skilled areas it something worth looking at. And I am in no way endorsing the back foot play of Yuvi, Raina and Gambhir, but they take precedence over Kohli for the following reasons: a) Gambhir is more experienced and has a good test record against quality fast bowling which will negate and short pitched tactics b) Raina and Yuvi bat much lower in the order and should ideally not face up to short pitched attack, Kohli would come in later as well but would you prefer to have Yuvi / Raina to take strike in your end overs or Kohli? So there... my analysis for the day :-)

  • Cricket.Nellore on January 21, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    Dhoni is so bad in planning strategies nowadays, he always rely less bowlers and more batsmen plan which i arguably deny. See, dhoni says "'Harbhajan is bowling as well as he has in his career' " and yet he give 9 overs in the match. And he give nearly 20% bowling to part timers. You dont utilize your main bowlers when they are doing good. Bad leadership and very bad stimultaion to the co-workers. ---- Why these double standard statements. ---- I like dhoni so much but Nowadays i believe that dhoni is lucky to be a winning captain but not winning by strategies.

  • Jube on January 21, 2011, 11:11 GMT

    Give me a break!!! Cricket Nellore: it would appear you have no clue about cricket or any law. There is absolutely no law or regulation that says you have to play with 5 batsmen, 5 bowlers and a wicketkeeper. You play with the best strategy that works and as long and it is in the spirit of the game and does not violate any law it is fine. As far as you 'ask any expert' comment goes, there are enough experts who are praising Dhoni's captaincy and leadership. India are playing to their strengths - in the absence of a good alrounder this is the best option and if it wins the match why not??? As for Abhimanyu's comment - every team plays an extra bowler or batsman depending on the situation/ ground/ team strength. Lets just appreciate some very good captaincy, fighting spirit and playing quality and stop just trying to find fault even when we are doing well

  • Haleos on January 21, 2011, 11:04 GMT

    I hope they rid of useless M Vijay. He is only good enough to play for CSK. Also dont understand the point of carrying Ashwin along if he is always going to be a reserve. This has happened numerous times. He is talented and should be given oppurunities now that he is in the world cup squad.

  • Cricket.Nellore on January 21, 2011, 10:05 GMT

    @G.Sateesh Murali Reddy: Even if abhimanyu is kid, he is absolutely right. Its not a professional game which is to violate the law of game 5 bowler/5 batsmen and a keeper. Ask the experts they will criticise this funda. How would you take just 4 bowlers when you have to bowl 50 overs, its ridiculous game plan, when you dont rely on the potential of your 5 solid batsmen how would you think that your part time bowlers will do.. Yes, dhoni the lucky fellow, may get luck in some matches but not a genuine strategy of playing cricket. ----- btw, India is not playing with just one batsmen more, but 2 extra batsmen, dhoni is also a batsmen ...you boy!!!! its 7:4 ratio - Ridiculous game plan.

  • on January 21, 2011, 8:33 GMT

    India will definitely win today

  • on January 21, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    @ranura - u kidding me !! he has picked up maximum wickets against pak and sl !!!

  • on January 21, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    Ya he's rit n i think if he concentrate on his batting he would b a gud all rounder!

  • on January 21, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    @Abhimanyu: I hope you are not a Kid. Partnerships will be done they are a good batting unit. Part timers are doing a good job because they are cutting down the batsmen and taking crucial wickets. In 2nd ODI Rohit has removed JP at crucial point of time. 5 Bowlers strategy is not a good one in 3rd the batsmen who rescued from defeat was yusuf - No.7 Batsmen. If it was a 5 bowler strategy India would have lost the match........

  • Sandman5five on January 21, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    What is Dhoni going on about? When Sach, Viru and Gautam return, and it will be a hugely welcome return, India's part-time resources won't take any hit at all! Coz we will still have Yuvraj, Yusuf and Raina sharing 10 or may be more overs between them. Viru won't bowl coz of his dodgy shoulder, and Sach won't bowl because of general fitness/fatigue concerns. But the havoc that these guys can cause at the top of the order is too precious for us to risk them with the bowl.

  • on January 21, 2011, 2:10 GMT

    l

    piyush chawla is not a good selection

    he might have been selected as he is the best leg-spinner in india and also has fizz off the pitch whereas amit is slow off the pitch though he produces good flight

  • on January 21, 2011, 1:45 GMT

    @ Rahul Bose My dear friend i hope u have Gone of your Minds by speaking of replacing Sehwag by Kohli. Thats the funniest comment I have heard. Ofcourse Kohli is our future but not at the Price of Sehwag.Very soon we may need a Replacement for the Master Kohli would be a batsmen of Master's Mould rather than Sehwag.

    With Kind regards my friend we Need Sehwag for Another 2 to 3 years until we develop a Batsman to Replace him of his Mould.

  • Ranura on January 21, 2011, 1:19 GMT

    Harbhajan only perform against SA n Aus. He cant bowl agains SL n Pak. This happns coz SA n Aus r not playing well against spinners and SL n Pak r playing. Harbhajan will be hammered in da world cup. best of luck india!

  • Rahulbose on January 20, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    In ODIs Sehwag needs to be replaced by Kohli with Gambhir moving upto open with Sachin. But not gonna happen.

  • Meety on January 20, 2011, 20:41 GMT

    Big call from Dhoni re: Harbhajan - I haven't seen too much of this Sth Africa tour, but previously I thought Singh had turned into a batsmen who bowls okay!!!!

  • Abhimanyu on January 20, 2011, 19:59 GMT

    Dhoni is talking rubbish, if "the part--timers are doing a real good job" then why were South Africa able to build huge partnerships when the part-timers came to bowl? 1st match 130-run stand between JP and AB, in the 3rd match 110-run stand between JP and P. Plessis, and even in the 2nd match 43 runs came between JP and Smith. Why? can you answer that Dhoni??....... India is very lucky to lead 2-1 in this series, I still feel India must play 5 bowlers and go for the kill. In the first two matches SA were at least 3 down for 80 odd runs and in the 3rd they were 90 for 4 and on all 3 occasions they were able to rebuild when the part-timers came on. Why give away 100-odd runs using part-timers when you can go for the kill with 5 strike bowlers by playing P. Chawla??

  • iamgroot on January 20, 2011, 19:29 GMT

    Its a bit sad to know that viru and sachin dont bowl bcoz of their injuries ..its a big loss both are thinking bowlers.. in the past sachin used to come once in a while as surprise and take a wicket in his 4 or 5 overs.. sachin used to bowl leg cutters .. off spinners and flighted deliveries and there was one match where he got inzamam with a full toss. and there were moments when he used to swing the ball in air (gentle banana swingers) but they used to swing alot and he was very good.. and viru has a simple action and very dangerous when he flights the ball and lets it to spin.. he got so many wickets like that.. both sehwag and sachin are great thinking bowlers ..yes sachin might be expensive at times but he was partnership breaker and brings that thrill element to the game ..big loss but I am very happy to see consistent and dangerous sachin and sehwag swashbuckler .bowling is shared by other bowlers..like yuvi, raina, yusuf, even kohli can bowl.. gentle medium pacers..

  • on January 20, 2011, 18:29 GMT

    @VipulPatki - Dhoni has expressed his situation diplomatically in the last paragraph. If u read between the lines, its obvious that Sehwag is not keen to bowl much.

  • bluebleeder on January 20, 2011, 18:06 GMT

    @VipulPatki : i had the very same doubt in my mind too.....but then i realised, that dhoni is doing the wise thing..he's our captain after all, n he knows what to do...the reason he isnt using sehwag much for bowling, is very much the same reason why sehwag is in india rite now....n that is, sehwag has been having problems wid his shoulder very often....he has also missed important events like the t20 world cup n the icc champions trophy......n now dhoni cant risk him for the sake of his part time bowling, which might unnecessarily make the injury serious...n consequently lead to sehwag's absence from the world cup......as for sachin, he doesnt opt to bowl much ever since he had that tennis elbow....so no captain wud deliberately hold back talented part-timers for no reason...

  • BeautifulGame on January 20, 2011, 17:48 GMT

    @ VipulPatki

    I think it has a lot to do with injuries .Sehwag struggles with shoulder injuries and sachin always has bandage in his fingures.

  • on January 20, 2011, 17:42 GMT

    @vipulpatki:the reason is simple INJURY!!! DHONI cant risk asking 37 year old sachin and the injury prone sehwag to do the part-time bowling !

  • on January 20, 2011, 17:31 GMT

    Yes, Vipul Patki... They have rarely been used as part time bowlers. But the main culprit is their fitness. Most of the time they are injured.

    Dhoni would have used Sehwag against SA in both the tests but his shoulder was having problem.

  • gerardpereira20 on January 20, 2011, 17:25 GMT

    Strange as it may seem Indias's second eleven might be better than the first. For all the hype neither Shewag or Gambhir are great ODI players although Gambhir played well against a poor New Zealand. Had it not been for Tendulkar going home Pathan might still be in th pavilion twidling his thumbs. Question marks against Raina's temperment still persist and Vijay is wasteing his time playing ODIs.

  • Nitish87 on January 20, 2011, 17:23 GMT

    Since Sehwag and Sachin are openers,the onus of playing a long innings is in der hands nd since dey are in latter part of der career it would be incorrect to consider dem as bowling options..but yes if dey were in der 20s as some of out younger players they surely would have been given da oppurtunity to bowl....but sehwag could bowl in test matches to break partnerships....

  • Chetan007 on January 20, 2011, 17:11 GMT

    It was good to give viru and Sachin more concentration on their batting then for balling. Of course they can came handy with the ball. For the world cup they must be tried if other part timers were not good enough in any game they played. Moreover, India need a good start. Sachin must practice hard before the start of world cup since he has played only 2 odi after 11 months which is a long period. This hampers the mind set and the strick rate of a player.It is good to see Bhajji coming good these days but he should concentrate more with ball and try to get more wickets with good economy

  • on January 20, 2011, 16:24 GMT

    yup m.s is tru..... bhajji really showing wat kind of bowler he is.... his form is at the peak... very economical...... anybody commenting on this ...(please never compare him with SO CALLED SPINNER BOTHA)... hes really making smith his bunny... zak and bhajji may fight for bunny (smith) watch out!!!!!

  • Nampally on January 20, 2011, 16:16 GMT

    Yes, Harbhajan has bowled a very tidy length to contain the SA batsmen. But without Kallis in the side, there is no sheet anchor to their batting. Also Kallis plays spin very well. So this has partly let Harbhajan settle. While Dhoni has praised spin, it is amazing that he has gone in with Nehra who was mainlky instrumental in the loss of the first ODI by bowling @ 10 runs/over.He was poor in the second & third ODI's too bowling at 7 runs/over.Nehra negated most of Harbhajan's economy. Since SA is weak against spin, Dhoni could easily have gone in with Ashwin, Ojha or Chawla instead of Nehra, all in the squad. It would have given these youngsters much needed experience. Ashwin & Chawla are in the World cup squad too.Are they in the squad just to warm the benches. Part time spinners are good but someone like Ashwin would have been a tremendous foil for Harbhajan by taking wkts. at the other end - no relief from facing spin.It looks like Nehra will play in the 4th ODI too.

  • on January 20, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    i think DHONI Himself Satisfied with the team's Bowling Performance, But They should Concentrate on Batting for the next two games ,

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on January 20, 2011, 16:12 GMT

    "Harbhajan is bowling as well as he has in his career".... erm no. I think Dhoni seems to be forgetting the first half of Harbhajans career when he was a true wicket taking match winner. But then again Dhoni also seems to be forget when he is tired or fatigued, even when others tell him to take a rest, until after his team gets knocked out of competitions early aka Last two T20 World Cups and Champions Trophy, then the excuses come out.

  • VipulPatki on January 20, 2011, 15:55 GMT

    Viru and Sachin have been highly underutilized as spinners. Both have elegant run-ups to the crease and good variations. Wonder why Dhoni doesn't use them more frequently.

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  • VipulPatki on January 20, 2011, 15:55 GMT

    Viru and Sachin have been highly underutilized as spinners. Both have elegant run-ups to the crease and good variations. Wonder why Dhoni doesn't use them more frequently.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on January 20, 2011, 16:12 GMT

    "Harbhajan is bowling as well as he has in his career".... erm no. I think Dhoni seems to be forgetting the first half of Harbhajans career when he was a true wicket taking match winner. But then again Dhoni also seems to be forget when he is tired or fatigued, even when others tell him to take a rest, until after his team gets knocked out of competitions early aka Last two T20 World Cups and Champions Trophy, then the excuses come out.

  • on January 20, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    i think DHONI Himself Satisfied with the team's Bowling Performance, But They should Concentrate on Batting for the next two games ,

  • Nampally on January 20, 2011, 16:16 GMT

    Yes, Harbhajan has bowled a very tidy length to contain the SA batsmen. But without Kallis in the side, there is no sheet anchor to their batting. Also Kallis plays spin very well. So this has partly let Harbhajan settle. While Dhoni has praised spin, it is amazing that he has gone in with Nehra who was mainlky instrumental in the loss of the first ODI by bowling @ 10 runs/over.He was poor in the second & third ODI's too bowling at 7 runs/over.Nehra negated most of Harbhajan's economy. Since SA is weak against spin, Dhoni could easily have gone in with Ashwin, Ojha or Chawla instead of Nehra, all in the squad. It would have given these youngsters much needed experience. Ashwin & Chawla are in the World cup squad too.Are they in the squad just to warm the benches. Part time spinners are good but someone like Ashwin would have been a tremendous foil for Harbhajan by taking wkts. at the other end - no relief from facing spin.It looks like Nehra will play in the 4th ODI too.

  • on January 20, 2011, 16:24 GMT

    yup m.s is tru..... bhajji really showing wat kind of bowler he is.... his form is at the peak... very economical...... anybody commenting on this ...(please never compare him with SO CALLED SPINNER BOTHA)... hes really making smith his bunny... zak and bhajji may fight for bunny (smith) watch out!!!!!

  • Chetan007 on January 20, 2011, 17:11 GMT

    It was good to give viru and Sachin more concentration on their batting then for balling. Of course they can came handy with the ball. For the world cup they must be tried if other part timers were not good enough in any game they played. Moreover, India need a good start. Sachin must practice hard before the start of world cup since he has played only 2 odi after 11 months which is a long period. This hampers the mind set and the strick rate of a player.It is good to see Bhajji coming good these days but he should concentrate more with ball and try to get more wickets with good economy

  • Nitish87 on January 20, 2011, 17:23 GMT

    Since Sehwag and Sachin are openers,the onus of playing a long innings is in der hands nd since dey are in latter part of der career it would be incorrect to consider dem as bowling options..but yes if dey were in der 20s as some of out younger players they surely would have been given da oppurtunity to bowl....but sehwag could bowl in test matches to break partnerships....

  • gerardpereira20 on January 20, 2011, 17:25 GMT

    Strange as it may seem Indias's second eleven might be better than the first. For all the hype neither Shewag or Gambhir are great ODI players although Gambhir played well against a poor New Zealand. Had it not been for Tendulkar going home Pathan might still be in th pavilion twidling his thumbs. Question marks against Raina's temperment still persist and Vijay is wasteing his time playing ODIs.

  • on January 20, 2011, 17:31 GMT

    Yes, Vipul Patki... They have rarely been used as part time bowlers. But the main culprit is their fitness. Most of the time they are injured.

    Dhoni would have used Sehwag against SA in both the tests but his shoulder was having problem.

  • on January 20, 2011, 17:42 GMT

    @vipulpatki:the reason is simple INJURY!!! DHONI cant risk asking 37 year old sachin and the injury prone sehwag to do the part-time bowling !