Gautam Gambhir column: We might see a bowling revolution if India win the World Cup

So far most of the youngsters aspire to be the next Sachin Tendulkar or next Virat Kohli in India

By Gautam Gambhir

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Indian pace bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami during the match against the Netherlands. — PTI
Indian pace bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami during the match against the Netherlands. — PTI

Published: Wed 15 Nov 2023, 4:30 AM

Last updated: Thu 16 Nov 2023, 11:29 AM

I'm not too much of a fan of Italian cuisine. Maybe an odd slice of pizza, the thin crust type, just to give my daughters company. Therefore, an Italian food joint near Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium had never caught my attention.

I am more interested in the signboard right above that eatery. It doesn’t belong to the restaurant but whenever I hit the Marine Drive, I eagerly observe what the sign has to say. Trust me it has some quirky and sometimes comical messages. Back in 2011, on the eve of the World Cup finals as entire country waited with a baited breath, the signboard read, “Sshhhhhhh….”. After we beat Sri Lanka on that night of April 2nd it proudly read, “Roarrrrrrr…..”!!!

I am reliably informed that at the time of writing this article the signboard has a pretty mundane Diwali wish. But, knowing the track record of the writer, I am confident that this will change by the time India will start their semifinal contest against New Zealand later today.

At the moment I am in Delhi but by the time you read this, I will be in Mumbai for commentary commitments. I will try to keep you posted what is the latest on the writer’s mind. This team of Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid have given enough reasons for its fans to be creative.

India are definitely the favourites. As a team they are not only beating the oppositions but on more than one occasion, they have embarrassed their rivals. For me, it is the bowling unit that has shone through. They have carried the whole campaign on their shoulders. If India goes on to win the World Cup, we might see a bowling revolution taking place in our country.

So far most of the youngsters aspire to be the next Sachin Tendulkar or next Virat Kohli. I will not be surprised that post the World Cup, the cricket academies will have more queries from aspiring bowlers than aspiring batsmen. For the sake of Indian cricket, I hope I am true.

KL Rahul is very easy on the eye. He has calmness around his batting. His 102 in the last game against Netherlands reiterated a few things about him. His most productive shot was a flick off his legs fetching him two fours and two sixes.

Most of his runs came behind the wicket further underlining his wristy strokeplay and ability to commit late to his strokes. Can Rahul be defined as a 360 degree player? Why not? Plus, his strike rate of almost 160 suggests there are more gears in that car.

On the other end, Shreyas Iyer’s main currency against the Netherlands was the pull shot. Out of his 128 runs, 42 came through that stroke off short pitched bowling. Like I said in one of the earlier articles, playing short-pitched ball is not about skills or courage alone, it is also about being judicious as to which balls to play and which ones to leave. I hope Shreyas has got that happy balance now.

Make no mistake, the Kiwis will test him out today on a pitch that will have bounce and maybe some swing in the evening.

New Zealand might be able to test India. They are a very well-structured outfit. They play percentage cricket and don’t depend too much on flamboyance.

Their planning, especially while bowling and fielding, is watertight. They will come hard at India’s top 3 batters as they know that is where they can hurt India. I am a little apprehensive if India bats second, under lights with a sea breeze lurking around.

There is a good chance of more bowler-friendly conditions in that phase of the game. I hope that the Indian batsmen can counter that time of the day well.

If they are able to do that then the writer of the signboard will be a busy man after the game finishes. (Gameplan/Dinesh Chopra Media)

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