8:49 am - Friday November 6, 2015

World Cup 2015: Sourav Ganguly pleasantly surprised by India’s performance

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HAMILTON: The surprise package in this World Cup has been the Indian bowling. Nobody gave this attack a chance going into the tournament, especially after the poor show in the ODIs last year and the tri-series in Australia.

But all that has turned around in the last four games and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly is pleasantly surprised.

“Honestly, it has come as a surprise to me. I didn’t expect this bowling line-up to deliver the way they have done so far,” Ganguly said in a chat with Indian journalists at the City Centre on Sunday evening.

While the speeds of 145 kmph that the likes of Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami have consistently been hitting, has impressed Ganguly, the accuracy of Mohit Sharma too was praised by the former captain.

“The Indian bowlers have surpassed everyone’s expectations. Shami has been consistent and Umesh has worked up great pace. Mohit, too, has surprised me, he has improved with each match and is making the team look all the more powerful,” he said.

India’s four wins in a row had made people sit up and take note of the team. There are also comparisons with this team and Ganguly’s own 2003 side that won eight games in a row to make the final. Ganguly, though, didn’t want to go into a comparison.

“The way these guys are playing, I won’t be surprised if they go on to win the World Cup. But I don’t think you can compare eras, the 2003 team was good, and so is this one.”
Among the batsmen, Shikhar Dhawan has caught Ganguly’s eye. The former left-hander was impressed with the way Dhawan has shaped up in the tournament after a year-long struggle.

“He doesn’t have to play Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc everyday. That has probably decreased the mental pressure and he is going about his job with an uncluttered mind,” Ganguly analysed.

The other teams, too, came up for discussion and Ganguly was all praise for the Pakistan team that beat South Africa on Saturday to make the group interesting. But he felt the South Africans have a serious problem with their bowling line-up.

“They have great bowlers for 30 overs (Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Kyle Abbott), but the last 20 overs is proving a problem. On Saturday, it was AB de Villiers, JP Duminy and Imran Tahir bowling 20 overs. AB is a fantastic batsman but no bowler.

If they have to do well in this World Cup, the Proteas have to address this area,” he said.

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