Santhakumaran Sreesanth has been called up as a late replacement for India’s World Cup squad and his ability to bowl at the death of an innings could be a useful asset for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Praveen Kumar was initially selected in India’s 15-man party but his failure to significantly recover from an elbow injury has seen his withdrawal from the squad.
India are the 3/1 favourites in the Cricket World Cup betting and the loss of Kumar’s ability to swing the ball in both directions could be seen by some as a negative to their chances.
But the added pace provided by Sreesanth could ensure the Indian bowling attack is more flexible, with his ability to gain some reverse swing a big asset in the final overs when the opposition will be on the attack looking for quick runs.
Meanwhile, Sreesanth also has an impressive yorker in his arsenal, which could not only prevent late boundaries in an innings, but also be the catalyst for some wickets.
If Sreesanth does manage to secure a regular starting spot in the India team, the fact he will be utilised in the later overs will boost his chances of picking up wickets, although the greater number of boundaries may also make his bowling figures more expensive.
Sreesanth is 7/1 to be India’s top wicket taker, but with a host of bowling options open to Dhoni, the safer option may be to settle for Zaheer Khan, who is 5/2 and almost certain to bowl his full quota of ten overs in each match.
Spin bowling may also be key on the Indian pitches and there are fewer greater exponents of turning conditions than Harbhajan Singh.
He is 2/1 to finish the tournament as India’s top wicket taker.
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