'One player's absence won't make much of a difference'

Kolkata, Feb 13: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly does not think Indian bowling would lack any bite in absence of seniormost speedster Ishant Sharma who has been ruled out of the Cricket World Cup because of a knee injury.

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"One player's absence won't make much of a difference. The rest will also have to bowl well," said the cricketer-turned-commentator said here before flying to Australia for the ICC World Cup commencing tomorrow.

File photo of Sourav Ganguly

Ishant apparently sustained the injury during the Boxing Day Test and went on to miss the final Test of the five-match series that India lost 0-2. The bowling department has come in for a lot of flak in the difficult build up to the World Cup and Indian ace seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar also appears to be carrying some niggle in his ankle.

Citing example of Aussie skipper Michael Clarke, the 41-year-old cricketer said unlike a batsman it's difficult for a bowler to come back in shape quickly.

"I don't think Ishant hid his injury. When a player gets injured, you give him time to recover. Michael Clarke has recovered. He (Clarke) could recover because he's a batsman. He might not have, if he was a bowler. There's a difference between a batsman and bowler," said Ganguly.

Batting too is yet to click as a whole, something that became apparent in the triseries with Australia and England that followed the Test series as India lost three consecutive matches in the build-up to the mega event.

But come Sunday, Ganguly hopes, everything will fall in place for India who kick-off their title defence taking on Pakistan in a high-voltage clash.

"They will do well, let the tournament begin," said the former left-handed batsman. On the quandary over Virat Kohli's batting position, Ganguly has a simple solution. "Team management will decide that but they should ensure that Virat gets to play at least 40 overs." 

'No doubt, there's experience in the side'

Ganguly also disagreed that the Indian team was less experienced than the triumphant class of 2011.

"New players come and the seniors (eventually) go away. This is the rule of sport. But still the team has a lot of experience in Dhoni, Virat with more than 400 matches between them," he said.

"Rohit Sharma has played 120-odd matches. When I first played the World Cup in 1999, I hardly played about 60-70 matches.

"No doubt, there's experience in the side. You cannot have all the players with 300 matches, then you've to keep playing for 13-14 years," he said.

Ganguly is expected to return after doing commentary for India's first two matches against Pakistan and South Africa (February 22) and again fly back during the business end of the tournament.


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