India are on top of ICC World Twenty20 Group 2 table after consecutive wins against Pakistan and defending champions West Indies. These wins have come after some disciplined bowling performances. Where the spinners rose to the occasion in the much-hyped tournament opener against Pakistan, it was the new-ball bowling that stifled the West Indian big hitters on Sunday. India scored a comprehensive seven-wicket win for their first time against the Caribbeans in the World T20 history. (India vs West Indies highlights)
Indian bowling, which was touted as the major weak link going into the tournament, has suddenly become a force in the spin-friendly conditions in Bangladesh. What has made the difference? Experts feel the inclusion of leg-spinner Amit Mishra has done the trick. (Dropped catches take sheen off India's solid show)
Since coming back into reckoning to the Indian limited-overs side last July, Mishra has had just one bad game against Australia when he went wicket-less for 78 runs in a high-scoring game at Nagpur in October. The 31-year-old's recent performance in limited overs games has shown that he is almost certain to take a wicket in each game. In the last nine months, Mishra has taken 25 international wickets in 10 games (8 ODIs, 2 T20Is), including 18 wickets in a 5-ODI series in Zimbabwe.
"One big difference has been the inclusion of Amit Mishra. He brings a lot of colour to the Indian bowling attack. He is a leg-spinner who gets the ball to turn and bowls at much slower pace than anyone else in the attack. His bowling speeds are late 70s-early 80s kmph, which is a lot slower and that has made a huge difference," former India batting great Sunil Gavaskar told NDTV after India thrashed West Indies on Sunday night in Mirpur, Dhaka.
Indian bowlers had been under the pump on the tours of South Africa and New Zealand but in the sub-continent, the way the bowlers have utilized the conducive conditions has impressed Gavaskar.
"Pitches were different in South Africa and New Zealand. There was nothing there for the Indian spinners. Here there is fair bit of turn, even in the 40th over, you saw Marlon Samuels turning the ball. So here the Indian spinners have exploited the conditions to the best of their abilities. If you get a turning pitch, you don't need to try out variations, just bowling on line and length will work for you. To their credit, that's what the Indian bowlers have done," Gavaskar said.
Former India wicket-keeper batsman Farokh Engineer was all praise for new-ball bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who ended with record economical figures of 3-0-3-0 in T20Is.
"The way Bhuvneshwar swung the ball, he never allowed Chris Gayle to get away. Bhuvneshwar was the weak-link in the attack. But now the Indian bowlers are on a roll and with the batsmen in such form, they are playing like a champion team," Engineer said.