India managing well even without Zaheer: Srinath

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Javagal Srinath believes India's bowling is still good enough to take 20 Australian wickets in the ongoing second Test at Sydney.

Updated: January 07, 2008 09:59 IST
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New Delhi:

Zaheer Khan's injury may have taken some teeth off the pace attack but former pacer Javagal Srinath believes India's bowling is still good enough to take 20 Australian wickets in the ongoing second Test at Sydney.

Srinath said the Australian batting order tended to crumble in both Tests so far and the Indian attack, despite missing some key pacers due to injuries, was potent enough to decimate them.

"Oh yes, I think the attack has shown what it is capable of," Srinath told reporters in Delhi on Thursday.

"RP Singh has graduated to be a different bowler altogether. Ishant (Sharma) also bowled well but I think he needs luck. Besides, you have two seasoned spinners in Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble.

"Harbhajan is back among wickets and I don't see any difficulty in getting the wickets," Srinath said.

"RP looked lackadaisical in Melbourne, which was understandable since he was coming back after a lay-off.

"But he has done really well in Sydney, while Ishant too was running in well. He looks a good prospect and I think in two years he will be bowling around 140-145 kmph," he said.

Disappointed with recurrent breaking down of pacers, Srinath seemed less than impressed with Team India physio John Gloster, who recently rued the absence of a proper rehabilitation programme for injured players.

"Why they are breaking down so often is something the physio can answer better. I can understand his frustration but as the physio, he himself should be setting the standard.

"I think you should not wait for injury before starting to take care of the players," he said.

India left for Australia sans S Sreesanth, who injured his shoulder, and the injury-prone Munaf Patel, who was conspicuously absent in Mumbai's last Ranji Trophy match.

"I'm not aware about Munaf's recent problems. But he still is one of the fastest bowlers in the country and can be quite a handful," Srinath said.

India's depleted attack was further weakened with Zaheer returning home with a heel injury, prompting BCCI to rush in VRV Singh as replacement and Srinath advised the Punjab pacer to grab the opportunity with both hands.

He seemed equally impressed by Pankaj Singh and said the Rajasthan player would also come good given the opportunity.

On Zaheer, Srinath felt too much of cricket had taken its toll on the left-arm seamer's body but hoped he would return to action soon.

"His injury is not a good sign and I hope it's not something very serious.

"I think he has bowled some 500 overs in six months of county cricket and since the UK tour, he has been playing consistently.

"International cricket requires that extra effort from your body and I'm afraid ankle injuries are the worst kind of injuries. That is indeed an area of concern," he said.

TA Sekar, chief coach at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai, asked BCCI to set up back-up support to tackle pacers' injuries.

"Most of the injuries stem from faulty technique and it's not possible for the bowling coach alone to handle it. BCCI should follow Australia, South Africa and England and put in place such a team," he said.

"Bucknor should not be criticised"

To err is human and umpire Steve Bucknor, under-attack for his howlers in the ongoing second India-Australia Test, should be spared the criticism, said former pacer Javagal Srinath.

Bucknor's erroneous judgement threatens to influence the outcome of the second Test after the Jamaican ruled Andrew Symonds not out even after the batsman had edged Ishant Sharma to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni while batting on 30.

The right-hander went on to make a career-best 162 not out and pulled Australia out of the woods after the hosts had slumped to 134 for six at one stage.

Himself an ICC Match Referee, Srinath jumped to Bucknor's defence and said, "You can't really stop it. I can tell you that no one wants to make a mistake. Since India were at the receving end, I think we are getting so harsh on him.

"You get some good decisions some times and some times you get bad decisions. It was one of those days," he said.

The former India pacer, however, criticised the Australian media for ridiculing the fielding of the Indian team.

"I can tell you that the Australian media is very hostile but I can assure them that the Test is still very much open."

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