NEW DELHI: He was part of one of the finest spin attack ever to have graced the game but legendary Erappali Prasanna has rated the current Indian bowling group as the best in the last 60-70 years.
India's seven-pronged bowling unit has five pacers with four quicks who can regularly hit 140 clicks and that's why Prasanna wants captain Virat Kohli to play five bowlers in the first Test against South Africa.
"India have one of the best attacks in the world. In fact, I don't think the Indian teams of the past could boast of an attack like the current one. It is probably the best I have seen in the last 60-70 years," Prasanna told PTI today.
With the bowling arsenal possessed by India, Prasanna said they have all the most reason to go in with five bowlers in the playing XI.
However, India are likely to go into the series opener with three pacers and a spinner.
"I have always believed five bowlers are must if you want to win the game. The same logic which applies while picking an extra batsman, should apply on the bowlers.
"Even if you play an extra batsman, only one or two would go on to make big scores. There is a possibility if the top five fail, the sixth batsmen will fail as well," Prasanna was forthright in his assessment.
"Similarly, if you do pick five bowlers, more often than not you see one or two having an off day. And for a bowling line-up to be effective you need at least three bowlers to fire all the time. So picking a fifth bowler helps in this case," said the former off-spinner, who played 49 Tests for India taking 189 wickets.
India have picked five specialist pacers in the squad first-timer Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are the two spinners and in all probability, only one of them will feature in the first Test.
"Ashwin is an automatic selection in this case. He is good with the bat as well. I noticed during the Sri Lanka series, Jadeja was bowling like a stock bowler. He was not as effective as he used to be," said the 77-year-old.
Refusing to compare the two teams, Prasanna said India have a great chance of winning their first series in South Africa.
"It is a well-balanced side and players have a positive mindset. What I like most about this team is that they don't fear any side.
"If the batters can score 350 runs consistently in the first innings, then half the battle is won," he added.