T20 World Cup: Horses for courses in Caribbean for India?

While India are expected to play three spinners, pacers have done well too in the West Indies.
India's skipper Rohit Sharma with coach Rahul Dravid.
India's skipper Rohit Sharma with coach Rahul Dravid.Photo | PTI

CHENNAI: Ever since Rohit Sharma landed in the United States, one question has followed the Indian captain. When will India play four spinners as he wanted as many in the squad?

To be fair, the conditions in New York were such that there was no way India were going to field more than two spinners. Rohit has reiterated as much and even explained how things might change as their campaign moves to the West Indies.

On Thursday, India will begin their Super 8s campaign and the question once again comes back. Is this time for Rohit and head coach Rahul Dravid to play an extra spinner apart from Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel? And if they do, Kuldeep Yadav could likely come in for Mohammed Siraj, with Arshdeep Singh's variety and form keeping him in the XI.

However, nothing is certain as of now. And the numbers in the West Indies too do not paint a clear picture. In all the league games played in the Caribbean, pacers seemed to have outperformed spinners so far. Off the 287 wickets that were taken by bowlers in West Indies, 181 belong to pacers with Afghanistan's Fazalhaq Farooqi (12) leading the tally.

Meanwhile, spinners have taken 106 wickets with Akeal Hosein (9) at the top. Teams have resorted to 322 overs of spin while bowling 461.2 overs of pace. As far as economy is concerned, there is not much of a difference, with spinners (6.6 runs per over) slightly edging the pacers (6.8 RPO).
That being said, one look at the top five spinners so far, there is a clear pattern.

All of them take the ball away from the right-hander (Hosein, Adam Zampa, Gudakesh Motie, Adil Rashid and Kushal Bhurtel) and India already have two of them in their playing XI. They also have Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal waiting. The other factor that comes in is the timing of the matches. A lot of West Indies matches have either been afternoon or evening games so far. Farooqi, for example, has played all evening games in the group stages and has moved the ball under the lights. Against India, they will be taking the field in the morning, which will pose a different challenge.

For Rohit, it all might come down to picking the right combination on the day. "They have the team, they have the spinners who are very experienced and have fast bowlers too. Horses for courses would be a challenge because they have everything in them. It is a question of whether they pick the right teams when it matters most," said Bharat Arun, former India bowling coach.

Indeed. Whether they do it right or not, we will have the answer on Thursday.

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