x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Piyush Chawla gives India selectors welcome headache

A surprise inclusion for the World Cup, the 22-year-old leg-spinner's four-wicket haul against Australia puts him in contention for India's XI.

BANGALORE, India // MS Dhoni, the India captain, says he will face a welcome problem when it comes to selecting his spin bowlers for the World Cup after they skittled out Australia in a warm-up match.

Dhoni said his team have immense talent and "it's a bit of headache who to play and who not to play" after seeing his spin attack bowl out Australia for 176, after Ricky Ponting's side had reached 118 for one at one stage in Sunday's match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Piyush Chawla, the leg-spinner, was the standout performer, taking four for 31 in a 38-run win over the three-time defending champions on a pitch that aided turn.

Chawla was picked as the third spinner behind the off-spinners Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin in India's 15-man squad.

Harbhajan also bowled well in the closing stages to finish with three for 15 while Ashwin played a good support role.

"Chawla turns the ball well ... and is consistent with line and length," Dhoni said. "As a specialist spinner he has done well in whatever games he has played… you can't really rate a player by just one performance."

Dhoni also has the option of using the hard-hitting batsmen Yusuf Pathan, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag, and even Chawla conceded that he had a chance only if a pitch was expected to help spinners.

"We have a few good spinners in the squad but if the pitch is slow and offers some turn, I will have a good chance to make it," said the 22-year-old, who returned to the national squad after more than two years. Chawla has played just one one-day international over the past two years, but his performance earned him accolades from Ponting, the Australia captain.

"That is probably the best I've seen him bowl," Ponting said. "His control was pretty good."

Dhoni said the Bangalore pitch was not ideal for one-day cricket.

"It was a tough wicket to bat on. Initially, the ball was coming on to the bat when the pacers were bowling, but then it started to spin big. It was a dream wicket for Test cricket."

Ponting was not impressed either, saying: "This one looked a bit under-prepared. Both teams lost constant wickets and it spun a lot in the second innings. Maybe they wanted to keep it nice and grassy for the tournament."

India, the co-hosts, take on New Zealand in a practice game at Chennai tomorrow, before starting their campaign against Bangladesh on February 19.