India’s success in Sri Lanka depends on bowlers : Kiran More

By Agency

Indian batsmen did pretty well in the Test series Down Under last year. Virat Kohli led the way with solid support from opener Murali Vijay and performances from youngsters like KL Rahul, who hit a century in his second Test, always kept Australia on their toes. However, the bowlers couldn't match the heroics of the batsmen, and that's what, feels former India wicketkeeper Kiran More, should worry Kohli the most in Sri Lanka.
"It is really tough to beat Sri Lanka in their backyard. We should not forget, India have struggled on Sri Lankan pitches," More told Cricketnext as India get set to kick-off the tour with a three-day warm-up game from August 6 to 8 before the first Test from August 12.
More feels India don't have much to worry about their batting in the subcontinent. It's their bowling and taking 20 wickets in the match that holds the key to their success.
"To me, the batting looks really solid. It is the bowlers who have to do the task. If bowlers do well, India can win the series. Bowlers are going to be the key for Kohli," he said.
"Our fast bowling department needs to click. I am sure the spinners will do well. We have [Amit] Mishra, [Ravichandran] Ashwin and the experienced Harbhajan [Singh]. The trio will relish the Sri Lankan conditions and can do wonders for India this time," the former chief selector added.
India haven't won a Test series in Sri Lanka since 1993, and 22 win less years is a long time considering the pitches in Sri Lanka are quite similar to those in India. But More feels Sri Lanka are a bit down at the moment having lost to Pakistan, which gives India a fair chance to break the jinx.
"Sri Lanka at home are very dangerous. It is tough to beat in their own den. But Pakistan recently outplayed them. They are not in good form. India can benefit from it," More said.
The tour will also be the first fair test of Kohli's captaincy since he hasn't had a chance to captain the team in a full Test series. But the ex-stumper said it's not fair to judge a new captain so soon.
"It is too early to judge Kohli. We should give him time and I am sure he will show us the results. This will be second tour for him [as Test captain] and the first major one. It will be interesting to see how he leads India in a three-Test series. Kohli must have a plan in his mind," said More.
When asked specifically about spinners, More said if he were the captain, he would go in with R Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh as his two specialist spinners in the eleven.
"Ashwin and Harbhajan should be given priority ahead of Amit Mishra. A big reason [for playing two offspinners] is that most of the Sri Lankan batsmen are left-handers and it will be good to have an offspinner bowling at them all the time.
And More admitted that Harbhajan will be under pressure to perform.
"Harbhajan is an experienced player and one of the best offspinners we ever had. Not just Harbhajan, if any cricketer would come back after a long break, a huge pressure follows him.
"Expectations are huge and he will be under pressure, but India can cash in on Harbhajan's experience. And I am sure he will play a key role for the team this time."