‘Every team that’s part of the tournament has worked its way up, has done something good and that’s the reason they are here, and we take it like that.’
India are able to breathe a bit easier after getting their T20 World Cup opener against Pakistan out of the way but bowling coach Paras Mhambrey says there is no danger of letting the intensity drop for their Super 12 match against the Netherlands.
The tournament’s most anticipated match-up between arch-rivals India and Pakistan lived up to its billing on Sunday, delivering a thriller which India won thanks to the genius of Virat Kohli.
Mhambrey told reporters India had turned the page on that victory and were focused on Thursday’s game against the Dutch, who they will meet for the first time in this format.
“We knew the hype around it. We knew it’s always going to be a high intensity and big clash,” he said on Wednesday.
“Having such games done and dusted in the first phase itself, it’s good.
“Had it been the third or fourth game, it could have some effect on the following games.
“Having this game out of our group, it’s good.”
The Netherlands are not expected to present inaugural champions India with as many problems as Pakistan did but Mhambrey said they would not take the minnows lightly.
“Every game from here is important,” the former India bowler said.
“Every team that’s part of the tournament has worked its way up, has done something good and that’s the reason they are here, and we take it like that.”
Kohli proved his class with one of the greatest T20 knocks on Sunday but Arshdeep Singh was the unsung hero, his 3-32 including the prized wickets of Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and their batting lynchpin Mohammad Rizwan.
Mhambrey was impressed by the left-arm seamer’s ability to cope with the pressure of bowling in the powerplay and death overs.
“The composure he’s shown, the clarity of thought process that he’s shown, he’s a great kid,” Mhambrey said.
“(His) ability to handle pressure is phenomenal and I am not really surprised the way he has bowled in the first game.
“We have a lot of confidence in him, and he has a good future for us.”
Hardik Pandya bowled four solid overs against Pakistan, picking up three wickets and questions are bound to be asked if the Baroda all-rounder can be used as a fifth specialist bowler with an additional batting option in the playing XI.
“It totally depends on conditions. He gives you four-over options and has been effective for us. He brings in that balance. It depends on the team that we are playing against.”
Ravichandran Ashwin’s cricketing smarts have now been acknowledged globally and Mhambrey affirmed the view when asked what advise the coaches offer to the off-spinner.
His comment brought the house down.
“When it comes to Ashwin, it’s the other way around, he tells us. It’s just the way he is,” Mhambrey said and everyone joined in for a hearty laugh.
But the kind of respect he has in that dressing room was evident from his next comment.
“He showed presence of mind to leave that ball (while facing Mohammed Nawaz in the 20th over). Any other individual at that stage, would have thrown his bat but hey that’s Ashwin for you. Top player.”
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