Current Indian attack best in the last 60-70 years: Prasanna

India’s seven-pronged bowling unit has five pacers with four quicks capable of bowling at express pace, and Erappali Prasanna reckons that is reason enough for captain Virat Kohli to field five bowlers in the playing XI.

Erappali Prasanna: “(Ravichandran) Ashwin is an automatic selection in this case. He is good with the bat as well."   -  AFP

Once part of one of the finest spin attacks to have graced the game, legendary off-spinner 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 capable of bowling at express pace, and Prasanna reckons that is reason enough for captain Virat Kohli to go in with five bowlers in the playing XI.

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'Five bowlers a must'

“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  on Wednesday.

That said, India is 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.

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Ashwin an automatic choice

“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 has picked five specialist pacers in the squad - debutant Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

READ: Bumrah can be good choice for 1st Test: Nehra

Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are the two spinners in the squad 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.

READ: Dhawan fit for first Test, Jadeja down with viral “illness”

India in with a chance

Refusing to draw comparisons between India and the host, Prasanna said the visitor has a great chance of winning its maiden 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.