Everyone seems to write off India, but they can retain World Cup: Gary Kirsten
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 17
Former India coach Gary Kirsten exuded confidence in the defending champions, asserting that they have what it takes to retain the cricket World Cup crown. “They can retain the title. Absolutely! Everyone seems to write off India but that is a very dangerous thing to do because they know how to play knockout games. They did incredibly well in 2011 and they have a good reference point there,” Kirsten, who guided India to their second World Cup crown at home four years ago, said.
“They have got a serious batting line-up. (Virat) Kohli, (Suresh) Raina, (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni are World Cup winners and know what to do in these situations. Then you have some real young talent around. Don’t discount them, they know what they are doing.”
But how will India hold on to the prized title with an inexperienced and depleted bowling attack? Pace spearhead Ishant Sharma is out of the tournament with an injury and there is a big question mark over the fitness of swing-bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Also, considering the inexperience of medium pacers Mohit Sharma and Stuart Binny, there will be pressure on spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to perform. But how much the conditions in Australia and New Zealand will suit the tweakers is another question.
“Every team has areas which will be exploited by the opposition. You have to manage that. In the 2011 World Cup there were games where India didn’t bat well or bowl well. But we were able to win games by doing something right,” said the South African, who played 101 Tests and 185 One-Day Internationals (ODI) in an international career ranging from 1993 to 2004.
“It is how well they limit the damage. Just stick to what you can do and don’t try and be something that you are not. This team has had good success. They won the 2013 Champions Trophy. They built a new squad together with a lot of young players doing really well.”
Questioned about his favourites for the ongoing 11th edition of the mega event, the former left-handed batsman said Australia, South Africa, India and New Zealand have a good chance of lifting the trophy. “World Cups are always open-ended but this time Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and India are kind of the top-four.
Also, you can never discount Pakistan. It is difficult to predict in World Cups,” said the 47-year-old, who holds the record for the highest individual score in a World Cup game when he scored an unbeaten 188 against the United Arab Emirates in 1996.
“Australia, India and South Africa have been in top-three for the last couple of years while New Zealand have come really good before this World Cup. They will play most of the games at home which will be a big factor. All these teams are in form.”
Tendulkar cautions India ahead of South Africa match
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 17
Sachin Tendulkar has cautioned the Indian cricket team to guard against complacency ahead of its Cricket World Cup game against South Africa, saying the Proteas are a far better fielding unit than Pakistan.
India started their World Cup campaign on a winning note, defeating arch-rivals Pakistan by 76 runs at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
“It won’t be so easy to pick singles. They (South Africa) are much faster, their throwing arm is more powerful and their outfielding. They cover the area much better than Pakistan,” Tendulkar told Headlines Today.
Considering their sharp fielding, Tendulkar said India need to put up a strong opening partnership and have to be careful while taking quick singles.
Defending champions India clash with one of tournament favourites South Africa in their second game in Melbourne on Sunday.
The former India captain asked the team to watch out for Proteas pace spearhead Steyn.
“Without any doubt he’s their strike bowler. He’s bowled unbelievably well.
“You can’t pre-decide how to play Steyn, he could also have a bad day, you have to decide in the moment but you have to respect Steyn, you need to be watchful upfront but take your opportunities,” Tendulkar, who has played in a record six World Cups, said.
Tendulkar backed India opener Rohit Sharma to perform after his failure in their win against Pakistan and said opening will be the key for the Men in Blue in their next game against South Africa. He was also not worried about skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s form with the bat.
Sharma managed just 15 runs in India’s 76-run win over the arch-rivals at the Adelaide Oval yesterday, but Tendulkar urged people not to put pressure on the batsman.
“Don’t put pressure on Rohit, we should not put doubt in a player’s mind. Rohit doesn’t need to worry. Next time he will get it right,” Tendulkar said.
Regarding the captain, he said, “Dhoni’s form doesn’t worry me. There can be no perfect game. The dressing room must have thought we will get 320+ runs. 300 was a fighting total, if Pakistan had played better, it could have been close as 275-300 is a normal total now.”
Tendulkar also showed faith in the team and said it can match the best in the world.
“India needs to go step-by-step and don’t think about just the quarters but take it match by match.
“We can match the likes of Australia, South Africa. We can play even better then the way we played Pakistan. Our batting can do even better and our bowling needs to continue same way. The series in Australia will help us… Playing against the top sides makes your game better.”