Balanced India will make semis but need some luck after that

Balanced India will make semis but need some luck after thatIndia’s 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev during a promotional event in New Delhi on Wednesday
Highlights

“After watching the T20 game you don’t know who is the opener or who is number 4. It is very difficult to pick a person, it depends on the mind-set of the player. Dhoni went before Yuvraj (Singh) in Mumbai (2011 World Cup final). In the last 10 years, cricket has changed. Nowadays apart from the openers, anyone can play at the number four spot,” he said

New Delhi (PTI): The legendary Kapil Dev on Wednesday said India will have no trouble in making the World Cup semifinals given the "balanced" line-up, which features an "unmatchable" duo in Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but will need some luck to progress beyond that.

The World Cup, which begins on May 30 in the UK, will see all 10 participating nations face each other in a round-robin format.

India's 15-member squad boasts of experienced players like Dhoni, Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Shikhar Dhawan along with in-form youngsters such as Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav.

"India has a great combination of youth and experience. In a way they are more experienced than the other teams. They have the right balance -- four fast bowlers, three spinners and they have Virat Kohli and Dhoni," Kapil, the 1983 World Cup-winning captain, told reporters at a promotional event Wednesday.

"Dhoni and Kohli have done extremely well for India. Both of them are unmatchable," he added. The legendary all-rounder also hailed India's pace attack and said it will deliver in the English conditions.

"The four fast bowlers we have are fantastic, they are very good. I think the English conditions will help them swing the ball. Then players like Shami and Bumrah can bowl 145kmph, have swing and pace," he said.

Kapil, who has also coached the Indian team in 1999-2000, predicted that the 'Men in Blue' will reach the semifinals alongside hosts England and defending champions Australia.

"I think India will definitely finish in the top four. After that it will be really difficult. After the semifinals, stroke of luck alongside personal and team performance will determine who goes forward," he said.

"England, Australia and India are the top three teams. These teams have more strength than the others. New Zealand or West Indies can emerge as the surprise package," he said.

A lot of debate has been going on regarding who will play at the crucial number four spot but Kapil said it will boil down to the mindset of the players as the position can be taken by anyone other than the openers.

"After watching the T20 games you don't know who is the opener or who is number 4. It is very difficult to pick a person, it depends on the mind set of the player," said Kapil.

"Dhoni went before Yuvraj (Singh) in Mumbai (2011 World Cup final). In the last 10 years cricket has changed. Nowadays apart from the openers, anyone can play at the number four spot," he said.

Shankar was chosen ahead of Ambati Rayudu by the selectors in April for the World Cup as chairman of selectors M.S.K. Prasad had said that Shankar provides a "three dimensional" option due to his ability with the ball.

Moving forward, the former captain was asked about his opinion on the chemistry between India captain Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni. Kapil said that while the pair have been successful, any chemistry would come naturally because they are playing for their country.

"It looks like they have done extremely well which is great for India. As far as chemistry goes, all the players should understand that they are playing for their country and so no other thought should come in their heads. It's not a husband-wife relation that you need a chemistry. You are playing under the flag of the country," said Kapil.

Asked about Pandya, who has often been compared to Kapil himself, the 60-year-old former captain said the youngster should be left alone to play his natural game.

"You should not put pressure on Hardik Pandya. He has enough talent, let him play his natural game. I don't like anybody being compared to anyone because that puts pressure on that player."

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