The class of 2011 overlooked, former captain and chief selector Chandu Borde says India’s fortune in the upcoming cricket World Cup will largely depend on the way their experienced skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni leads the bunch, which is a mix of youth and experience.
The defending champions head into the 2015 World Cup without Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Gautam Gambhir, all of whom played their part in the 2011 triumph and of course the retired Sachin Tendulkar.
The current team is not short on talent but only four players were part of the previous edition.
“I won’t say our team is not experienced, it’s a mixture of both youth and experience but in these kind of World Cup matches and in these situations, the captain plays a very crucial role. Our captain has got vast experience, he is very cool headed and knows how to keep the players encouraged. I tell that will be key,” Borde said.
The 80 year old Borde, one of the two surviving members of the selection panel that picked the 1983 World Cup triumphant squad, wants Virat Kohli to bat as much as possible in the quadrennial tournament, starting February 14.
“If Kohli can bat as many overs as possible, it will be beneficial to the team. Depending on the situation, either Kohli or (Ajinkya) Rahane can use the number 3 and 4 slots. Kohli can bat at number 3 if India are in a good position or else it can be Rahane,” Borde, who had worn many hats during his association with cricket, said.
As far as the opening combination was concerned, he preferred to wait till the team’s warm-up game against Australia.
“We will have to see in the warm-up games before deciding on the opening combination. Rohit Sharma is certainly there if he is fit and as far as Shikhar Dhawan is concerned, he has to score in the trial match.”
Borde stressed on the importance of having a 100 per cent fit squad at disposal in a tournament like the World Cup.
“The most important thing is match fitness and physical fitness, unless you see the matches you can’t gauge the fitness level of the players. It’s very important to find out if they are match fit or not, we need players who are 100 per cent fit.
“As for selecting the playing XI, depending on the wicket we should decide whether to play three medium pacers or two spinners. Two pacers should be regular ones and one who can bat and bowl, someone like (Stuart) Binny can be useful as an all rounder,” he said.
Borde is comfortable about the batting line-up but expressed his concerns when asked about the bowing attack.
“Bowling, unfortunately, is a worry and Ishant is also not fit. We have (Umesh) Yadav and (Mohammad) Shami is a good bowler.”
He further added: “As long as these bowlers strike a chord, it will be very challenging for the (opposition) batsmen to get the runs. Our line-up is good enough to get the runs.”
Asked about his take on India’s chances in the tournament, he said, “We need an absolutely fit bowling line-up, their performance in recent times was not as per expectations. It will also depend on the batting and good fielding is also very crucial.
“If we remember the 1983 World Cup (final against the West Indies), it was Kapil (Dev’s) catch that made the difference in the end.
“I also want to say that the gameplan has to be complemented by performance, the players must try to concentrate on that. If all goes as per the plan, we can be one of the candidates for the title.”