Former India skipper Rahul Dravid believes that the presence of wicket-taking bowlers in the 15-member squad will greatly benefit India in the middle overs during the 2019 World Cup matches.
Alongside hosts England and defending champions Australia, India will enter the ICC event as favourites. The tournament begins on May 30 with the grand finale slated for July 14 at the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground.
“In a World Cup, I believe, having experienced some of the conditions in England last year with the A tour, it would be a high scoring World Cup. And in a high scoring WC, having bowlers who can take wickets in the middle will be very important. I think India is lucky in that regard,” Dravid said while speaking to Jatin Sapru at the Re-imagine Awards function in Mumbai on Friday.
“People like (Jasprit) Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal… (We have) got bowlers who can take wickets. Teams that are taking wickets through those middle-overs in those high scoring games have a better better chance of restricting the opposition,” he added.
India played their last one day international on March 13, after which the 12th edition of the IPL began. Though the loss in the five-match series against Australia at home came as a shock, the Men in Blue performed brilliantly in ODIs over the last few years, scripting a historic series win in South Africa. They also won the limited over series in Australia and New Zealand.
Dravid also emphasized on these victories while talking about India’s prospects in the upcoming World Cup.
“I think we have had a couple of really good years leading to the World Cup. For right reasons, we are No. 2 in the World and that actually means that we have consistently produced some successful results in the last two and half years. We can be hopeful.”
“I think it’s going to be a tough World Cup. Every team comes well prepared and wants to compete. Everyone at the World Cup will be putting their best foot forward.”
“So having said that I would say India is definitely one of the favourites into the tournament and all of us can be hopeful. Hopefully we make the semi-final and from there on there are four very good teams,” Dravid added.
Kohli setting the standards high
‘The Wall’ also showered accolades on current India captain Virat Kohli.
“Virat, you know he just keeps improving, keeps getting better. He is setting bars and standards that possibly we thought would never be achieved. Sachin (Tendulkar) scored 49-50 hundreds in one-day cricket. People thought that this would take a lot of time to achieve. Will it be ever achieved and now Virat is 10 away from it or close to it.”
“One of the things about Virat is that even if he has a bad tour, it is not that he hasn’t had bad tours, he had disappointing tour of England in 2014, he wasn’t as successful in Australia first time around, but every time he goes back again, he goes back as a better player. He sort of reinvents his game to a point where he is constantly improving,” Dravid said.
In the end, Dravid also showered praise for two-time World Cup winning captain MS Dhoni.
“The beauty about MS is that he plays these big tournaments and these big matches and that’s why he finds himself in so many of these big games, he plays them, and they mean a lot. I tell a lot of under-19 boys, he is able to find a way to play it like it doesn’t mean a lot, obviously it means a lot.”
“He is able to see a bigger picture in it and say I’m not defined by this particular game. It is a hard thing to do,” Dravid concluded.