Don't take India lightly at the World Cup: Sourav Ganguly
Former Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly, said that he was not too surprised with India’s 15-man World Cup squad which was announced on the 6th of January. Ganguly, who had chosen a similar side except for Stuart Binny and Akshar Patel, was happy with the squad and thinks India has a good chance of defending their trophy.
“I am a fan of specialists”
Dada, as Ganguly is fondly known, said, “I had Murali Vijay along with Dhawal Kulkarni in my squad and the reason I had Murali Vijay, was based on his form in Australia.
“I am a bit of a fan of specialists and that is why I had Vijay and Kulkarni in the squad, but I quietly agree with the selection (for the World Cup).
“Akshar Patel is the third spinner. I think it (Patel’s inclusion) is a bit of a cover-up for Ravindra Jadeja, who’s suffering from a bit of a shoulder strain.
“I think India will go in the World Cup with two spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja, who is a bit of an all-rounder. So is Akshar Patel, but Jadeja is a better batsman.”
Ganguly heaped praise on Akshar Patel and said that his performances in the series against West Indies, Sri Lanka and the IPL would have forced the selectors to include him in the squad. He said that Patel is a big-match player and has big-match temperament which will help India at the World Cup.
“I would have gone with 5 fast bowlers”
Ganguly revealed that he was confused between Kulkarni and Binny. He said, “Looking at the way the Indian bowlers bowled in Australia and then it’ll be the tri-series and the World Cup, for bowlers like Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, it is going to be a long hard four months.
“I was a little worried about their fitness and that’s the reason I included 5 fast bowlers in case there is an injury or a niggle, you have a replacement.
“The selectors have a reason to go for Stuart Binny, who has played in New Zealand. Binny is that sort of a bowler whose bowling will come good in those conditions with the ball swinging in the air and a bit of a seam movement. He can bat lower down the order, probably at number 8.”
Dada confirmed that despite the exclusion of Murali Vijay, the Indian batting has options in opening as Rohit Sharma can open the innings as well alongside Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane can bat in the middle-order.
“Over and all I think it is a good selection. I think it is a well-balanced side. The selectors have gone for performance and I am very happy with the contingent that will stay in Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup.”
Ganguly also thinks India do not lack in the fielding department with 6 to 7 of the players in the starting XI being very good on the field.
He said, "It’s a very good fielding side as well with Sharma, Kohli, Dhawan, Rahane, Jadeja and Suresh Raina. Six to seven of the players in the top eleven are very good on the field and that will always be a plus in these big grounds at the World Cup.”
“India is a much better one-day side in overseas conditions”
Ganguly said that people shouldn’t be disheartened by India’s poor performance in the Test series.
He said, “I’ve always believed India is a much better one-day side than a Test side in overseas conditions. So, all those who have been disappointed, like me, with the performance away from home overseas in the Test format do not need to be disheartened because I think India will perform a lot better in the one-day series.
“My only wish is they go completely fit to the World Cup starting on 14th of February. If they go with the squad which they have picked, I think they will be a serious contender.
“I don’t know if they’ll win because it is very hard to predict the winner of the World Cup specially in conditions like Australia and New Zealand, where teams like Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, England will have an equal chance because once the ball stops spinning the teams away from the subcontinent become very dangerous one-day sides as well.
“But don’t under-estimate India because this is a serious one-day side and they have as much a chance as anyone at the World Cup.”