Indian players following Sachin Tendulkar's footsteps: Brian Lara
West Indies batting legend Brian Lara is impressed with Indian Cricket Team’s “all-round” performance in their first two World Cup matches. He feels that Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men need to keep up their good work in all three departments of the game if they intend to defend the title.
India defeated Pakistan by 76 runs in their opening match of the tournament and registered an emphatic 130-win over tournament favourites South Africa. And like others, Lara too feels India in all likelihood will go as table toppers into the next round.
"Most definitely (India likely to top Group B). India is playing great cricket. The combination of their efforts on the field, with the bat and the ball. Somewhere down the line you find an Indian team suffering in one discipline of the game but right now their batting is great, their bowlers are doing what is necessary to win the games and the Indian fielding over the last few years has also improved, they are now on a different level.
"They are playing very good cricket under the leadership of captain (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni. Their all-round game is what is impressive and that's what they need to keep doing to win the World Cup," Lara told NDTV.
Thanks to Sachin, India performs better on overseas conditions: Lara
Lara also feels that India now, are better equipped to tackle the tough overseas conditions and credited cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar, for showing the current lot of Indian cricketers on how to fight and score runs on tough conditions.
"In these conditions India many many years ago had problems. But their cricketers have grown out of that and I believe that's simply because of what Sachin Tendulkar has done to Indian cricket in terms of showing the fight and strength needed to play on any surface.” Lara added that,
"The players are now following in his footsteps. The likes of (Ajinkya) Rahane, (Shikhar) Dhawan, (Virat) Kohli and skipper Dhoni all these guys are now accustomed to play in these tough conditions, bouncy pitches and I expect the Indian team to continue the way they are playing at present,"
Lara also closely follows West Indies performance in the World Cup and feels Chris Gayle's return to form is a blessing in disguise for the national side, who will be facing tough clashes against South Africa and India. Asked whether West Indies opponents now should feel scared after Gayle knock today, Lara said:
"Very much so. Chris played very well. I felt he was a bit conservative in his first 100, scored it in more than a run-a-ball. But he took off after that and was great to watch. Marlon Samuels also played a very supportive role. It is great for West Indies team at present.”
“Their morale must be high now after the victories against Pakistan and Zimbabwe. They have two very tough games coming up against South Africa and India. But Chris Gayle in form can always be a danger."