Sachin Tendulkar backs Virat Kohli to star at the World Cup
Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar has backed defending World Cup champions India to be one of the semifinalists of the upcoming 2015 World Cup Down Under. The 41-year-old also named New Zealand, South Africa and Australia as the other three teams who will progress through to the final four.
Speaking about Virat Kohli, meanwhile, Tendulkar said that the 26-year-old is quick to grasp the conditions on offer and adjusts his game accordingly extremely well, backing the Delhi batsman to shine during the marquee event.
"I think Virat Kohli is brilliant, his biggest strength is that he analyzes the situation very well and also analyzes the conditions, the pitch, the surface that he is going to bat on. He picks that very quickly, and then he is sure about when he's going to collect his runs and how he's going to collect his runs,” he said.
Pakistan’s bowling lacks consistency: Tendulkar
Tendulkar further said that skipper MS Dhoni will be the most important batsman in the Indian line-up at the mega event, adding that his ability to remain calm in pressure situations will come in handy in the tournament. He also added that the team can't depend upon a single individual to deliver at all times and everybody’s contribution is necessary.
“Yes, I think MS Dhoni is the guy because he has the experience of competing at this level for close to 10 years and he is calm and composed. You know, even on the biggest of the stages he is calm and composed and that is what you expect from a leader,” the 2011 World Cup winner said.
"A leader should not panic, a quality which he has, and you know it's equally important for a captain to be in a good form also to take his team forward, only one individual cannot make you win the trophy. You need the support of the entire team,” he added.
When asked about India’s opening encounter against Pakistan, he said that while Pakistan’s bowling attack does possess great ability, they lack the consistency to deliver on a regular basis.
"See, with time things change and so will the teams. I remember when we played in 2003 against Pakistan at Centurion, the bowling attack has Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Waqar Younis, Abdul Razzak, Shahid Afridi, I mean, leading attack in the world I would say.
"They definitely don't have an attack of that calibre but that does not mean newer lot cannot deliver, they can still deliver but you know they lack that substance. I think Mohammad Irfan is one bowler who can consistently bowl well in Australia and New Zealand. The rest of the guys, there are a few guys. Wahab Riaz can bowl, but I feel they might lack consistency," Tendulkar, who participated in 6 World Cups, said.
New Zealand could win maiden World Cup title: Tendulkar
The batting maestro further said that this could be New Zealand’s best chance to cross the hurdle and win their maiden World Cup title. He also showered praises on Australian batsman Steve Smith, calling his energy infectious and added that he could well be one of the standout players at the quadrennial event.
"New Zealand is very close to them. I think New Zealand is another underrated team but they are a strong side, they have a decent bowling attack and all of them can bat.
"Well, four months ago nobody would have said that Steve Smith is going to perform so well in test cricket, one-day cricket and T-20. He was always a dangerous player especially T20, but Test cricket also he has shown tremendous and leadership qualities. That makes him a strong contender to be one of the top players of the world cup.
"He is energetic, he is vibrant and his energy is infectious. The way he led the Australian team in the Test series and also played well in the one-day series this is something that one needs to take notice of,” Tendulkar concluded.