Zaheer Khan tips India to reach semi-finals of World Cup 2015
Pace bowler Zaheer Khan believes that the Indian team has the potential to reach the final four in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup, which is to be held in Australia and New Zealand starting February 14. Zaheer picked up 21 wickets in the 2011 World Cup, the joint-highest in the edition, and was one of the main reasons behind India winning the tournament.
Confident of India making the semi-finals
In an interview with PTI Bhasha, Zaheer said: "(The) World Cup is a new tournament and I don't think India's performance in tri-series will affect them. They have also got a long break after that and if you see the format also, I am sure India will play the semi-finals.”
"The Indian team had a long Australia tour and played at almost every venue. This can work to their advantage."
Zaheer picked Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to join India in the semi-finals.
The left-arm pace bowler last played an one-day game for India in October 2012 and has since then been overlooked by the national selectors in limited overs cricket, as he has been struggling with his form and fitness.
‘Rohit and Kohli’s form crucial, Shami should open the bowling’
The 36-year-old stressed on the importance of Indian batsmen Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli doing well in the tournament. He said: "Rohit and Virat's form will be crucial to India's World Cup chances. Rohit will be opening the innings with Virat coming at either Nos 3 or 4 depending on the match situation. Both have the ability to bat through the innings or even play the anchor, a role necessary in such a tournament."
Indian captain MS Dhoni had opted to open the bowling with all-rounder Stuart Binny during the recently concluded tri-series in Australia. Zaheer, however, wasn’t impressed by the tactic. He said: "If you ask my suggestion, they should give the new ball to Shami, who will set the tone. The first spell will be very crucial. I will only say that taking wickets is the only key to restrict run-rates."
He concluded by saying, "We have been playing with the new rules for a while now. As far as death overs are concerned, the bowlers must think clearly. I am sure they will do well.”