Cricket

‘Bowling is going to play a very big role in this World Cup’

Rahul Dravid has said the presence of wicket-taking bowlers in India’s line-up will greatly benefit them in the middle overs of what is expected to be a high-scoring World Cup.

“I believe, having experienced some of the conditions in England last year with the A-team tour, it would be a high-scoring World Cup,” Dravid, the former India captain who now coaches the A team and Under-19s, said. “And in a high-scoring World Cup, having bowlers who can take wickets in the middle will be very important. I think India is lucky in that regard.”

He added: “People like (Jasprit) Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal… (India 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.”

India played their last international on March 13, after which the IPL kicked off. While the loss in that five-match series to Australia at home was unexpected, India have done well in ODIs over the last year, scripting a series win in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Dravid took into considerations these victories while talking about India’s prospects at the 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 (in ODIs) 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 in 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.

“Bowling is going to play a very big role in this World Cup and the team that bowls best, probably, will be closer to winning it.”

Dravid showered praise on 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 [49] 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 [eight] 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 a disappointing tour of England in 2014, he wasn’t as successful in Australia first time around, but every time he goes back, he goes back as a better player. He sort of reinvents his game to a point where he is constantly improving.”

Dravid also had words of praise for World-Cup winning captain MS Dhoni. “The beauty about MS is that he plays these big tournaments and these big matches… he plays them and they mean a lot (but) – I tell the 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 (but) 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.”

Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1184803.html?CMP=OTC-RSS

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