'Our strength is batting'
Batting would be India's strength in the upcoming World Cup but Mahendra Singh Dhoni's wretched luck with the toss will also have to turn for the better if India are to break a 28-year-old jinx at the mega-event, feels 1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev.
"Our strength is batting and I feel we should depend on that and have faith. Luck also plays a part...winning the toss in every match. It will be marginally difficult if we lose the toss and the rival team posts a huge total for us to chase a target of 300 or so," said the legendary all-rounder.
"If we get to bat first and make 300 and odd runs, our bowlers could do the rest for us to win each match," he added.
Image: MS Dhoni, Gary Kirsten and Sachin Tendulkar
'On paper, India look favourites'
Though the present squad has been described as balanced by most, the lack of a genuine all-rounder has been a concern but Kapil said Dhoni as a wicket-keeper/batsman fills that slot perfectly.
"There is no such thing as even the wicket keeper is considered an all rounder. We have Dhoni as an all-rounder in the team. Hope he does well to help India win the World Cup and create history as statistics say that no host has won the Cup so far," he said.
"On paper, India look favourites without any doubt. We have so many match-winning players in our team but fielding and running between the wickets are doubtful as the team has a few weak links. Overall the team's batting is so powerful that it can keep you in good stead and wrest the initiative," Kapil said.
Image: Indian team celebrates after winning a match
Kapil said Dhoni is the strength of the team for his exceptional leadership.
"I am happy for only one thing that the captain is such important person in the team. If he gets going there is nobody to replace him," he said.
The selection of three spinners in the team has been criticised but Kapil refused to call it a case of one too many.
"There is just one extra spinner in the team besides quite a few part time bowlers and picking the playing eleven depended on the captain's point of view," he said.
On whether the intense pressure of playing at home would be a disadvantage, Kapil said, "I must say that it works both ways. People's expectations are high and go higher most often.
"The advantage is that crowd support is going to help you and cheer for you. It depends on how the team members take it," he added.
Image: MS Dhoni
'Team should enjoy themselves and play hard'
Kapil refused to comment on whether the team would miss South African coach Gary Kirsten after his stint ends at the end of the World Cup.
"I do not know because I am not with the team and I cannot answer what influence the coach had on the team's performances. The team had foreign coaches for about nine or ten years now," he said.
"I do not bother about these aspects as it is entirely the job of the Indian Cricket Board," he added.
Asked whether he has any advice to offer to the Indian team for winning the Cup, Kapil quipped, "I am not good enough to give advice but they should enjoy themselves and play hard."
Image: Ms Dhoni and Gary Kirsten
A dream come true
Looking back at the 1983 campaign, Kapil said none in the team expected to win the Cup but the belief grew with each match.
"There was never any expectation as none of the team members and the team management gave a thought about our winning. It never crossed our minds right from the time we left the Indian shores that we should bring the Cup home," he said.
"We never set any goal for us but we concentrated on winning each league match. Firstly we wanted to win all our league matches and then each of the knockout ties. We were all rejoicing when we made the final and at that point of time we decided to give our best shots.
"It was total team work that paid off in our team winning the title. I was feeling elated being captain and I had no words to praise my team-mates for their unstinted efforts in realising the dream," he added.
Image: Kapil Dev