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Pathan will be the most important player for India: Kapil

Last updated on: February 3, 2011 17:20 IST

Every World Cup throws up a hero

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Harish Kotian

Every World Cup throws up a hero.

Who can forget Kapil Dev single-handedly taking India to an unexpected title triumph in 1983, or Imran Khan inspiring Pakistan to their world title in 1992 and Sanath Jayasuriya's blast that helped Sri Lanka triumph at home in 1996.

As the 2011 World Cup approaches, former World Cup-winning captains pick their top player, who they believe can make an impact in the mega-event.

A look at their selections:

- 'India is the top favourite'

Photographs: Reuters



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'Pathan can win matches from a losing position'

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Kapil Dev:

"It is very difficult for me to pick one Indian player, because there are so many match-winners in the team, and on their given day they can change the course of a match.

"But I would like to see Yusuf Pathan, because I feel he will be the most important player for India. He can win matches from a losing position.

"We all know what Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni or Yuvraj Singh can do, but I believe Pathan will be an important player, because opposition cannot take it easy till he is at the crease or he is in the dressing room."


Image: Yusuf Pathan

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'Lee has worked extremely hard'

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Steve Waugh:

"Brett Lee is the guy that has shown amazing resilience and determination to get back to playing for Australia.

"He has worked extremely hard and he is now bowling at more than 150 kmph. He loves touring India and I am sure he is going to have a big World Cup for Australia."


Image: Brett Lee

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'Gayle can win a tournament single-handedly'

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Allan Border:

"I am very concerned about the West Indies, because they have got very good players.

"There is a guy called Chris Gayle whom I saw recently hit around 8 or 9 sixes against my team, Queensland, at the Gabba in the Big Bash Twenty20 tournament.

"He is that sort of player assuming that West Indies play well enough to get into the quarter-finals. 

"Gayle, off his own bat, can win games for the West Indies at the top of the order. He is very dangerous and he is the kind of player who can win a tournament single-handedly."


Image: Chris Gayle

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'Lanka's batting depends on Jayawardene, Sangakkara'

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Arjuna Ranatunga:

"If you take the Sri Lankan team, it is an all-round side.

"The batting depends on Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan, but we have a better bowling side than the 1996 World Cup team.

"There is a slight concern about the middle order batting, but I feel if they play to potential they can win this tournament."


Image: Kumar Sangakkara (left) and Mahela Jayawardene

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'Umar could be the dark horse for Pakistan'

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Imran Khan:

"I think Shahid Afridi. There is a big if with Afridi, but he is a match-winner.

"But the guy who I think can be the dark horse is a young man called Umar Akmal. If he gets into form, he is more likely to play match-winning innings for Pakistan than any other player.

"He is the most versatile young cricketer I have seen, but he hasn't really lived up to the potential the way he started off. In sub-continental conditions here, he could be the dark horse for the Pakistan team."


Image: Umar Akmal

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