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Chappell exudes confidence
Harish Kotian in Mumbai | February 27, 2007 20:46 IST
India coach Greg Chappell on Tuesday expressed confidence of a good showing at the World Cup, saying his squad has a wide variety of options and there is no need to worry about the conditions or opposition it will encounter in the West Indies.
"We are in as good a position as we could hope to be at this stage. The pieces of the jig-saw puzzle have fallen into the place quite well in the last few weeks. We have a good balanced squad, we got some good experience, we got some youth. We have got variety in batting and bowling that will give us a wide range of options, no matter what the opposition or conditions are," he told reporters in Mumbai.
India got back to winning ways in style, beating the West Indies and Sri Lanka at home after being routed 0-4 in the one-dayers in South Africa.
The victories, according to Chappell, also helped the team identify some key areas.
"I think we are going in with some confidence and plenty of hope. We have got cover for pretty all of the key players and the key positions. We have got flexibility in batting and bowling. I think we have got a squad that we can expect to do well.. From now it's going to be about performance on the day in each game and that's where the pressure is going to be," he said.
The former Australian batting great believes there is not much difference between the top eight teams in the tournament.
"I think all the main eight teams are very even. I think we will have a lot of close games, probably lot of middle scoring games which means they are likely to be close games. I think the pressure will be on and that's where our experience and flexibility is going to be positive for us," Chappell said.
Irfan Pathan has gone through a lot in the recent past. It all started when he was sent back mid-way from the tour of South Africa and since he has been under the scanner of the selectors. His trip to the West Indies was cleared on Sunday, when chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar assessed his fitness in a domestic match.
Chappell believes the talented youngster has it in him to reproduce his form of the past and is fully backing the left-armer.
"We are very confident [on Pathan's form]. He is a good cricketer. His record in one-day cricket in the last two years has been very good. We expect him to be fully fit once we reach the West Indies. Once he strikes some form there is no doubt that what he has done in the past he will do in the future. He will get his opportunities along with everyone else and it will be up to him."
Asked about India's batting line-up for the tournament, he said it would be decided after a look at the conditions and opposition.
"We have some plans and ideas that we have been working with and working towards in the recent months. I think we have got the options, the mix of batting in a number of ways. We have some strong ideas on where will we play players, what sort of roles they will have and that is something we will be sitting down with and reinforcing the players as soon as we get to the West Indies. To talk about that at this stage would be a bit too premature," said Chappell.
In the last few matches, India had tried Sachin Tendulkar batting in the middle order and Chappell feels it's an option they would continue with at the mega event.
"I think the more flexibility you have, the more variety you have, better it is, because we are going to be playing in different countries in the West Indies. Each place has its own conditions and conditions are different so the team with the most flexibility and options will do well in this World Cup," the 58-year-old said.
Chappell said his players have some experience of the conditions in the West Indies, having toured the island nation last year. But he believes that would not be an added advantage as in one-day cricket you need to be at your best always no matter what the conditions are.
"I don't expect the conditions to be very different than what I have experienced in the West Indies in the last 30 years. Conditions won't change greatly and I think in a World Cup the intention is to prepare the best possible batting wickets and I think it certainly doesn't do us any harm from the point of view that batting is one of our strengths. If any team that has the advantage it should be the home team, but I don't think any home team has ever won the World Cup. It doesn't matter what the conditions are; the team that plays well on the day will do well," said Chappell.
He also dismissed theories that the team, which has a few veterans, would struggle in the fielding department.
"Fielding is going to be a very important part in the tournament. I think our fielding has been quite good in the last few games. We worked hard on it and will continue it during the World Cup, because it will be a very important part of the World Cup. I think the positive side of it is we got 1900 internationals between the group and that hopefully will offset any deficiencies anywhere," he said.
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