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The Rediff Cricket Interview / Robin Singh
'India's batsmen will have to be consistent'
March 14, 2007
Rabindra Ramanarayan Singh, better-known as Robin Singh, was one of the finest one-day cricketers produced by India. An athletic all-rounder, he could bowl medium-pace, bat aggressively and field brilliantly. His style was more suited to the shorter version of the game. He was a good finisher as well.
In an interview with Haresh Pandya, the former Tamil Nadu and India cricketer says India has a good chance of winning the World Cup in the West Indies because the combined experience of all the members of Team India is simply mind-boggling, just like Australia's.
"We've the batsmen and bowlers to play the kind of cricket you need to play in an event like the World Cup," he says.
Your views on the ongoing World Cup in the West Indies?
It's going to be one of the finest World Cups ever, what with a beautiful setting and a number of good, competitive teams in the fray.
The wickets in the Caribbean aren't what they used to be when the West Indies had an array of rampaging fast bowlers. What do you have to say?
Yes, the wickets in the Caribbean have changed a lot in recent years. They aren't going to be easy to bat on in this World Cup. They're a bit slower and also turning now. Spinners would have to play an important role for their teams in this tournament. I don't think you'd see too many high-scoring matches when two matching teams are involved. In the inaugural match between Pakistan and the West Indies the bowlers clearly had the upper hand.
Are you suggesting that this World Cup will be dominated by the bowlers?
Not exactly; all I'm trying to say is that it won't be easy for the batsmen to score heavily on the slower West Indies wickets. Batsmen at the top of the order would have to score more runs in order not to put pressure on the late-order.
Which teams do you think have a fair chance of winning this World Cup?
As I said, there're so many strong sides in this World Cup, that it's really hard to predict the eventual winner. Besides, it's too early right now to hazard a guess! But I think India has a good chance, as always. Of course, there are better and more equipped teams in this tournament.
What makes you say India has a good chance of winning?
Well, we've a very balanced side. The combined experience of all the members of Team India is simply mind-boggling, just like Australia's. We've the batsmen and bowlers to play the kind of cricket you need to play in an event like the World Cup.
Would you like to mention a few Indian players who you think have to play a crucial role?
Cricket is a team sport; more so one-day cricket. So you can't rely on just one or two players. If you do, it would be disastrous, for there is no guarantee that the players you bank so heavily on will maintain their form and consistency, whatever their disciplines. But our players, particularly the batsmen, would have to play consistently well. No doubt about that.
Which other teams do you think have the credentials to win this World Cup?
I'd like to put my money on South Africa as the most favourite team to win this tournament. It may not have the kind of batsmen India and Australia have, but their highly experienced and effective bowlers as well as brilliant fielders make up for that. South Africa is undoubtedly the best fielding side in this World Cup.
What about Australia?
Australia is always there and no team will probably stop the Aussies from making a hat-trick of World Cup triumphs if they play to their full potential. But I think it's not going to be so easy for the Aussies in this particular tournament. The South Africans will definitely give the Aussies a good run for their money. And you can't ignore Sri Lanka either. In fact, Sri Lanka is one of the few teams which could really win this World Cup.
What's so particular or special about the Sri Lankans?
Well, they're an ideal bunch of cricketers to suit the environment in the West Indies and to do well in the tournament. Just look at their batsmen, look at their varied attack. Their medium-pacers and spinners might prove too good for some of their opponents. The Caribbean wickets would suit the Sri Lankan bowlers in particular. Like the South Africans, the islanders are also outstanding in the field. And fielding matters a lot in one-day cricket.
Any other team you feel can dominate the World Cup?
Yes, the hosts, West Indies. They've already begun their World Cup campaign on a winning note by convincingly defeating Pakistan. Being hosts, they're fully aware of the nature of the wickets and the changing conditions in the Caribbean islands. They're going to enjoy tremendous crowd support, too. They've some really good batsmen at the top. They're capable of winning matches on their own, but it remains to be seen whether they'll be consistent with the bat.
The Cup: Complete Coverage