April 29, 1999
Why India can win the Cup -- and how
Hove, May 15th, India take on the 'the favourites' SA in its inaugural match in the world cup.
The match also happens to be Sachin's first ODI after his comeback It would great to watch Sachin face Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock in England in his first comeback match. That will be some real combat. Hope Sachin gets the better out of it. A tough match to start with for the Indians. A victory there would definitely boost the Indian confidence and chances.
Else, Indians are still good enough to make it to the super six. The fact that they are not the best team boosts India's chances. They will not be playing under the pressure of winning every match. And then we have a well balanced team. As of now I can see Sachin and Ganguly being capable of winning a match on their own for India. We still have the technically sound and best player of 'pace-attack' in Rahul Dravid, one who has a commendable record overseas. Technique is going to be the key for the world cup. And then I would say, Azhar could well turn out to be the dark horse. His record in England is pretty good. True he is not in his best form but every time he has been dropped or faced with excessive criticism he has come back with a bang.He is the player to watch out for.
And then we have Prasad who is most dangerous in the English conditions. With Srinath troubling the batsman with his pace, Agarkar donning the role of the wicket taker, Kumble whose flippers are as dangerous as 85 degree turn produced by Shane Warne, the fighting Robin Singh, the enthusiastic Jadeja, the lazy elegance of Ramesh , the 'ever-dependable' Mongia and the never dying optimism of the team - we literally have the right combination to win the world cup.
All we really need is 'passion' and 'Killer-Instinct'. We need to play 'sensible' and stop being 'sensitive'. Windies as a team are going to be the dark horses. If Lara, Walsh and Ambrose get going, which of late has been happening, they will annihilate any attack. I dont see SA winning the world cup with all the hype. Inspite of being the best team they have the tendency to lose the crucial matches. Pakistan could have been the favourites but they have won too many matches recently to keep continuing the trend. England has a home advantage but that is not sufficient for them to win enough matches to win the cup. The team is also important. Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Zimbabwe could play a crucial role in deciding the Super Six. But it would be difficult for them to make it to the semis stage.
That leaves only Australia (the other teams might spring a few surprises but ...). Australia has a good chance. Indians have been playing quite well against the Australians. So the major competitors for the cup I would say is SA, Australia, Windies (New Zealand?-one of the two) and India. And India is capable of beating any of these teams convincingly on its day. So, though not the hot favourites for the cup, India still stand a very good chance to win the cup. Let's hope the stylish, wristy batsman from Hyderabad silences his critics by lifting the cup.
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