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Home > Cricket > The Cup > PTI > Report

Gavaskar backs India to win the World Cup

February 28, 2007 18:54 IST

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Sunil Gavaskar feels the current Indian team appears better prepared than the 1983 World Cup-winning team for the cricket's most coveted Trophy.

"This team is better prepared than ours in 1983 because of the sheer volume of one-day cricket that it has played and against almost all the opponents. I am not saying this is a better team; please do not misquote me," Gavaskar said, after conveying his best wishes to Rahul Dravid and Co. through a written message on a giant cricket bat in Mumbai.

Gavaskar wrote "Best wishes. God Bless!" and autographed an 18-foot 'Ceat Cricket Ratings Billon Man Bat'.

- Wish Team India for the World Cup!

He also said the World Cup belongs to India because of the sheer passion generated by the game in the country.

"No other country shows so much passion. This Cup belongs to India. I wish Rahul and his team regain the Cup. The team has flexibility in the opening combinations with five, including Dravid himself, can do the job.

"And, like in 1983 when we had Madan Lal, Roger Binny and Jimmy (Mohinder) Amarnath, this team too has Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh (all leading batsmen) who can bowl," he said.

The former India captain also said that defending champions Australia no longer have the aura of invincibility following five successive losses to England and New Zealand in the run-up to the Cup and drew a parallel with his own team of the 1980s.

"We defeated [the all-conquering] West Indies in 1983 at Berbice (in Guyana) and then started believing that they were beatable. Now Australia have similarly lost their aura of invincibility after their recent losses," Gavaskar said.

The former India captain, who was the first to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket, was referring to India's surprise victory over the West Indies when the team visited the Caribbean for a bilateral series just before the 1983 World Cup in England.

Gavaskar also said that five bowlers picked in the squad would give extra options to Dravid.

"The white ball generally stops swinging after 7 or 8 overs, or even less, depending on the outfield in the West Indies. Rahul has that many options to play around with," he said.

Asked how many marks he would give India on a scale of ten in winning the World Cup, Gavaskar, after a little thought, said, "Nine out of 10. And I am saying this seriously."

Asked why not ten out of ten? he replied, "That's because of the glorious uncertainties present in this game."

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