Andy Flower: India a strong contender for the ICC World Cup

India’s consistency, confidence and fan following will make it a strong favourite to win the tournament, believes Andy Flower, the head coach of England Lions and the former Zimbabwe captain.

India plays good, aggressive cricket and will have a good following in the World Cup, says Andy Flower.   -  AFP

Andy Flower, head coach of England Lions and the former Zimbabwe captain, considers India a strong contender for the ICC World Cup 2019.

India’s consistency, confidence and fan following will make it a strong favourite to win the tournament, Flower believes. “Without a doubt they (India) are serious contenders. They play good aggressive cricket and they will have a good following in the World Cup. It may be held in England. But we know their matches will have a lot of Indian supporters and they won’t feel like being away from home. And India has a good record playing in tournaments in the past,” he says.

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Flower feels the current Indian cricket team is much more confident and aggressive than the Indian teams he had played against in the past. He credits the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the growth and development of younger players in the country. “There are couple of differences. Firstly the Indian cricket is generally more confident now. Part of the confidence has come from the growth of India as a nation and as global economy. Secondly, the IPL has given Indian cricket a lot of confidence. It has given some of the younger players a lot of confidence because they [play] in front of big crowds and with and against some of the best international players and it breaks down the barriers of myth that exist in cricket scene,” he reasons.

Flower is not surprised at the success of the Indian team in Australia.

Virat Kohli (in picture) has given the Indian team "aggression in the right sort of way," says Flower. Photo: Getty Images

 

‘Fitter and stronger’ team

He says: “I think [Virat] Kohli as a leader has given them lot of confidence and aggression in the right sort of way which is great. I also think that because of increased resources that are available to Indian cricket you see now fitter and stronger Indian teams coming into international scene now. That is part of the reason why its fast bowling stocks have been good as ever it has been or if not better. Those fast bowlers are fit and stronger and they have more stamina now. They can hold their spells longer and they are a better bowling unit now. I think for all those reasons Indian cricket is now in a good space.”

Flower says his current job isn’t a high-profile job as his role as the head coach of the senior team had been. But he is enjoying the opportunity to train highly talented youngsters.

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His team’s tour to India was an opportunity for the younger players to learn about the varied pitch conditions and about a different culture, he says. He is, however, doubtful any of the current players could break into what is a more-or-less settled one-day England side.

“The England has a settled one-day side and only chance for the current players to get into squad is through good performance and in the event of an injury to any current player,” he clarifies.