Sourav Ganguly: India a strong team for the World Cup

Due to its round-robin format, the former India captain expects the tourney to bring the best out of every team.

Sourav Ganguly at a promotional event in Chennai on Tuesday. Photo: M. Vedhan

Former India captain Sourav Ganguly expressed his confidence in India at the 2019 World Cup, but tempered that with a note of caution: with the competition growing tighter and just 10 teams vying for the trophy in England and Wales, it will not be too easy for the Men in Blue.

“I am very, very confident in our squad and I think Indian cricket will always be strong,” Ganguly said on Tuesday. “This team under Virat [Kohli] is a very strong team. And a team which has players like Kohli, Rohit [Sharma], [Shikhar] Dhawan, [Jasprit] Bumrah, [Hardik] Pandya or M. S. Dhoni has to be a side to watch out for,” he added.

'No easy names'

“All of them [are India’s main opposition team] actually. It will be a fantastic World Cup. There are no easy names. This format was put into play last time in 1992 when everyone played everyone and the best ones went on to qualify. This format will bring the best out of everyone,” Ganguly said. “They are all strong teams. A couple of years ago it was different. Now, West Indies is strong. Australia is back to where they were. India is strong... New Zealand is strong.”

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Ganguly believes that Pakistan, too, is a team to look out for at the World Cup, despite the 5-0 beating that Pakistan received at the hands of Australia in the United Arab Emirates in March. “Pakistan always had good bowling skills and it becomes better in England. You see the Champions Trophy. They have gone to a World Cup final, too, in England.”

'Cannot predict too early'

The former India skipper, however, declined to make any predictions. “Hopefully [India wins the World Cup]. You cannot predict too early. We have the talent and we have the stride. It is all about the form of the players when the tournament starts now,” he said.

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Ganguly also expressed his satisfaction with the squad picked by the Board of Control for Control in India, adding that Rishabh Pant, who was excluded from 15-man team but later named among four standbys, should not be bothered by not making the cut. “He will play many more World Cups. This is just the beginning; he shouldn’t worry.”

On life after retiring from the game, Ganguly says it is very different when one has to stay away from the game. “It had been six years. This is the real stuff. It is about competitiveness, tension and skills. Nothing can be compared to this,” he said.