Krishnamachari Srikkanth knows a thing or two about the ICC World Cup.
After all, the belligerent opener, with 38 priceless runs taking on a lethal four-pronged West Indian pace attack on a green pitch with seam movement and bounce, was the top-scorer in the 1983 World Cup final.
Kapil’s Devils stunned the formidable West Indies in the summit clash at Lord’s. India journeys to England again.
And the last time all teams played each other once before the knock-out phase — in the 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand — Srikkanth was an integral part of the Indian team.
So, he comprehends the challenges of the format in the upcoming World Cup.
When Dhoni’s Dashers triumphed in the 2011 edition on a memorable night in Mumbai, Srikkanth was the chairman of the selection panel.
Talk about World Cup and Srikkanth’s face lights up.
Srikkanth said, “Consistency will be the key in a gruelling format such as this. There are no weak links. At the same time, you can come back in this format even if you do not have a great start in the competition.”
He was impressed with India’s top three. “When you have Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli as the first three batsmen, you can feel very confident.”
Should M.S. Dhoni bat No. 4? Srikkanth said that would depend on the conditions. “In England, if there is a cloud cover during a game, then the thinking and the batting order could be different. If there is sunshine, you have a different game plan. The difficult part is that the conditions change quickly.”
Srikkanth added, “Dhoni has been in brilliant form in the IPL and that augurs well for the Indian team going into the World Cup.”
The former Indian skipper was impressed with India’s pace attack. “In Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar, Shami, and Hardik Pandya, India has a very good bunch of pacemen and teams will be wary of the Indian attack.”
He observed, “If conditions favour seam bowling then someone like Vijay Shankar might figure in India’s plans as a support seamer who could strengthen the batting. India has a potent spin attack too and is well balanced.”
Srikkanth picked India, England, Australia and the West Indies as the four semifinalists. “The West Indies could be the surprise packet,” he said.
He was impressed by Kohli’s passion, drive and commitment.
“India is in with a definite chance,” felt Srikkanth.
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