Master’s mantra: Judge the pitch & pick wickets in the middle-overs
Sachin Tendulkar believes Rohit Sharma’s men can do well in this World Cup.
In an interview with The Telegraph on Monday, the batting maestro said the conditions would go a long way in deciding the outcome of the tournament. While picking his top four sides, Sachin felt getting wickets in the middle overs will be crucial.
Admitting that Jasprit Bumrah’s injury-induced absence was a setback, Sachin thinks Mohammed Shami has been a “capable replacement” for him.
Q: How do you assess India’s chances in the World Cup? Can India overcome the ICC trophy drought?
A: Yes, we have a very good chance. This team is well-balanced and we have the combination to go out and deliver. In fact, I am quite hopeful of our chances and going the full distance.
Q: Which are the teams to watch out for?
A: I would obviously want India to be the champions but my top four would be India, Pakistan, Australia and England. New Zealand are the dark horse as are South Africa... These are the conditions South Africans get to encounter at home in September-October. They are used to such conditions.
Q: How much of an impact will Jasprit Bumrah’s absence have on the team’s performance?
A: Not having one of the best fast bowlers will obviously impact the team. Bumrah has always been someone who has been one of the prime players in the XI, a strike bowler, and a standout performer. But the positive thing is that the team has accepted this and moved on... because you can’t get stuck by setbacks. His replacement, Mohammed Shami, is also experienced and capable, someone who has performed well in the past. He can be a worthy replacement and is already proving to be so.
Q: How do you see young Arshdeep Singh?
A: He has shown a lot of promise... If Arshdeep has a plan, he commits to it and that is really important in this format.
Q: Going by the record books, would you keep India ahead of Pakistan in the opener?
A: Yes, of course. My heart is with India and would always want India to win. Not just because I am an Indian, I truly believe we have the firepower to perform well in these conditions.
Q: How do you see India’s strategy to go all out in the Powerplay overs? Will it work in Australian conditions?
A: Their strategy is going to change depending on the surface they are made to play on. As we know in this format, there’s not much time. So even if we have a conservative approach and save wickets upfront they will still be looking to accelerate and score runs. A lot actually has to do with the surface. If there is lateral movement upfront, the players may settle down for a while and then look to accelerate. If there’s not much movement, I see them attacking from literally the first delivery.
Q: What sets a team apart in such multi-nation tournaments? Is it strategy, planning, or winning the big moments?
A: It is all about how well you plan for those moments. Preparing yourself well for those big moments... Those moments will always be crucial in such tournaments. Winning those moments will put you in a dominant position and for that, one has to do proper homework and devise plans accordingly. To execute them you should have clarity in your thought process and then just put it into practice.
Q: How much of an impact will the spinners make in this World Cup?
A: All our three spinners (Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel) are impactful. More importantly, they are wicket-takers and picking wickets in the middle overs will be crucial in Australia. Fortunately, all our spinners are capable of doing that which bodes well for us.