Legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar believes team India has a chance to retain the title under the dynamic leadership of Virat Kohli, who’ll be leading the side for the first time in the International Cricket Council’s mega event for 2017 ICC Champions Trophy which will begin on June 1 in England and Wales.
“I think we have a very strong team. There is a balance as well as a lot of talent in the team. Under Virat’s leadership, we should be able to achieve what the whole nation wants to,” the 44-year-old Tendulkar told News Nation.
The former batsman Tendulkar feels defending champions India has a good squad to rely on, in the much-awaited event, as he termed the chances of the national team are quite high to lay hands on the coveted trophy.
The 28-year-old Kohli, whose IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore finished with the wooden spoon in the recently concluded group stage matches of the cash-rich Twenty20 League with just three wins in 14 games.
The 18-day cricket carnival is just a fortnight away, as many former cricketers across eight different countries have opined regarding the coveted title before predicting their winners respectively.
The Little Master Tendulkar while expressing the satisfaction over the formation and combination before adding the hopes are at its high from the people back home, who expect best from the Men in Blue.
“I want the team to give its best. There are high hopes and expectations. It is important to have such expectations,” Tendulkar revealed.
Tendulkar also talked about the length and the breadth regarding the ICC Champions Trophy and the expectations from Team India.
“It is like a tonic, which means you are good enough and that is why there are expectations,” Tendulkar added.
The stalwart of world cricket, Tendulkar, who has been the part of IPL franchise Mumbai Indians as a player followed by the mentor while nursing the local pool of a talent alongside foreign recruits of Blue brigade since the inception in 2008.
“I think only about that team which I am with. I have been associated with one team, Mumbai Indians, for last 10 years,” Tendulkar further added.
Tendulkar was delighted with the all-round performance of Mumbai Indians. as they finished the group stage of the tenth IPL edition on top with 20 points before losing out against Rising Pune Supergiant by 20 runs to see the visitors qualifying for the final for the first time.
“The performance this year has been very good. There are a few young players who have performed at crucial points, such as Jasprit Bumrah, Nitish Rana, Hardik and Krunal Pandya,” Tendulkar praised youngsters in Mumbai’s squad.
However, finishing on the top, Rohit Sharma-led side has another match to qualify for the final which is scheduled for May 21 in Hyderabad.
“All players will have to come together to perform if they have to win the championship. If a team does not play as a unit then you cannot win a championship,” Tendulkar concluded.
Mumbai-born Tendulkar played 463 One-day Internationals, 200 Tests and only Twenty20 for India. He averaged 54.17 in Tests followed by 44.48 in ODIs. He scored 18,426 runs in 50-over format and 15,921 runs in 329 Test innings.
Yuvraj Singh, who was named in the 15-member squad, would be expecting to give his best, as he is making the comeback after a long layoff in the event.
However, the left-handed batsman is highly likely to miss an eliminator against Kolkata Knight Riders on May 17 (Wednesday).
India will start off their Champions Trophy campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan on June 4 at Edgbaston in Birmingham in the Group B match in which the other teams are placed in the form of Sri Lanka and South Africa.