Former Indian captain Saurav Ganguly has expressed happiness over 15 member India squad for the world cup finalized by the BCCI yesterday. He thinks this is a well balanced squad and India has pretty good chance of defending their trophy. Incidentally, except from Axar Patel and Stuart Binny, all others were also included in world cup squad of Ganguly. In fact he had preferred Murali Vijay and Dhawal Kulkarni in his list.
He said “I had Murali Vijay along with Dhawal Kulkarni in my squad and the reason I had Murali Vijay, was based on his form in Australia.“I am a bit of a fan of specialists and that is why I had Vijay and Kulkarni in the squad, but I quietly agree with the selection (for the World Cup).“Akshar Patel is the third spinner. I think it (Patel’s appearance) is a bit of a cover-up for Ravindra Jadeja, who’s suffering from a bit of a shoulder strain.I think India will go in the World Cup with two spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja, who is a bit of an all-rounder. So is Akshar Patel, but Jadeja is a better batsman.”
Ganguly while appreciating Axar,highlighted the fact his performances in the series against West Indies, Sri Lanka and the IPL perhaps forced selectors to include him in the squad. He emphasized that Patel has got big-match temperament which will help India at the World Cup.
Ganguly also revealed that he was a bit confused between Kulkarni and Binny.
He said, “Looking at the way the Indian bowlers bowled in Australia and then it’ll be the tri-series and the World Cup, for bowlers like Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, it is going to be a long hard four months.I was a little worried about their fitness and that’s the reason I included 5 fast bowlers in case there is an injury or a niggle, you have a replacement.“The selectors have a reason to go for Stuart Binny, who has played in New Zealand. Binny is that sort of a bowler whose bowling will come good in those conditions with the ball swinging in the air and a bit of a seam movement. He can bat lower down the order, probably at number 8.”
Dada opined that absence of Murali Vijay will not hamper the batting strength of team India as the Indian batting has options in opening as Rohit Sharma can open the innings as well alongside Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane is capable of batting in the middle-order.
Dada said “Over and all I think it is a good selection. I think it is a well-balanced side. The selectors have gone for performance and I am very happy with the contingent that will stay in Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup.”
Ganguly specifically underlined the level of fielding of Indian team, and envisaged “It’s a very good fielding side as well with Sharma, Kohli, Dhawan, Rahane, Jadeja and Suresh Raina. Six to seven of the players in the top eleven are very good on the field and that will always be a plus in these big grounds at the World Cup.”
Ganguly insisted that the people shouldn’t be disheartened by India’s poor performance in the Test series.
He emphasized and said “I’ve always believed India is a much better one-day side than a Test side in overseas conditions. So, all those who have been disappointed, like me, with the performance away from home overseas in the Test format do not need to be disheartened because I think India will perform a lot better in the one-day series. My only wish is they go completely fit to the World Cup starting on 14th of February. If they go with the squad which they have picked, I think they will be a serious contender. I don’t know if they’ll win because it is very hard to predict the winner of the World Cup specially in conditions like Australia and New Zealand, where teams like Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, England will have an equal chance because once the ball stops spinning the teams away from the subcontinent become very dangerous one-day sides as well. But don’t under-estimate India because this is a serious one-day side and they have as much a chance as anyone at the World Cup.”