Batting form, luck at toss important to Ind''s chances: Kapil

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R Eswar

New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) Batting would be India''s strengthin the upcoming World Cup but Mahendra Singh Dhoni''s wretchedluck with the toss will also have to turn for the better ifIndia are to break a 28-year-old jinx at the mega-event, feels1983 World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev.

"Our strength is batting and I feel we should depend onthat and have faith. Luck also plays a part...winning the tossin every match. It will be marginally difficult if we lose thetoss and the rival team posts a huge total for us to chase atarget of 300 or so," the legendary all-rounder told PTI in aninterview.

"If we get to bat first and make 300 and odd runs, ourbowlers could do the rest for us to win each match," he added.

Though the present squad has been described as balancedby most, the lack of a genuine all-rounder has been a concernbut Kapil said Dhoni as a wicket-keeper/batsman fills thatslot perfectly.

"There is no such thing as even the wicket keeper isconsidered an all rounder. We have Dhoni as an all-rounder inthe team. Hope he does well to help India win the World Cupand create history as statistics say that no host has won theCup so far," he said.

"On paper, India look favourites without any doubt. Wehave so many match-winning players in our team but fieldingand running between the wickets are doubtful as the team has afew weak links. Overall the team''s batting is so powerful thatit can keep you in good stead and wrest the initiative," Kapilsaid of India''s chances in the event starting February 19 inthe sub-continent.

Kapil said Dhoni is the strength of the team for hisexceptional leadership.

"I am happy for only one thing that the captain is suchimportant person in the team. If he gets going there is nobodyto replace him," he said. More PTI RE PM MRM

The selection of three spinners in the team has been criticised but Kapil refused to call it a case of one toomany.

"There is just one extra spinner in the team besidesquite a few part time bowlers and picking the playing elevendepended on the captain''s point of view," he said.

On whether the intense pressure of playing at home wouldbe a disadvantage, Kapil said, "I must say that it works bothways. People''s expectations are high and go higher most often.

The advantage is that crowd support is going to help you andcheer for you. It depends on how the team members take it," hesaid.

Kapil refused to comment on whether the team would missSouth African coach Gary Kirsten after his stint ends at theend of the World Cup.

"I do not know because I am not with the team and Icannot answer what influence the coach had on the team''sperformances. The team had foreign coaches for about nine orten years now," he said.

"I do not bother about these aspects as it is entirelythe job of the Indian Cricket Board," he added.

Asked whether he has any advice to offer to the Indianteam for winning the Cup, Kapil quipped, "I am not good enoughto give advice but they should enjoy themselves and playhard."

Looking back at the 1983 campaign, Kapil said none in theteam expected to win the Cup but the belief grew with eachmatch.

"There were never any expectation as none of the teammembers and the team management gave a thought about ourwinning. It never crossed our minds right from the time weleft the Indian shores that we should bring the Cup home," hesaid.

"We never set any goal for us but we concentrated onwinning each league match. Firstly we wanted to win all ourleague matches and then each of the knockout ties. We wereall rejoicing when we made the final and at that point of timewe decided to give our best shots.

"It was total team work that paid off in our team winningthe title. I was feeling elated being captain and I had nowords to praise my team mates for their unstinted efforts inrealising the dream," he added.

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