India hot favourites to win World Cup: Azad

Dharmendra Pant

New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) With Kapil Dev-like instinctivecaptain in Mahendra Singh Dhoni and champion batsman SachinTendulkar in their ranks, India are the hot favourites to winthe Cricket World Cup starting in the sub-continent fromFebruary 19, says 1983 edition winning team-member Kirti Azad.

Terming India an experienced and balanced side, Azadadvised Dhoni and his men to focus on their job at hand justlike mythical hero Arjuna had done to shoot at the eye of afish.

"You cannot compare today''s side with that of 1983 WorldCup team because when we won it we had not collectively playedthe same number of matches Virender Sehwag has played. Butthere is one similarity in the two teams -- that is captain.

Kapil had always wanted to play for a win and I see the sameinstinct in Dhoni. Both leads from the front," Azad toldPTI-Bhasha in an interview.

"The biggest plus point of this team is the balance andexperience. This team has many match-winners but I feel a lotwill depend on Sachin Tendulkar. His experience of the lastfive World Cups will come handy on him. His presence lifts theconfidence of other players. So I am saying India are thefavourites," he said.

Azad, also a Member of Parliament, said that it isunnecessary for people to debate on whether this World Cupwould be the last one for Tendulkar.

"His instinct and appetite for scoring runs have notdecreased. From the way he is piling on runs, it seems that hecan play in the next World Cup also," he said.

Azad said India are the top favourites to win the WorldCup because the side has the "killer instinct".

"The team had not accepted defeat till the end in the ODIseries in South Africa. This shows that the team has thekiller instinct. All the players are making contributions tothe team cause and except for the wicket-keeping slot we havean alternative player to take place," said the formerall-rounder.

The sub-continental pitches generally assist slow bowlersbut Azad advised India to go for a three pacer and one spinnercombination in the World Cup.

"Three seamer and one spinner formula would be the rightthing. Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Sehwag andeven Tendulkar can take the responsibility of the fifthbowler," he said.

He also felt it a right decision for the selectors topick only one wicket-keeper in the Indian squad.

"Most of the matches have gaps of six days and I hopethere would be no injury to Dhoni. God forbid if there is anyproblem in that regard, I think there will be enough timeto call in another player." .

Please Wait while comments are loading...