Mumbai, Feb 6: India have made the "mistake" of carrying too many injured players in their squad for the upcoming cricket World Cup, according to former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar who reckons that it may be a handicap for the defending champions in their bid to retain the title.
In an exclusive interview to PTI, Vengsarkar said India should not have fielded injured players in the World Cup squad hoping that they would eventually get fit.
He also expressed surprise at the omission of last World Cup's man-of-the-tournament Yuvraj Singh and in-form opener Murali Vijay from the World Cup squad, and termed the ommissions as "shocking and surprsing".
India will open their World Cup campaign with the high-voltage Pool A game against Pakistan, a team against which they have never lost in the tournament in the past at the Adelaide Oval in Australia on February 15.
The former India captain feels that playing arch rivals Pakistan in the very first match was a "blessings in disguise" because if the team wins the game, the mindset of the players will change.
Excerpts from the interview: Q: Do you feel India's poor performance in the tri-series in Australia will have any effect on the team's morale in the World Cup?
Vengsarkar: Ideally speaking, it should not. They should treat it as any other tournament that they played. World Cup is a different tournament, a huge event and that should spur the Indians to do well. Besides first they would be up against a relatively inexperienced and comparatively average Pakistani team whose record against India in the World Cup is dismal. Man to man this Indian team (if all are fit) still looks a better proposition than the Pakistani team.
Q: Are you happy with the composition of the squad, especially in the light of the injuries to some bowlers? Who will you include if Ishant Sharma pulls up unfit, Mohit Sharma or Dhawal Kulkarni?
Vengsarkar: India has to carry along the injured players simply because it doesn't have options. Frankly, you just cannot carry injured players in the squad hoping they would be fit.
Instead they should have picked the fresh ones who are raring to go and hungry for success. In case Ishant is still not fit then I guess Dhawal, with his high arm action and his ability to hit the deck and move the ball, should get the nod.