'Injured World Cup players are cheating India'

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New Delhi, Feb 10: Former India cricketer Kirti Azad today hit out at Ishant Sharma and expressed concerns at the team's thin bowling option, saying it may "hamper its chances" of retaining the title in the upcoming World Cup.

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"Closer to the World Cup, if you are carrying so many injuries to your key bowlers in the side and not telling the team management about it clearly, it is like cheating the people of the country. I am shocked," Azad, a member of 1983 cricket World Cup winning Indian team, told PTI in an interview.

File photo of Ishant Sharma

"Unless we have a set bowling standard, we have no chance of doing well in the World Cup or for that matter any series," the 56-year-old Azad said.

India are all set to open their World Cup campaign on February 15 in Adelaide against arch-rivals Pakistan, a team against whom they have never lost a match in the mega-event.

Criticising Indian bowling spearhead Ishant for hiding injuries, Azad raised questions over the pacer's overall fitness.

"Ishant Sharma does well in one match and then he gets injured for the rest of the season. Then what is the point in having him as the main bowler for India," asked Azad.

"Even after making a comeback following a rehabilitation, he plays a couple of matches and then gets injured again. It's difficult to understand why the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI), despite spending crores, fail to get a set team," he pointed out.

The former right-handed batsman said although it was difficult to predict anything in the game of cricket, he felt the current Indian side did not give a very bright picture in the run-up to the event.

"Going by the current form, India do not have the kind of confidence that they should going into the World Cup," Azad said. Azad went to the extend of questioning the players' intentions also.

"I find it really strange that we are always struggling in the Test matches and the One-day Internationals but I fail to understand how all our players suddenly become 100 per cent fit when it comes to playing in the Indian Premier League," he said.

PTI

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