New Delhi, Jan 14: Former India coach John Wright feels the only way the current team can defend its World Cup title is by backing its exciting batting line-up with a much-improved bowling effort than what it has shown of late.
Wright said the team has got the best possible preparation for the mega event Down Under by playing a four match Test series and is soon to play in the ODI tri-series.
Comparing the champion 2011 squad with the current lot, the affable New Zealander said the batting firepower along with a more experienced captain in MS Dhoni will need the support from the other two departments in a tournament he considers wide open. (All 14 squads for WC)
"That team had been playing together for a longer period of time. This team is more unknown. Batting wise it looks as exciting as the one in 2011. Dhoni has had more leadership experience in one-day cricket. But a lot will depend on taking those early wickets and holding on to the catches," Wright told a handful of reporters while watching the Ranji Trophy match between Baroda and Railways here yesterday (January 13).
"There will be two new white balls (in each innings), you want to take advantage of that. You want to be taking wickets, otherwise the game runs away from you," said the former New Zealand captain who is in India to look for fresh talent as a coach for Mumbai Indians.
The sixty-year-old picked Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma as India's key players in the tournament beginning on February 14. He is also pleased to see Kohli doing well as a captain in the recently concluded Test series in Australia.
"The most encouraging sign about Kohli is that he has performed (as a captain). It is very difficult to lead the side if you are not performing. Captaincy is like coaching. The more you do it, the more you learn. The impressive thing about him is that he leads with performance," said Wright.
Talking about Rohit, he said: "I know what he can do. He is a match winner and beautiful to watch." Wright also hoped that players who have been picked ahead of Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag perform in their absence.
"I heard he (Yuvraj) is doing well in domestic cricket. If you drop a player like him, you just hope those who get the opportunity perform. He is a serious player. I am sure it (his selection) created a lot of discussion at the selection meeting," he said when asked about the Man of the Series at the 2011 World Cup.