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by Andrew Wood Wednesday 20 February 2019
VVS Laxman said on Wednesday that apart from India, the hosts England will also be the strongest contender for this year’s World Cup. Especially after India’s performance in Australia and after winning the ODI series in New Zealand. Virat Kohli, the Indian team captain, has returned to form just at the right time. Laxman said that other than the results of the T20 tournament, “it is all coming back to form at the right time, which is very important. World Cup preparations are a long road, so if India wants to win the title, then each player should be physically and mentally ready. For me, India and England will start their campaigns as the strongest contenders.
Forty-four-year-old VVS Laxman is the batting consultant of the Indian Bengali team, who in the ODI series, beat Australia 2-1 and New Zealand 4-1 at their home grounds. The former cricketer said, “I think this is fantastic. For the way we played, I would like to congratulate the entire team. The way they played in the Australian and New Zealand series is top class. There are not only one or two players that were impressive, but everyone had contributed equally. That is why our bowling and batting looked so good. To see the contribution of both departments excel is perfection.”
Legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne has advised Team India that they should definitely give young wicketkeeper and batsman, Rishabh Pant, a chance in the team for the forthcoming World Cup. Warne believes that Pant can play as a batsman and Mahendra Dhoni can play as wicketkeeper. Not only that, Warne suggests starting with Rohit Sharma as opposed to Shikhar Dhawan playing with vice-captain Rohit. If this happens, then it can prove to be a surprise package for the opposition’s team. It would also come as a surprise for many punters finding trusted sites in India to be a challenge. However, improvised team structure changes may increase the odds.
Warne said in an interview with India Today, “Rishabh Pant can play in the team. I think Dhoni and Pant can both play together. I cannot understand why Pant could not play as a pure batsman. He is a great batsman. Rohit Sharma can also start the innings off. I know that Dhawan is doing a very good job as an opener, but Pant and Sharma can do well for India.” Taking this X-Factor and strategic move into consideration will shock all opposition India is due to face.
There are high hopes for India because they have many players who can play different roles. Hopefully, between February 24 and March 13, the series of two T20 Internationals and five ODIs between India and Australia will be played with good results. The potential of this new generation of Indians is here to prove a point. On top of that, public interest in the sport is at an all-time due to new government legislation that is aiming to legalise cricket sports betting in India.
Warne also suggested that India could experiment with its top order for the upcoming one-day series against Australia. Shane Warne is a legendary leg-spinner who took the most wickets in Test cricket for Australia. By suggesting that Pant should be given a chance in the top order against Aaron Finch's team, should really be taken into consideration. Trialling pant in the top order for a few matches could prove to really work in India’s favour. It’s a test for trial and error. What better moment is there that before the World Cup against Australia. India can use Dhawan elsewhere.
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