The T20 World Cup is underway in Australia and the first group stage is currently underway, from which four sides will qualify for the Super-12 stage. All eyes are on October 23 when India takes on Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Former India batter Suresh Raina spoke to UK Time News in an exclusive interview where he talked about India’s chances at the World Cup and how he thinks if India can beat Pakistan they will win the World Cup.
“Certainly, if we win the opening match against Pakistan, we will win the World Cup,” Raina told UK Time News.
Talking about the chances of India winning the tournament, Raina said: “The team is doing well at the moment. Shami has replaced Bumrah, it will give the side a little X factor. We have Arshdeep Singh, Suryakumar Yadav. Everyone is in good shape , Virat Kohli looks really good. Rohit Sharma is a very good leader, if we win the first match it will be a good show for us. Everyone in the country is praying for them and I really want them to do the World Cup to win.”
Mohammed Shami was named as Jasprit Bumrah’s replacement last week and the ace spacer showed what he’s made of when he took three wickets in the final against Australia in a warm-up match on Monday. He defended 10 runs in the final, conceding just four and India took a six-run victory.
“I wouldn’t call him a perfect replacement because you can’t replace Jasprit Bumrah or Ravindra Jadeja. They have played consistently for India and have given gigs. But the best option you had, you selected him. Shami did a good job, he is in good shape BCCI did a good job sending the team to Australia 15 days before the tournament The ground is big, overall I think the preparation has been good We will have to play cricket fearlessly and showing good intentions,” said Raina, who is now India’s brand ambassador for Booking.com.
When asked who he would choose between Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant, Raina said: “Dinesh Karthik has been in great shape and he has put in a good performance. But when Rishabh Pant is there, it gives you that X factor because he has a left-handed batter We saw how Gautam Gambhir performed in the 2007 T20 World Cup Yuvraj Singh had six 6s Then they both played a big part in the 2011 World Cup So I guess, as a left-handed batter gives you that benefit.”
“Rishabh knows how to hit 6s from the first ball. If he gets the chance, he will certainly do well.”
Lead-off hitter KL Rahul was often criticized for his batting speed in T20s, despite hitting the ball at 140.40 in International T20s. The righthanded batter showed his skill when he hit a quickfire of fifty against Australia in Monday’s warm-up game.
“KL Rahul is one of the best hitters because he has the game under control. If he scores 40 runs in 30 balls then I think he can cover that too. Between Rohit and Rahul, one has to go after the bowling. Strike- rate matters in the shortest format and therefore Suryakumar Yadav will be very important in the mid phase Suryakumar and Virat will play in that period the ground is big so walking between the wickets would be important I think the team is solid and in the end the intent will be really important,” Raina said.
Talking about Ravindra Jadeja not playing this World Cup, Raina said: “What I will miss most about him is his field work. He can be a game-changer in the field, he takes groundbreaking catches and ensures a game-changing run -outs Hardik Pandya would run in any position Other teams have rifle fielders, we have Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya as good field players But what about the rest? On bigger grounds you need a good throwing arm Field players make the game, Virat Kohli is a brilliant outfield player, but Hardik Pandya, the kind of energy he brings to the side would be really important.”
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