Millennium Post

‘Allround’ India impress Lara

‘Allround’ India impress Lara
India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan by 76 runs in their tournament opener before registering an emphatic 130-win over tournament favourites South Africa in their second outing to be atop Group B at the moment. And like others, Lara too feels India in all likelihood will go as table toppers into the next round.

“Most definitely (India likely to top Group B). India is playing great cricket. The combination of their efforts on the field, with the bat and the ball. Somewhere down the line you find an Indian team suffering in one discipline of the game but right now their batting is great, their bowlers are doing what is necessary to win the games and the Indian fielding over the last few years has also improved, they are now on a different level.

They are playing very good cricket under the leadership of Dhoni. Their allround game is what is impressive and that’s what  they need to keep doing to win the World Cup,” Lara told a television channel on Tuesday. He was of the view that India hold a good stead in the ongoing World Cup jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand as they now are better equipped to tackle the tough overseas conditions.

He also credited Sachin Tendulkar, who has played record six World Cups, for showing the current lot of Indian cricketers how to fight and score runs on tough conditions. “In these conditions India many many years ago had problems. But their cricketers have grown out of that and I believe that’s simply because of what Sachin Tendulkar has done to Indian cricket in terms of showing the fight and strength needed to play on any surface. The players are now following in his footsteps. The likes of (Ajinkya) Rahane, (Shikhar) Dhawan, (Virat) Kohli and skipper Dhoni all these guys are now accustomed to play in these tough conditions, bouncy pitches and I expect the Indian team to continue the way they are playing at present,” Lara said.

Being a former captain himself, Lara is also closely following West Indies performance in the World Cup and feels Chris Gayle’s return to form with a blistering double century against Zimbabwe in Canberra on Tuesday augurs well for the Caribbean side ahead of tough clashes against South Africa and India. Gayle bludgeoned his way into the history books by becoming the first player to score a double century in World Cup, smashing 215 off just 147 balls  with record-equalling 16 sixes and 10 fours to help West Indies beat Zimbabwe by 73 runs.

Asked whether West Indies opponents now should feel scared after Gayle knock on Tuesday, Lara said: “Very much so. Chris played very well. I felt he was a bit conservative in his first 100, scored it in more than a run-a-ball. But he took off after that and was great to watch. Marlon Samuels also played a very supportive role. It is great for West Indies team at present. Their morale must be high now. Chris Gayle in form can always be a danger.”

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