Batting great Rahul Dravid Friday said the presence of wicket-taking bowlers will greatly benefit India in the middle overs of what is expected to be a high-scoring World Cup. Alongside hosts England and Australia, India will enter the ICC showpiece as favourites. The tournament kicks off on May 30 with the grand finale slated for July at the Lord's.
"In a World Cup, I believe, having experienced some of the conditions in England last year with the A tour, it would be a high scoring World Cup. And in a high scoring WC, having bowlers who can take wickets in the middle will be very important. I think India is lucky in that regard," Dravid spoke exclusively on Star Sports at the Star Re.Imagine Awards. The former captain added, "People like (Jasprit) Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal... (We have) got bowlers who can take wickets. Teams that are taking wickets through those middle-overs in those high scoring games have a better better chance of restricting the opposition."
India played their last international on March 13, after which the IPL kicked off. While the loss in the five-match series to Australia at home came as a shock, India have done well in ODIs over the last year, scripting a historic series win in South Africa. They have also won in Australia and New Zealand. Dravid took into considerations these victories while talking about India's prospects in the tournament.
"I think we have had a couple of really good years leading to the World Cup. For right reasons, we are No. 2 in the World and that actually means that we have consistently produced some successful results in the last two and half years. We can be hopeful. "I think it's going to be a tough World Cup. Every team comes well prepared and wants to compete. Everyone at the World Cup will be putting their best foot forward.
"So having said that I would say India is definitely one of the favourites into the tournament and all of us can be hopeful. Hopefully we make the semi-final and from there on there are four very good teams," Dravid said. "Bowling is going to play a very big role in this World Cup and the team that bowls best, probably will be closer to winning it."
The legendary batsman showered accolades on current captain Virat Kohli. "Virat, you know he just keeps improving, keeps getting better. He is setting bars and standards that possibly we thought would never be achieved. Sachin (Tendulkar) scored 49-50 hundreds in one-day cricket. People thought that this would take a lot of time to achieve. Will it be ever achieved and now Virat is 10 away from it or close to it.
"One of the things about Virat is that even if he has a bad tour, it is not that he hasn't had bad tours, he had disappointing tour of England in 2014, he wasn't as successful in Australia first time around, but every time he goes back again he goes back as a better player. He sort of reinvents his game to a point where he is constantly improving," Dravid said. Last but not the least, Dravid also had words of praise for two-time World Cup winning veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
"The beauty about MS is that he plays these big tournaments and these big matches and that’s why he finds himself in so many of these big games, he plays them, and they mean a lot, I tell a lot of under-19 boys, he is able to find a way to play it like it doesn’t mean a lot, obviously it means a lot. "He is able to see a bigger picture in it and say – I'm not defined by this particular game. It is a hard thing to do," Dravid said.
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