The combination of youth and experience along with the presence of “unmatchable” duo of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli could help India lift their third World Cup, feels former captain Kapil Dev.
The World Cup, which begins on May 30 in the UK, will see all 10 participating nations face each other in a round-robin format.
India have picked a 15-member squad which boasts of experienced players like Dhoni, Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Shikhar Dhawan while the youngsters such as Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav were emerging as vital cogs in the side.
“India has a great combination of youth and experience. In a way they are more experienced than the other teams. They have the right balance — four fast bowlers, three spinners and they have Virat Kohli and Dhoni,” Kapil, the 1983 World Cup-winning captain told reporters at a promotional event Wednesday.
“Dhoni and Kohli have done extremely well for India. Both of them are unmatchable,” he added.
The legendary all-rounder also hailed India’s pace attack and said it will fare well in English conditions.
“The four fast bowlers we have are fantastic, they are very good. I think the English conditions will help them swing the ball. Then players like Shami and Bumrah can bowl 145kmph, have swing and pace,” he said.
Kapil, who has also tried his hand at coaching the India team in 1999-2000, predicted that the “Men in Blue’ will reach the semifinals alongside hosts England and defending champions Australia.
“I think India will definitely finish in the top four. After that it will be really difficult. After ICC World Cup 2019the semifinals, stroke of luck alongside personal and team performance will determine who goes forward,” he said.
“England, Australia and India are the top three teams. These teams have more strength than the others. New Zealand or West Indies can emerge as the surprise package,” he said.
A lot of debate has been going on regarding who will play at the crucial number four spot but Kapil said it boils down to the mind set of the players and barring the openers, anyone can bat at any position.
“After watching the T20 games you don’t know who is the opener or who is number 4. It is very difficult to pick a person, it depends on the mind set of the player,” said Kapil.
“Dhoni went before Yuvraj in Mumbai (2011 World Cup final). In the last 10 years cricket has changed. Nowadays apart from the openers, anyone can play at the number four spot,” he said.
Asked about Pandya, who has often been compared to Kapil himself, the 60-year-old former captain said the youngster should be left alone to play his natural game.
“You should not put pressure on Hardik Pandya. He has enough talent, let him play his natural game. I don’t like anybody being compared to anyone because that puts pressure on that player.