Though the Indian team is going through a lean patch and have been winless in the recently-concluded tri-series in Australia, former India cricketer, coach, selector and World Cup winner Madan Lal believes India will do well in the upcoming World Cup starting February 14, and Dhoni will be the key performer.
Talking about India’s chances in their title defence, Madan Lal said Dhoni’s probable last hurrah on a cricket field could turn into a silver lining if he can lead by example.
“Dhoni is a game-changer. We all have seen his game. We should not forget what he did n 2011. I believe he will once again shine and take India through to the semi-finals at least,” member of the 1983 World Cup-winning team said. “Hope he will help India win their third World Cup.”
Madan Lal was India’s hero during the 1983 triumph, where he took three wickets and scored 17 runs in the final against the West Indies at Lord’s to guide the nation to its maiden World Cup trophy.
The former allrounder also slammed the decision of including an injured Ishant Sharma in the 15-man squad, saying the selectors should have gone for other option if the experienced pacer was not fully-fit.
Ishant will be replaced by Mohit Sharma in the defending champions’ inexperienced pace attack for the quadrennial event after the injured Ishant was ruled out.
On being asked the India’s chances in the World Cup, Madan Lal said: “World Cup is altogether a different platform. I am sure India will do well in the tournament. We have seen many dismal shows ahead of the World Cup but at the end have also seen India playing brilliantly on the biggest stage. Hope to see them winning this time too.”
“India are in Pool A where they can easily beat Zimbabwe, Ireland and UAE. In the quarter-finals, India will have to show their true fighting spirit. For me, batting won’t be a major issue for India but bowling can be,” he said.
About India opting to experiment during the tri-series despite having won nothing during their Australia tour, Madan Lal said it’s not the time to experiment.
“This is the time when there shouldn’t be much experiment. India should go for the same openers as they are [Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan]. Dhoni shouldn’t experiment much from here. Tri-series was past and now his main focus should be World Cup”, the former cricketer said.
India will start their World Cup campaign against Pakistan on February 15.