Everybody has to put their body on the line and need to give it their all to win this World Cup

New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS): Yuvraj Singh, the Player of the Tournament in India’s victorious 2011 World Cup campaign on home soil, believes every member in the current team has to handle pressure, put their bodies on the line and give it their all to win the upcoming 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup.

It has been more than ten years since India won an ICC event, with its last major triumph being the 2013 Champions Trophy title in England. Since then, winning an ICC title has eluded Indian cricket.

But with the trend of hosting nations winning the last three Men’s ODI World Cups, coupled with Asia Cup triumph and 2-1 series win over Australia, there is some optimism over the Indian team breaking a decade-long drought of a global trophy this time.

“It’s been a while since we won an ICC trophy. We played two finals (of the World Test Championship in 2021 and 2023) and I think it might be the last World Cup for a couple of guys in the team.”

“I feel everybody has to put their body on the line and need to give it their all to win this World Cup. The format is different and if you reach the semi-finals stage, you will face pressure straight away in a big game. So, I feel it’s also about handling pressure too,” said Yuvraj in an exclusive interview with IANS.

India, the 1983 and 2011 champions, will open its campaign against five-time champions Australia on October 8 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Yuvraj further stated that Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England can pose a stiff challenge to India in the World Cup.

“Australia has always been a formidable side and have won so many titles before. They have the knack of winning pressure games. I also feel New Zealand is a very good team, while England are also a very good ODI side and South Africa is doing well too.”

The 2011 World Cup had seen a spinner in Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi being the joint leading wicket-taker (21 scalps) alongside India’s left-arm fast-bowler Zaheer Khan. Yuvraj reckons bowlers will have a decisive say in winning matches and expects spinners to be key in middle-overs, while adding that dew will come into play during the competition.

“The thing is, most of the games are starting in the afternoon. In India, mostly wickets are such where one can score lots of runs on them. Going in November, the weather is going to change. In some games, it might swing, while in the evening, the dew factor might come in.”

“Plus, you might get to see some wickets where the ball will spin. I always feel that spinners are the type of bowlers who will matter a lot in the middle overs. I feel we have really good bowlers to get ten wickets. In this World Cup, bowlers are going to win you most of the games.”

Due to the introduction of two new balls right after the 2011 World Cup ended, along with current rules mandating presence of five fielders inside the 30-yard circle during the 11-40 overs phase, it means that India haven’t got any part-time bowlers.

None of their top six batters roll their arm over regularly, which is completely opposite of the 2011 side, where Yuvraj bowled 75 overs and got 15 wickets, apart from making 362 runs with the bat, in a memorable World Cup campaign at home in 2011.

“See, the thing is that rules have changed. Now we have five fielders in the circle. So, it becomes difficult for a part-time bowler to bowl in the middle overs. Then, in this kind of format, you would require five proper bowlers.”

“This is why the part-time spinner doesn’t come into the picture anymore. If these rules had been there when we were playing in the World Cup in 2011, it would have been a big struggle for us to bowl too,” stated Yuvraj on diminishing role of part-timers in ODIs.

Yuvraj, who retired from international cricket in 2019, signed off by saying the basic point of him being involved with Vicks, who launched a World Cup anthem in the national capital on Friday, was of bringing the whole country together in supporting the Indian team for the upcoming World Cup.

“It doesn’t matter what ethnicity you come from, when it comes to such a big stage, the whole country is together and will be supporting the Indian team. It makes for a great campaign and is something which brings out a human side too, as it gives a message of ‘we are here for you and will be cheering for you all the way’.”



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