No clear favourites, World Cup is wide open, says Shastri - GulfToday

No clear favourites, World Cup is wide open, says Shastri


It is going to be a very tight World Cup, says Ravi Shastri.

Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter

Indian cricket team coach Ravi Shastri ruled out any clear favourites, nevertheless he rated his team as a top contender along with the hosts for the upcoming 50-over World Cup to be held in England.

With the showpiece event barely one-and-half months away, Shastri asserted the World Cup will be wide open for all the participating teams.

The cricketing extravaganza is set to kick off from May 30, featuring England and South Africa in the opening match.

“It is going to be a very close World Cup. You cannot pick any one team as favourites to win the showpiece event. Though top four teams can be considered as top contenders because of their current form still it is going to be a tough competition. The gap will be narrow.

“However, England have been most the consistent team in the last two years. They have got multi-dimensional players. They have got depth in bowling and batting and they are playing at home.

“In the rankings, they are the number one team in the world. But as I said earlier, on a given day, any team can beat the other team. You will have to go by the rankings to see the consistency,” said Shastri, who was speaking on the sidelines of RAKEZ second anniversary in Dubai.

Commenting on the Indian World Cup squad, he said: “I don’t get involved in the selection process. If we have something to say, we convey it through the skipper and he puts it across on the behalf of the team management.”

He also denied overreliance of the Indian team on captain Virat Kohli.

“If you look at the Indian team’s performance in the last five years, they have been in top three. To maintain that kind of momentum, being number one in Test cricket, second in ODIs and again in top three in T20s, you cannot rely on one player.

“For that kind of consistent record, you need a bunch of players performing simultaneously,” asserted the former Indian captain.

For a successful campaign at the showpiece event, the Indian coach emphasised a good start.

“Conditions are changing all over the world and England is no different. I think getting off to a winning start in the first few games can give any team a good momentum. That will make the things easier at the later stages.”

He also advised snubbed Rishab Pant and Ambati Rayudu to have patience and work hard.

“It is really unfortunate but with just 15 players to be picked someone or else is bound to miss the bus. I wanted at least sixteen players and spoke to ICC also for the same but it was not granted.

Shastri is also unfazed by Kohli’s current form in the on-going Indian Premier League (IPL).

He is confident Kohli’s IPL form will not have any bearing on the World Cup campaign.

Kohli’s team RCB are at the bottom of the IPl table, having won just one of their eight matches so far.

Kohli’s run-scoring has been moderate by his own extraordinary standards during that sequence of matches.

Shastri shrugged off any concerns arising due to RCB series of losses at IPL

“Not at all,” Shastri said of the idea Kohli must be feeling the effects of the series of defeats in the red of RCB. “You wear that blue jersey [of India] and you are a different man,” he added.

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