“The conditions in New Zealand will provide Indian batsmen more opportunity and options. It will suit their style because New Zealand wickets – though they may seem so – are not as quick as Australian wickets. Plus smaller grounds will come handy for Indian batsmen,” Amarnath, who was part of the 1983 World Cup-winning India squad, told IANS in an interview.
India play their first four World Cup league fixtures in Australia, after which they travel to New Zealand to play two matches against minnows Ireland and Zimbabwe March 10 and 14, respectively.
Amarnath, who is famously known for clinching the World Cup-winning wicket in the 1983 final against the West Indies, said one of the reasons for India’s failure in Australia has been the inability of the batsmen to adjust to the conditions Down Under.
“The way Indian players bat against quick bowlers, specially in Australia, they have not been able to adjust to the pace and bounce. Probably they are trying to play too many shots which they have not been able to play successfully because of their style, balance and technique,” said the 64-year-old, who was Man-of-the-Series at the 1983 World Cup.
India have been in Australia for more than two-and-a-half months during which they lost the four-match Test series 0-2, lost all games and failed to make the final of the One-Day International (ODI) tri-series against Australia and England. More recently, they were once again hammered by Australia in a World Cup warm-up fixture by 106 runs.
“The important factor from the batting point of view is that the top order needs to have a good start and someone has to carry on the innings till the end and only then you have a chance to put pressure on the opponents,” added the former all-rounder, who was also Man-of-the-Match in the 1983 World Cup final.
“In Australia and New Zealand, if you are a good backfoot player, you score a lot of runs because this is what they are going to get from bowlers, they are not going to pitch them up.”
Though India haven’t had a good Australian summer, Amarnath says there is not much to worry about when asked about the chances of the champions defending the title.
“World Cup is a different ball game altogether. We should not be really worried about how they fared in the tri-series. The tri-series helped them in preparing for the World Cup. Also, India will play against different teams in the World Cup all the time and not against one strong or poor team,” added Amarnath, whose international career ranged from 1969 to 1989.
What about Amarnath’s favourites?
“There are no favourites as such but the conditions will definitely suit teams like South Africa and Australia because they are used to such wickets. It helped India in 2011. New Zealand is the team to watch out for as they have been playing good cricket. They have a good outside chance,” said the former right-arm batsman and medium pacer.
“Sub-continental teams have the same style and you can’t predict who is favourite. It depends on how well they can handle the pressure on the day and how well you plan.”
Sandeep kumar (IANS)