South Africa legend feels overcoming pressure can boost India’s CWC23 chances
India announced their squad for the upcoming Cricket World Cup recently. The Rohit Sharma-led team has its fair share of experienced names and makes up for a strong side on paper.
However, given India’s win in their last home World Cup in 2011, there will be high pressure on the hosts to regain the coveted trophy.
Former South Africa great AB de Villiers, who has seen Indian cricket from close quarters in recent years, talked about the team's chances on his YouTube channel. He was worried that despite having a powerful squad, the Men in Blue might be bothered by the pressure of a home World Cup.
“I think India's squad is incredible, really, really strong. Captain Rohit, Hardik Panday [is the] vice-captain,” de Villiers said. “The only worry I have for India is playing at home. Last time they played in India, they won. There will be huge pressure. That's the only big obstacle in my opinion.”
But if they manage to control the same, he expects them to go a long way in the tournament.
“But go fearless. And that is exactly the word I’m talking about. Forget about the pressure of the nation, that’s something you can’t control. Control what you can control. Fearless is the word I'm looking for in the Indian squad. If they can do that, they'll go a long way and most probably lift that trophy.”
Among India's squad members is Suryakumar Yadav, who will have a role to play in the middle-order.
Suryakumar's ODI form has been an enigma. While he took to the T20I format with ease, his ODI numbers have been far from impressive. The Mumbai batter averages 24.33 in the format.
De Villiers believes Suryakumar needed only a tiny mind switch to crack the ODI code.
“I am very relieved to see SKY in the World Cup squad, I'm very happy about it. You guys know I'm a big fan [of Suryakumar]. He plays in a similar manner to how I used to play, but in ODIs, he hasn't cracked it yet.
“It is a tiny little mind switch that he's got to make, and he's got all the ability and capabilities that he needs to do that. I hope he gets this opportunity in this World Cup. I’m not sure [if that will happen] yet. Looking at the balance of the Indian squad, he might not start. But the World Cup is a long tournament. So let's see what happens then.”
India will play two warm-ups against England and Netherlands before the tournament and will kick off their World Cup campaign against Australia on 8 October.