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Posted at: May 23, 2019, 7:36 AM; last updated: May 23, 2019, 7:36 AM (IST)

Virat alone can’t win World Cup, others need to step up: Sachin

Tendulkar says No. 4 batting slot can be kept flexible as per requirement, match situation

New Delhi, May 22

Stacking up staggering numbers with monotonic regularity may have become a day job for Virat Kohli, but he can in “no way” win the World Cup without support from his teammates, feels Sachin Tendulkar.

“I think you will always have a couple of individuals stepping up every game but without team support, you can’t do much. Just because of one individual, you can not win a tournament. No way. Unless, others chip in at every crucial stage. If that doesn’t happen, there will be disappointment,” Tendulkar said when asked if Kohli will carry the same burden that Tendulkar himself did during the 1996, 1999 and 2003 editions.

Tendulkar is not worried that India do not have a settled No. 4 batsman, saying the slot can be kept flexible as per requirement and match situation. “I think we have batsmen who can do the job. No. 4 is just a number and it can be adjusted. I do not see No. 4 as a problem. Our boys have played enough cricket to know their roles whether it is No. 4, 6 or 8. Situational awareness is the key,” the world’s highest run-getter in Tests and ODIs said.

Advantage batsmen

However, Tendulkar is not entirely happy with how the balance of ODIs is skewed towards batsmen, taking bowlers out of equation in white-ball cricket with every passing day. “It’s become one-sided with introduction of two new balls and flat pitches have made lives of bowlers much more difficult. One team is scoring 350 and the other is chasing down inside 45 overs,” Tendulkar said in reference to the recent England versus Pakistan series where bowlers had a nightmarish time. What Tendulkar finds even more disappointing is that reverse swing has been taken out of the equation with two new balls. “The ball is staying hard. When was the last time you saw reverse swing in ODIs?” questioned the iconic batsman. “When we played there was one new ball, it would start reversing from 28th or 30th over. Some teams could get it to reverse even earlier. At the death, the ball would go soft, even get discoloured. These were challenges that batsmen faced. But now the ball remains hard and the bats are getting better,” said Tendulkar, who featured in six World Cups.

The quality of the balls (white kookaburra) has also become a factor, felt Tendulkar, who sees no lateral movement on flat tracks to challenge the batsmen. “I think some thought needs to go into this. Either prepare helpful tracks if you have two new balls so that there is some help upfront. Else go back to the old one new ball system which aids reverse swing. Whatever but do something for the bowlers,” he said.

Wrist-spinners key

According to him, wrist-spinners are the one breed of bowlers who will do well, and India have two in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. The Australians read the duo quite well during the home series in India but the maestro said that it won’t matter much in England. “There are a number of bowlers who have been read well by batters but yet they end up getting a lot of wickets. So, Kuldeep and Chahal shouldn’t be too worried about Oz series,” he said. — PTI

Khawaja hurt as Aus crush WI by 7 wkts

Southampton: Australia eased to a seven wicket victory over West Indies in the first of their three warm-up games in the lead up to the ODI World Cup. Batting first, West Indies scored 229 in 49.2 overs after being reduced to 104/6 at one stage. Australia chased the target in 38.2 overs with Steve Smith (76) and Shaun Marsh (55) scoring half-centuries. Usman Khawaja was retired hurt for 5 after an Andre Russell bouncer struck him on the helmet. He went to hospital for scans on his jaw. 

Brief Scores: WI: 229 in 49.2 overs (E Lewis 50, C Brathwaite 60; M Starc 2/34, G Maxwell 2/14; Aus: 230/3 in 38.2 overs (S Smith 76, S Marsh 55*; R Reifer 1/17) — PTI

This World Cup special for England: Vaughan

London: In-form England have the “best opportunity” to break their title jinx in the ODI World Cup and they will be at the heart of what promises to be a “special” showpiece event, said former captain Michael Vaughan (in pic). “It’s the best opportunity in my time for England — I remember 1992 as a youngster, watching that final at college. They got to the semifinals of the Champions Trophy two years ago but didn’t get over the line on that occasion. They’ve got to see that as a real positive experience and if they get into the semis again, play smart cricket,” he said. Vaughan also termed England’s 15-man World Cup squad as the best he has ever seen. “This England squad is the best I’ve seen. They have earned the right to be favourites,” Vaughan was quoted as saying. — PTI

Determined to prove Arthur wrong: Riaz 

Lahore: Left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz, who has been named in the Pakistan squad for the World Cup, is raring to go and prove coach Mickey Arthur wrong in the showpiece event. Wahab’s last ODI was in the Champions Trophy 2017 against India in Birmingham, while he last represented Pakistan in the Dubai Test against Australia in October 2018. Back in April 2018, Arthur had criticised Wahab’s “work ethic” and brought up the fact that he had not “won us a game in two years”. “I can’t explain in words the pain I have gone through, but I don’t want to live in the past. That’s history now,” Wahab said before leaving for England. “Now it’s about what we are going to do in the World Cup. Obviously it’s the coach’s duty to get the best results from the players, and he wants players that can win matches for the team. I also wanted to be in the team, the only difference is I missed two years of international cricket. Now I am in and want to prove him (Arthur) wrong and justify my opportunity,” he added. — PTI

Bowlers scared of me but won’t admit: Gayle

London: Self-proclaimed Universe Boss Chris Gayle boasted that bowlers across the world are “scared” of him but would not admit it on camera. “Youngsters coming at my head — it’s not as easy as it was like one time before. I was quicker then. But they’ll be weary. They know what the Universe Boss is capable of. I’m sure they will have it in the back of their mind, ‘Hey, this is the most dangerous batsman they’ve ever seen in cricket’,” Gayle said.  — PTI


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