Gavaskar hopes luck stays with India during the World Cup


Sunil Gavaskar knows what it takes to lead a team to a global title, having done that in the 1985 World Championship of Cricket in Australia where all the seven Test teams of that time participated.

Asked to spell out what is the key to be a successful captain, Gavaskar said the common factor in India’s three winning sides was all-rounders.(Hindustan Times)

There are only two others who have captained India to victory in a multi-team 50-overs tournament, Kapil Dev at the 1983 World Cup and Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy. Success has eluded India since then in ICC tournaments. Skippers Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have tried in vain to transform skilful sides into world-beaters.

This October-November presents India a perfect opportunity to break that barren run when India hosts the ODI World Cup and a lot of focus will be on skipper Rohit Sharma.

Asked to spell out what is the key to be a successful captain, Gavaskar said the common factor in India’s three winning sides was all-rounders. “More than anything else, luck of the day is very important and if you look at the teams (in 1983, 1985 and 2011), they all had top class all-rounders. You had batters who could bowl 7-8-9 overs and bowlers who could bat down the order. That was the biggest plus of those teams. You see MSD’s team also: Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag could all bowl. It was the biggest plus. So, any team which has all-rounders (will hold the edge).

“You look at England who won last year’s T20 World Cup, look at the all-rounders they had. So, all-rounders are the key element,” Gavaskar said on the sidelines of a promotional event. He was unveiled as the principal advisor of Midwicket Stories, which is a platform for cricketing legends to enthrall audiences by sharing their interesting experiences, on and off the field.

For Rohit Sharma, who has had a distinguished ODI career, the next three months will define his captaincy. His first challenge is to help India win the Asia Cup in a strong field, which includes co-hosts Pakistan and Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Asked to assess Rohit Sharma’s captaincy, Gavaskar said: “At the end of the day you are judged by the number of trophies you have won, the numbers of wins you have. Winning these two tournaments will make him one of India’s greatest skippers.”

The Asia Cup starting on Wednesday will be extra important for India as the team finds itself in a situation where three of its key players are returning from long injury lay-offs. Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and designated No.4 bat Shreyas Iyer had lower back surgeries and keeper-batter KL Rahul is back after thigh surgery. Bumrah made his injury comeback in the Ireland T20 series while the Asia Cup will be the comeback event for Iyer and Rahul.

“It is important… it will be more a testing ground for those who are coming back from three-four months’ lay-offs. Hopefully, they will come through; it will solve a lot of problems.”

There are 38 days left for the World Cup. While injuries are beyond the team management’s control, the former India captain was satisfied with the preparation plan leading into the two events. “(Overall preparation is) as good as any. They have had enough rest, enough practice, they are all refreshed and raring to go,” said Gavaskar, emphasising on the luck factor.

“We have got immense talent, (but) in the knockout stage you need a little bit of luck on the day. If you look at our situation in the knockout stages where we have lost, we had ill-luck just about every time.

“At the last World Cup (2019) we had a match (semifinal versus New Zealand) which stretched into the second day. If it had gone the proper full day we might have had a different story, because the next day it was seaming conditions and the New Zealand bowlers could bowl well. So, I think you need a little bit of luck on the day. I mean there are four-five very good teams, so you need luck on the day.”


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