When this team left India, some comparisons were being made with the situation that the team I captained faced back in 2000. We went to Nairobi and reached the final of the ICC Knockout even as the Central Bureau of Investigation was inquiring into match-fixing.
As players, there’s nothing you can do about it. What happens in the board is beyond our control. The players just have to get on with the game. India have played extremely well in their two games so far, and hopefully they can continue that. I want to see an Indian team that does well both home and away.
Have India found a core group for the 2015 World Cup? I believe it’s still far too early to jump to any conclusions. Let’s give this team a year and then judge them. The problem in India is that when we don’t play well, we write people off very quickly. When we play well, we’re top of the world. Let’s give this side some time.
A very experienced group of players has been replaced over the past few months, and the new boys are doing well. But there are no guarantees in sport. You have to stand up every day and perform. I see a lot of ability in Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja. There’s a lot of talent in that squad.
Jadeja is a great example of the patience that I spoke about earlier. Maybe he wasn’t ready when he first came into the side. But look at how the crowds appreciate him now. That’s how the world works. I hope he gets better, because he’s done very well so far. For a spinner to get five wickets in these conditions speaks volumes of his improvement. But let these players go around the world and play in different conditions. Let’s not expect too much too soon.
Jadeja’s strength is that he keeps things very tight, and his line is very good. He doesn’t usually turn the ball much. When it’s cold and wet and the surface is not too helpful, it’s hard to get too much spin anyway. His strength has been that wicket-to-wicket line.
Dhawan is another who has really come on well. The Test hundred against Australia, the knock against South Africa and then the West Indies innings – they’ve all been superb. For me, he and Kohli are the players to watch.
As for Rohit Sharma, he should consider himself very fortunate to get the opportunity to open the batting. It’s the best place to bat in One-Day International cricket. Quite a few of the most successful batsmen in ODI cricket were middle-order players in the longer form of the game. I don’t think it should be a problem for him to adjust.
India’s spinners have performed much better than the pace bowlers so far. I want to see the seamers bowling a lot better. But if India are to win this tournament, they’ll have to keep batting well – that’s how we’ve always won overseas. They’ve looked good because they’ve put 300 on the board. If you look at the last tour of England, when India didn’t win a single Test or ODI, they just couldn’t get enough runs on the board. When India bat well, they always have a chance.