Manchester: Legendary West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd had just finished his commentary stint with Channel 2 radio in the lead up to India’s run-chase against New Zealand in the first semi-final in Manchester on Wednesday.
Lloyd began his interaction on how “he wished” that he had the same levels of concentration to that of the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, who was celebrating his 70th birthday on July 10.
All of sudden, India lost three wickets as the topic shifted from Gavaskar and the good old West Indian pace attack to India’s middle-order woes.
“Is India over-reliant on Virat Kohli?”
Despite the top-order collapse, Lloyd said that the middle-order “should see India through.”
“You can’t just depend on one or two batsmen. You’ve to have a balance. The middle order should see them through,” Lloyd said. But it wasn’t the case as India went down by 18 runs to New Zealand.
Apart from India's middle order woes, Lloyd opened up on plenty of other topics during the interaction. Excerpts:
Your thoughts on birthday boy Sunil Gavaskar?
He’s a great friend of mine. He was a solid player. What I admire about him is his concentration. It is something I wish I had. He’s been a tower of strength for India. He’s lasted very long. I think people like Sachin (Tendulkar) and a few others would’ve watched him. And they’ve sort of helped their careers along. He’s been an icon. A role model for Indian cricket and for cricket in general. He’s played county cricket too.
Was Gavaskar the best batsman against your attack?
He made a lot of runs against us, but later on, it was a little bit different…he still made runs, though. He made runs against some of the best bowlers of the world, which is why people are so enamoured with him. His record alone shows that he’s an icon.
Would you advice young cricketers back home to watch his video tapes?
If they had his concentration, we’d be way up there!
Is India over-reliant on Virat Kohli?
You can’t just depend on one or two batsmen. You’ve to have a balance. The middle order should see them through.
Do you feel that some of the Indian batsmen’s technique is getting exposed here (against a quality NZ attack)?
I don’t think so. This is just one game. They’ve played New Zealand before. Obviously, before a big game like this, you do a lot of work — analyse the batsmen, the field positions. New Zealand have done their homework.
Your thoughts on the Indian cricket team as such?
I think they’ve a good bowling side, and they’ve got a good fielding side. This is probably the best Indian fielding side that I’ve seen. And when Ravindra Jadeja plays, it goes up. He’s a tremendous cricketer. A lot of them are. And they’re learning a lot, gaining a lot of experience by playing with better players in the IPL.
The Windies began the World Cup well but crashed out of the tournament. What’s your take on that?
They didn’t play well enough. If you don’t play well, you don’t get to the top.
You led a pace attack which the world feared. It was the best attack a captain has ever had in the history of the game. Does India possess a good pace attack at the moment?
The point is, fast bowling isn’t the only thing you should have. You should have a good, balanced side. India has good spinners, pacers, very good batsmen.
Who’s the best captain in the current era?
Kohli has done extremely well. Kane Williamson has done well. They’re two outstanding captains. Aaron Finch who has had captaincy thrust upon him...he’s done well. They’re quite a few good captains, but these three stand out.
Is Kohli your favourite batsman?
He’s a tremendous cricketer. I would pay my money to watch him. And Rohit Sharma too. Five hundreds in a tournament is an excellent feat.