Sachin Tendulkar has said Virat Kohli’s propensity for scoring big runs on a regular basis stands India in good stead ahead of the 2019 World Cup, but that he will need others in the team to step up to the occasion. Tendulkar also backed the current squad composition of the 2011 World Cup champions. Tendulkar had himself been a part of the 2011 team, alongside Virat Kohli.
Talking about India’s chances of reclaiming the World Cup crown and the responsibility on Kohli, Tendulkar told PTI on Wednesday, "You will always have a couple of inpiduals stepping up every game, but without team support, you can’t do much. Just because of one inpidual, you can’t win a tournament. No way. Unless others chip in at every crucial stage. If that doesn’t happen, there will be disappointment."
Tendulkar said he likes the blend of youth and experience in the 15-man India squad. "There is a good balance in the side. We have a number of guys with 8-10 years of experience and at the same time we have talented youngsters like Kuldeep Yadav, KL Rahul, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah with a couple of years of international cricket," he said.
Tendulkar brushed off concerns about who would play at No.4 for India, saying different batsmen can adjust to play at the position according to the requirement of the situation. "I particularly don’t see Number 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," he said.
However, Tendulkar expressed some unhappiness with how the balance of ODIs is being skewed towards batsmen with every passing day. "It’s become one-sided with the 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.
Lamenting how the challenge of facing reverse swing has been taken out of the equation with the introduction of two new balls, Tendulkar said, "When we played and there was one new ball, it would start reversing from the 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."
Referring to the high-scoring nature of the England-Pakistan ODIs, Tendulkar suggested that either pitches be prepared to assist bowlers more or that the rule to have two new balls is abolished so that bowlers can avail of reverse swing.
Temdulkar also predicted that leg spinners will be the most successful breed of bowlers at the 2019 World Cup, adding that the presence of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal bodes well for Kohli’s team.