Team Director confident that MS Dhoni's men will maintain India's 100 per cent win record against Pakistan in World Cups when the arch-rivals square up at Adelaide Oval on Sunday
Adelaide: India’s Team Director Ravi Shastri is supremely confident that despite being vulnerable, the Men in Blue will maintain their 100 per cent win record against Pakistan in the World Cup when they take on their arch-rivals here on Sunday.
India skipper MS Dhoni (left) with Team Director Ravi Shastri at the Adelaide Oval last December. Pic/Getty Images
“We are the defending champions. We will definitely beat them (Pakistan). We may have not won many matches here recently, but I think on that day India will win against Pakistan,” Shastri told mid-day yesterday.
It is not just the five out of five past record that makes Shastri so confident of victory. “Our form is not the best, but we will improve it. This gives me confidence. It’s a fact that India have not lost a match against Pakistan in the World Cup. I am not confident only because of past record, but on paper, we are a better side. We need big partnerships to be in a commanding position. Pakistan is a good team, but on Sunday, we will win,” Shastri said emphatically.
The Indian team have been in Australia for nearly three months, but registered their first win only on Tuesday in their second warm-up match against Afghanistan. Shastri, however, was unfazed. “So what? We are a big side and we will win,” he stated.
The Indians’ preparation has been marred by injuries to key bowlers. Premier pacer Ishant Sharma was last week ruled out due to injury. There are fitness concerns regarding Bhuvneshwar Kumar as well. “Every team has got some problems. One has to move ahead with these problems... simple,” said Shastri.
The pace bowling seems to be India’s biggest weak link. “It is a problem, but I feel with passage of time our bowlers will improve. Let the tournament begin. I am confident they will improve,” he said.
Shastri also said Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will open the Indian innings. “So far, this is our plan. We would like to have a left and right combination,” he said.
So, Ajinkya Rahane will bat in the middle order? “Exactly. We want solidity in the middle order. If we lose early wickets, we need batsmen in the middle order to take the score forward. Suresh Raina, Rahane and Dhoni will bat at four, five and six respectively,” said Shastri.