A miserable Test series against Australia and a winless run in the tri-series which also included England may have left India vulnerable as far as defending the World Cup is concerned. 

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar during a promotional event on Saturday. Pic/Atul Kamble

But cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar, who was part of India’s 2011 World Cup-winning campaign, backed underfire Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men to retain the Cup. “Earlier I batted for India on the field, now I continue to bat for India off the field. Something that really matters to a sportsman is genuine support and that is what I would like to extend,” the legendary batsman said at the unveiling of the MRF’s special edition World Cup tyre ZSport on Saturday.

Tendulkar urged fans to support the team during tough times. “Obviously we all want them to go out and thrash the opposition and win each and every match. That’s not possible. Sometimes you have to accept defeat and that can also turn out to be a learning experience in a tournament like World Cup.

‘Back our players’
“There are going to be obstacles and difficult moments. If Indian fans are with them, it becomes inspiring for the players to move forward, knowing that the nation is not sitting on top of their heads but the nation is moving ahead with them,” he said.

Tendulkar, who retired from the game in November 2013, said that he is looking forward to the experience being the ambassador of the sport from the sidelines.

“Being a World Cup ambassador is truly an honour as life has come full circle for me — from being a ball boy at Wankhede (in 1987) to winning the World Cup at the same venue.

“Unlike 2011 when I was the ambassador when I was playing, I am looking forward to this new experience when I am not part of the team,” he said.