ICC World Cup: SA will find it tough if Raina & Kohli click, says Boycott
Geoff Boycott reckons if Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina do a repeat of their Adelaide show, India will be very hard to beat on Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
Melbourne: England skipper Eoin Morgan was quoted as saying that Geoffrey Boycott "tends to be critical 24/7" after the former captain slammed the side for its 111-run loss to Australia last week.
India's Virat Kohli (left) and Suresh Raina cross each other while taking a single against Pakistan in their World Cup opener at the Adelaide Oval last Sunday. Pic/Getty Images
Not quite, at least when it comes to India. "More than the Indians' brilliance, it was the warped planning by the Pakistan team that led to the result in the India vs Pakistan game on Sunday," Boycott told mid-day.
He added: "Pakistan allowed India to win and the Indians quietly achieved their goal. If you are keen to steal singles, half the job is done because by doing so, the opposition bowlers lose rhythm and the scoreboard keeps ticking. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan fought well and hard in the opening overs."
The former England captain who is here to do commentary for BBC is delighted by the way India's middle order batsman Suresh Raina rose to the challenge and delivered a fearsome punch to Pakistan.
Boycott watched in admiration as Kohli and Raina put on 110 runs for the third wicket after India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss.
"Pakistan did well in the first 10 overs, but on Raina's arrival, India accelerated very intelligently. Except when it comes to the short ball, I would say Raina is a master batsman of one-day cricket. I don't want to see him playing Test cricket and it's just not his cup of tea," said Boycott.
Geoff Boycott with the World Cup
"When I put on my television set in Cape Town, I was surprised to see him in India's line-up for the Sydney Test. And he got a duck, but he is a wonderful one-day player and India should expect to reach 300 each time he is in an attacking mode."
If India enjoy an invincible 6-0 World Cup record against Pakistan, they have yet to beat South Africa on the biggest stage of all. In 1992, South Africa romped home to a six-wicket win in Adelaide while India could not beat them at Hove in 1999. In the last World Cup, the Proteas surpassed India's 296 in the last over of the game.
Without doubt, Sunday's game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground will be a tough one for the defending champions.
But, Boycott seemed confident of India putting up yet another fine show. "I will not be surprised if India keep improving after this win against Pakistan," he said. "It was a good decision to push Raina at No 4 against Pakistan and if I've read India's situation right, I think Kohli will be given the sheet anchor role.
"If Raina and Kohli bat together for 10 overs, India will have no problems in making a big score. I am a big fan of Indian cricket and their positive result could be the turning point in this competition. They can go a long way if they can play intelligently," Boycott concluded.