MELBOURNE: India’s 1983 World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev feels the growing self belief of the Indian cricket team that they can win regularly outside their own borders could hold them in good stead to defend the 2015 World Cup title in Australia and New Zealand.
Indian sides have notoriously played like champs at home and chumps overseas, but Kapil thinks the country’s triumph at this year’s Champions Trophy in the United Kingdom could prove to be a pivotal moment on the road to the game’s showpiece event in early 2015.
“I think recently it’s happening, they start believing, it’s the self-belief,” Kapil said at the tournament launch on Tuesday.
“I think the Champions Trophy, winning it, has given them a very big strength within themselves.
“We are just hoping we carry on playing the way we are playing,” he said.
Kapil said the influx of international players to India for the annual IPL tournament and the subsequent exchange of thoughts and ideas on the game had helped change the mindset of India’s cricketers.
“I think possibly the thought processes have changed and that’s a good thing for the Indian team,” he said.
A key reason behind India’s struggles in Australia in particular has been their inability to adapt to different conditions and while Kapil admitted that would be an issue, he felt his country still had the ability to become just the third team in history to achieve back-to-back World Cup titles.
“Our team looks quite good, they have the ammunition to win the World Cup so I hope they can play good cricket,” Kapil said.
“It’s very tough to win in Australia because the conditions is not exactly the way Indian teams like to have but I think they have the team that can win the World Cup.
“I hope they are not peaking too early,” Kapil quipped. The 54-year-old’s confidence is based mainly on the successful transition India’s ODI side has undergone which has seen them winning series against England and Zimbabwe as well as the Champions Trophy this year.
“When your greats go out of the team like Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, after playing for 15 years, it takes time to rebuild the team,” Kapil said.
“But this new team with (MS) Dhoni being the captain, the young boys have come out, (Ravindra) Jadeja, you can say (Shikhar) Dhawan, who really have taken the place.”
Talking about ICC associate and affiliate teams, Kapil said the only way these sides will improve is if they play more regularly against the established nations’ second-tier sides rather than being thrown in the deep end every four years against the best teams in the world at each World Cup.
“If you really ask me to promote that, I think India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies their second XI teams should travel to these type of countries to give them more exposure,” Kapil said.
“Until they play with the better players, they can’t raise their standard,” he said.