As the euphoria around Virat Kohli-orchestrated Indian win over Pakistan is still settling, the 1983 World Cup-winning member Madan Lal says the ‘Men in Blue’ must not rely on the heroics of just one or two players if they are to lift the T20 World Cup trophy. Kohli was at his imperious best against a decent Pakistan attack as he single-handedly piloted India to memorable four-wicket win at the iconic MCG on Sunday.
His 53-ball unbeaten 82 is being celebrated as one of the greatest T20 knocks.
Former India pacer Madan Lal feels India’s openers need to provide a solid start and it’s too early to say if the momentum is with India after just one victory since “in T20 cricket you never know.” “Virat Kohli’s innings was amazing. I have never seen an innings like that but Virat Kohli is not going to win you every match. It’s such a big tournament. It can’t be won by one person,” Lal told PTI in an interview.
“Australian pitches are suited to Kohli’s game. He runs the ones, twos, and three and uses the big grounds to his advantage. In between, he scores the boundaries. He has become mentally tougher.
“Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul have to pull up their socks. Everybody needs to ensure that they are performing and trying their best all the time. And in every game, there will be different heroes,” the 71-year-old added.
The former all-rounder said what India accomplished deserves an applause but there is no scope for complacency in such a high-stake tournament.
“India’s task is yet to be completed. The journey has just begun. Even teams like the Netherlands are not weak teams. In T20, it’s anybody’s game.
“If you win the tournament then only you can say the mission is complete and as an Indian team we have done the job,” he said.
Lal, like many experts, advocated that the final XI has to be dictated by conditions and not by the reputations of the players.
“India must choose their playing XI according to the opponents they play. They should play their pacers and spinners accordingly. The same set of playing XI may not work,” he said.
However, Lal was sure that Rishabh Pant must feature in the playing XI. Team India’s designated finisher Dinesh Karthik took the field against Pakistan. The two keeper-batters have been jostling for place for some time now.
“Pant should always play. He is a match-winner. Even if he plays five games, he is going to win you two games. So that is good enough. You should give him a chance to play five-six matches and you will see the difference,” he said.
India have a relatively easy opponent in the Netherlands in Sydney on Thursday but will have to be at their best against South Africa in Perth on Sunday.
Many feel that India will be favourite to top the Group 2, on their way to the semifinals, but Lal was guarded in his answer.
“I don’t know whether India will go as favourites against South Africa. You have to go match by match. The wicket will come into play. What sort of combination India plays, will also be a factor. It all depends on the playing conditions against South Africa.” Lal, though, strongly believes that India will figure in the knockout stage of the event. “In T20 cricket there are no clear favorites. South Africa is a dark horse. Australia at home is formidable. Sri Lanka is also doing well. England and New Zealand have also done very well. But definitely, India is in the top four brackets along with Australia, South Africa, and England.”
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