Australia have sealed their place at the summit of the ICC Men’s ODI rankings by dethroning Pakistan
South Africa’s batting great feels India has a strong squad but their only worry would be expectations of a home ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. India announced their squad for the upcoming Cricket World Cup recently. The Rohit Sharma-led team has its fair share of experienced names and makes up for a strong side on paper.
However, given India’s win in their last home World Cup in 2011, there will be high pressure on the hosts to regain the coveted trophy. Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers, who has seen Indian cricket from close quarters in recent years, talked about the team’s chances on his YouTube channel. He was worried that despite having a powerful squad, the Men in Blue might be bothered by the pressure of a home World Cup.
“I think India’s squad is incredible, really, really strong. Captain Rohit, Hardik Pandya [is the] vice-captain,” de Villiers said.
“The only worry I have for India is playing at home. Last time they played in India, they won. There will be huge pressure. That’s the only big obstacle in my opinion.”
But if they manage to control the same, he expects them to go a long way in the tournament.
“But go fearless. And that is exactly the word I’m talking about. Forget about the pressure of the nation, that’s something you can’t control. Control what you can control. Fearless is the word I’m looking for in the Indian squad. If they can do that, they’ll go a long way and most probably lift that trophy.”
Among India’s squad members is Suryakumar Yadav, who will have a role to play in the middle-order.
Suryakumar’s ODI form has been an enigma. While he took to the T20I format with ease, his ODI numbers have been far from impressive. The Mumbai batter averages 24.33 in the format.
De Villiers believes Suryakumar needed only a tiny mind switch to crack the ODI code.
“I am very relieved to see SKY in the World Cup squad, I’m very happy about it. You guys know I’m a big fan [of Suryakumar]. He plays in a similar manner to how I used to play, but in ODIs, he hasn’t cracked it yet.
Former cricketer Venkatesh Prasad also feels that the Indian team are strong contender for the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup from October 5 in India. The former pacer believes that the Indian team is in possession of a “good squad” but the support from the fan base will also play a crucial role in their journey.
He urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to ensure that the experience of the fans should be easy and smooth in comparison to previous years.
“We have a good team and are strong contenders for the World Cup but we need genuine fans inside the stadium cheering for the team and their experience needs to be far smoother and easier than what it has been, and for that the BCCI needs to do far better than they have done so far. It is a reflection of the country as a whole and we as a nation should not be let down at any cost,” Prasad posted on X (formerly Twitter).
Meanwhile, Australia have sealed their place at the summit of the ICC Men’s ODI rankings by dethroning Pakistan following their dominant display against South Africa in the 2nd ODI of the three-match ODI series. Days after the ‘Men in Green’ took their place at the top of the table in the Men’s ODI Team Rankings, Australia reclaimed their spot with a win in the second ODI against South Africa.
Ever the dominant ODI side, Australia have continued doing well in the limited overs format. In the 2022 season, they lost a closely-fought series against Sri Lanka away from home. Their hiccups continued after reaching the Australian continent when they were humbled by Zimbabwe in a dead rubber after having won the series. However, the Kangaroos followed that with a 3-0 drubbing of regional rivals New Zealand at home.
In November 2022, they whitewashed England 3-0, again at home. They then went on to beat India in India in March 2023. With the win against South Africa in Bloemfontein, they have now taken a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.