London: Former New Zealand pacer Simon Doull made a scathing remark on the Indian team ahead of the ICC World Cup, saying that their batters are more into playing stats-driven cricket and are too worried about their own stats too often.
India, the 1983 and 2011 champions, will open their World Cup campaign against Australia at the M A Chidambaram in Chennai on October 8.
“Fearless cricket is their issue. They don’t play fearless cricket enough. They play statistics driven cricket and they are too worried about their stats too often. And to me that is the one area I am concerned about their batting side,” said Doull on Sky Sports.
Doull also said India’s inability to play fearlessly in crunch situations has let them down in the recent ICC tournaments. “They have got all the talent and some of the best players if not the best players in the world. But it is about playing fearless cricket at the right time of the tournament and I think that is what had really let them down in the last few World Cups.”
“They don’t go out there and take risks because they are so worried about what might be said or what might be printed or what might someone ask them about their place in the team. That’s the one area I am concerned with.”
Nasser Hussain, the former England captain, agreed with Doull’s views. “The other thing that they will have to overcome is the pressure. Now you would argue that an Indian cricketer is under pressure all the time. But where they have fallen short maybe since 2011 (2013 Champions Trophy) in the ICC events is when they reach to knockout stage.”
“We were there at the Adelaide in the World T20, where they scored a below par score against England and England knocked them off (by ten wickets). In the 2019 World Cup semifinal against New Zealand on a pitch that was doing a little bit, they prodded along.”
“They got to go above par and they have got to play a bit of fearless cricket, when you get to the knockouts stage. When they get to a semifinal and the pressure is on that’s when they still need to play fearless cricket,” he added.
Hussain remarked the only concern he sees for India is that their batters don’t roll their arm over and their bowlers don’t provide much with the bat. “What they probably lack is if you look at their batters, their batters don’t bowl and their bowlers don’t bat. So it’s a different make up to their side to be with an England with all the all-rounders present or Australia with all of their all-rounders.”
Eoin Morgan, England’s 2019 ODI World Cup winning captain, thinks playing in home condition will provide India a massive edge over the other teams, but they need to play fearlessly and shun the outside noise.
“I remember India toured here last summer. Rahul Dravid in one of his initial press conferences as coach said, ‘We want to play fearless cricket.’ They are winning bilateral series all the time but fell short at the T20 World Cup, which was his first test as a new coach.”
“They didn’t get it right in Adelaide but home conditions gives you a certain level of comfort, and habit. They have already grooved over the years that is an advantage the other teams don’t have.”
“So it would be lot easier to blocking down the noise in India because they have done it before but the direction in doing that will come from the captain and coach,” he added.