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World Cup 2023: Yuvraj Singh Backs Current Indian WC Squad to be Able to Handle Pressure And Secure the Title

The Player of the Tournament during India’s iconic 2011 World Cup campaign on home soil, said that he believes that each member of the Indian squad for the World Cup 2023, has the ability to handle pressure and put their bodies on the line for India to win the 2023 ICC ODI World Cup.

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10 years have gone by since India last won an ICC event, their last coming in 2013 in the Champions Trophy, in England. Since then the prestigious title has eluded Indian cricket.

But with the trend of hosting nations winning the last three Men’s ODI World Cups, coupled with Asia Cup triumph and 2-1 series win over Australia, there is some optimism over the Indian team breaking a decade-long drought of a global trophy this time.

“It’s been a while since we won an ICC trophy. We played two finals (of the World Test Championship in 2021 and 2023) and I think it might be the last World Cup for a couple of guys in the team,” said Yuvraj in an exclusive interview with IANS.

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“I feel everybody has to put their body on the line and need to give it their all to win this World Cup. The format is different and if you reach the semi-final stage, you will face pressure straight away in a big game. So, I feel it’s also about handling pressure too,” he said.

India, the 1983 and 2011 champions, will open its campaign against five-time champions Australia on October 8 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Yuvraj said that Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England can pose a stiff challenge to India in the World Cup.

“Australia has always been a formidable side and has won many titles before. They have the knack of winning pressure games. I also feel New Zealand is a very good team, while England is also a very good ODI side and South Africa is doing well too.”

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The 2011 World Cup had seen a spinner in Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi being the joint leading wicket-taker (21 scalps) alongside India’s left-arm fast-bowler Zaheer Khan. Yuvraj reckons bowlers will have a decisive say in winning matches and expects spinners to be key in middle-overs while adding that dew will come into play during the competition.

“The thing is, most of the games are starting in the afternoon. In India, most wickets are such that one can score lots of runs on them. Going in November, the weather is going to change. In some games, it might swing, while in the evening, the dew factor might come in.”

“Plus, you might get to see some wickets where the ball will spin. I always feel that spinners are the type of bowlers who will matter a lot in the middle overs. I feel we have really good bowlers to get ten wickets. In this World Cup, bowlers are going to win you most of the games.”

Due to the introduction of two new balls right after the 2011 World Cup ended, along with current rules mandating the presence of five fielders inside the 30-yard circle during the 11-40 overs phase, it means that India hasn’t got any part-time bowlers.

None of their top six batters roll their arm over regularly, which is completely opposite of the 2011 side, where Yuvraj bowled 75 overs and got 15 wickets, apart from making 362 runs with the bat, in a memorable World Cup campaign at home in 2011.

“See, the thing is that rules have changed. Now we have five fielders in the circle. So, it becomes difficult for a part-time bowler to bowl in the middle overs. Then, in this kind of format, you would require five proper bowlers.”

“This is why the part-time spinner doesn’t come into the picture anymore. If these rules had been there when we were playing in the World Cup in 2011, it would have been a big struggle for us to bowl too,” stated Yuvraj on the diminishing role of part-timers in ODIs.

Yuvraj, who retired from international cricket in 2019, signed off by saying the basic point of him being involved with Vicks, who launched a World Cup anthem in the national capital on Friday, was to bring the whole country together in supporting the Indian team for the upcoming World Cup.

“It doesn’t matter what ethnicity you come from when it comes to such a big stage, the whole country is together and will be supporting the Indian team. It makes for a great campaign and is something which brings out a human side too, as it gives a message of ‘we are here for you and will be cheering for you all the way’.”

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – IANS)

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