New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) South Africa batting great AB de Villiers feels India has a strong squad ahead of playing in the Men’s ODI World Cup starting next month, but believes the only worry he sees for Rohit Sharma & Co would be expectations of playing the showpiece event at home.
India, the 1983 and 2011 champions, will open its 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup campaign against Australia on October 8 in Chennai. “I think India's squad is incredible, really, really strong. Captain Rohit, Hardik Pandya (is the) vice-captain.”
“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,” said de Villiers on his YouTube channel.
At the same time, de Villiers feels if India manage to control the expectations around them, then 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.”
De Villiers also believes T20I batting maverick Suryakumar Yadav needs only a tiny mindset switch to crack the ODI batting code. Suryakumar’s ODI batting average stands at a paltry 24.33.
“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.”
“It is a tiny little mind switch that he's got to make, and he's got all the ability and capabilities that he needs to do that. I hope he gets this opportunity in this World Cup. I’m not sure (if that will happen) yet. Looking at the balance of the Indian squad, he might not start. But the World Cup is a long tournament. So let's see what happens then.”
After the Asia Cup ends on September 17, India will play three ODIs at home against Australia from September 22-27. They will then play warm-up matches against England and the Netherlands on September 30 and October 3 respectively, before starting their Men’s ODI World Cup campaign.