India kick off its ICC World Cup campaign against South Africa at Southampton’s Rose Bowl on June 5 and Patil felt hosts England are strong title contenders
As Virat Kohli & Co prepare to embark on their World Cup (May 30 to July 14) journey to England next week, former national chief selector and India’s 1983 World Cup-winning team member Sandeep Patil had some words of advice for the Men in Blue. “Individual performances don’t matter. What’s important is to play and contribute as a team,” Patil, 62, told mid-day recently.
India kick off its ICC World Cup campaign against South Africa at Southampton’s Rose Bowl on June 5 and Patil felt hosts England are strong title contenders. “There is England which is a strong contender, there is India, West Indians are dark horses, the Australians are peaking well.
There is Afghanistan, so you can’t run any team down. Remember, at the 2003 World Cup, Kenya reached the semi-finals. You have to play good cricket. It’s a journey, it is not one match, nor is it a three or five-match series. There are nine games [to play]. It’s very important for the Indian team to peak at the right time. And rather than depending on individual players, the responsibility should be shared by all 15 members of the squad. Only then will we stand a good chance of reaching the semis,” said Patil, who scored 216 runs in eight games while batting at No. 4 and 5 during the 1983 World Cup. Contrary to popular belief, he felt that players should not worry about the English weather conditions.
“It [weather conditions] is not different from ours. If Sandeep Patil succeeded in scoring runs there [in England] then any batsman can [Patil scored a 100 in his first Test in England]. I’m sure these Indian players are 100 times better than me.
“I have played enough cricket in England and never failed in those conditions. Let me assure you that this World Cup in England will provide the best batting wickets. It’s up to the players to take advantage of it,” added Patil, who scored a 32-ball unbeaten 51 against England at Old Trafford in Manchester in 1983.
Patil is particularly pleased to see the current Indian team’s fielding prowess. “This Indian team have brilliant fielders. In 1960s and 70s there would be jokes cracked on Indian fielders but now it’s nice to see our fielders being appreciated by the world.”