Fri, 23 Aug 2019

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], May 21 (ANI): India team head coach Ravi Shastri on Tuesday said MS Dhoni will be a "big player" in the upcoming ICC Men's Cricket World Cup, beginning May 30 in England and Wales.

"He (Dhoni) has a massive role. As a wicket-keeper, he has shown over the years that there is no one better than him in this format, especially in those little moments which can change the game. Not just taking those catches, but also inflicting those run outs and stumpings," Shastri said at a press conference here, a day before the team leaves for the marquee event.

"His communication with Virat (Kohli) has been fantastic. It was great to see the way he was moving in this Indian Premier League (IPL), especially when he was batting. The footwork and the power with which he was hitting the shots, he will be a big player in this World Cup," the head coach added.

In the World Cup, all 10 teams will face each other in a Round Robin format.

Reflecting on the design of the tournament, Shastri said any team can beat anyone on its given day.

"If you look at the 2015 edition and now 2019, the gap is much closer between the teams. See what Bangladesh and Afghanistan were back then and what they are now. It's a strong competition. Look at the West Indies on paper, they are strong. We saw some of them in the IPL as well. It's going to be fantastic.""Good thing is there are nine games rather than just three or four games. Our mantra is to be flexible and that too according to the conditions. The pitches might be flat but if the overcast conditions change then you got to be up with it," he said.

"In any other country in the world, overcast conditions don't matter much but in England they do and it differs from venue to venue. You have to be prepared to be flexible," he added.

The Indian head coach, however, stressed that the World Cup is a stage which is meant to be enjoyed. While citing the progress of India over the five years, Shastri said, "If we play to our potential then the Cup might be back here.""As far as this tournament is concerned, it's an opportunity. If you look at this team (India) what they've done over the five years? They've played brilliant cricket. It's about striving for that consistency and not just playing differently just because it's a World Cup."England and Pakistan bowlers were hammered in their recently-concluded bilateral series, which England swept with a 4-0 margin.

When asked how Indian bowlers will adjust, Shastri said, "They (Indian bowlers) are not new. They are experienced bowlers. They have been together for the past four-five years and have bowled as a unit.""We had accomplished what we set out to do in the Test match cricket. When it came to bowling as a unit, the endeavour will be the same in this World Cup wherein each one compliments each other and keeps the pressure right through those 50 overs. They will play with intensity from game one and ball one... be it against anyone," he said.

India will play against New Zealand and Bangladesh on May 25 and 28, respectively, in the warm-up games before opening its World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5 at the Hampshire Bowl, Southampton. (ANI)

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