India news September 4, 2014

India strong contenders for World Cup - Tendulkar

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sachin Tendulkar has said that defending champions India were strong contenders for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand due to the versatility of their team. After being battered in the Test series in England, India hit form in the ODIs, and took the series with a commanding nine-wicket win in Edgbaston. They lead the series 3-0 with one match to play.

"India is definitely among the strong contenders for the title. It is a well balanced side and is tough to beat," Tendulkar told the Hindu. "It is a versatile ODI team. There is depth in batting and variety in bowling. And the fielding has been brilliant."

The turnaround for India started at Cardiff, where Suresh Raina, who joined in for the ODIs, rescued the team with a century before annihilating England with spin. Since then, the team has shown improvement with every game, with the seamers picking up wickets too. At Edgbaston, Ajinkya Rahane continued to show good form and registered his maiden ODI century while Shikhar Dhawan, who had been out of form, added an unbeaten 97. Tendulkar said the current composition boded well.

"If you look at batting, there is a good mix of the right and the left-handers," he said. "When a right-left combination is at the crease, it becomes a lot harder for the bowlers. They have to find the right line. In bowling, the Indians have been bowling well in partnerships. There are some good pace and spin options at different stages of the innings."

Tendulkar was also hopeful that India would fight back in Tests in future. "I know the cricketers in this Indian team," he said. "I know what they are capable of. This team will come back in Tests. I want to look at things with a positive mindset.

"Look at the way the Indians have come back in the one-day series. The team has shown a lot of fight."