New Delhi: The Indian cricket team should have included a left-arm spinner in the World Cup squad to exploit the home conditions better but the co-hosts still stand the best chance to win the trophy, feels former all-rounder Roger Binny.
Binny, who was an aggressive batsman and a useful medium fast bowler, said the presence of a left-arm spinner would have served the Indian cause better as they aim to win the
trophy after close to three decades.
"The team has experienced players, who have played a lot of international matches and World Cup but a left-arm spinner in the present squad would have been a better option," Binny, who played a crucial role in India`s 1983 historic World Cup victory by taking 18 wickets, told reporters in an interview.
"A left-arm spinner would have been useful to create difficult situations for the right and left combination of rival batsmen apart from checking run-rate besides making useful breakthroughs. Otherwise the team has a strong batting line-up and good bowling strength," he added.
The Indian spin attack will be led by off-spinner Harbhajan Singh while leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and R Aswhin are the other slow bowlers in the squad.
Binny said it is a great opportunity for India to win their second world title as they will have the inside out information about the conditions.
But he, like many of his former colleagues, is of the opinion that ground fielding would be crucial in the sub-continental conditions, where batsmen dominate.
"We have the best chance of winning the World Cup with home advantage. The key word for success should be to be focused to win each match to progress to the semi-final. Fielding and catching abilities should be the key word in highest level of cricket," Binny, who scored 830 runs in 27 Tests and 629 runs in 72 ODIs, said.
The Karnataka player, who was not a regular in the national side in his days but proved his worth whenever he got the chance, said the batting department is the strength of the Indian side.
"Batting is going to be our mainstay. We have a lot of solid batsmen and our players up to nine or 10 are capable of chipping in with useful runs," Binny, who took 47 wickets in 27 Tests and scalped 77 batsmen in 72 ODIs, said.
Contrary to the opinion that India will feel the heat of playing before frenzied home crowd, Binny said Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys are very much capable of coping with high expectations.
"They have played a lot of cricket at home. Whether they play at home or overseas, there is bound to be pressure but our players are well experienced to understand this and I am
sure they will perform to their potential," Binny said.
However, he said it was important that the players remained united, and backed each other to the hilt whatever the situation since it becomes crucial in enhancing the overall performance.
"We played well in all situations in 1983 winning match after match though there were some occasions we found difficult times but we were always together.
"We had a couple of all-rounders and the combative spirit was such that even players batting at nine or 10 could score runs for us. These were the important factors that helped us to win," he said.
Not only the Indian skipper but each and every player of the current side has said that coach Gary Kirsten has played a significant role in India`s rise as a cricket power but Binny offered no comments when asked about the same.
"We have four or five experienced players in our ranks. They are the think-tank of the team. There has to be co-ordination between them and the coach. Success comes for a team only when they work as a team. Since I am not a member of the present team, I cannot speak much about his influence," he said.
"Basically, I am not against appointing a foreign coach. I feel that players like Kapil Dev should be given support. The players need to respect and support the coach, be it Gary or Kapil or Ian Botham. After all the game`s success depends on team effort and not on an individual," he added.
Asked what advice he would give to the Indian side for a successful campaign, Binny said, "I wish them the very best. I advise them to go about match by match and win each match so that you do not get in to any situation of equal on points with other qualifier. I expect them to gel well for positive results."