Fitness only concern for India ahead of World Cup: Kumble

Last Updated: Feb 05, 2011, 15:25 PM IST

Bangalore: Former Test captain Anil Kumble reckons it is India`s best chance to lift the ODI World Cup after 1983 but fitness of players would be a major concern and ending the 28-year-old jinx would depend on whether the squad remains injury-free during the event.

"My only concern is the fitness of the guys. If they can last the entire tournament without injuries, we could certainly regain the Cup," Kumble said ahead of the February 19 to March 2 mega-event to be held in the sub-continent.

Kumble said along with India, defending champions Australia, South Africa, and Sri Lanka are the other
favourites for the coveted trophy.

"We have a very bright chance, probably it is our best opportunity to win the Cup," said Kumble.

Kumble weighed the advantages that India had to win back the title, last won by Kapil`s Devils in 1983.

"We have lot of advantages going into the tournament. The form of the players is encourgaing. The quality of players is good. There are some all-rounders as well who can chip in with both bat and ball," emphasised Kumble, who was part of the Indian World Cup campaigns in 1996 (at home), 1999 (England), 2003 (South Africa) and 2007 (West Indies).

India`s most successful bowler feels the sub-continental dustbowls would be of great advantage to India.

"Besides the form and quality of players, the pitches would suit our game. We know our conditions too well. We know what we can expect," said Kumble, who as president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, has dedicated his time for the conduct of the World Cup matches in the City.

Talking about the disappointment of losing the 1996 semifinals and the 2003 finals, Kumble said: "We came very close to winning. It was disappointing that we could not get to do what we were capable as a team. Each time we got close and lost, we knew we had to wait for a long time as the World Cup is played only once in four years."

Asked if Sachin Tendulkar, who will be playing his sixth successive World Cup, will be under pressure to deliver in front of the home crowd, Kumble said: "He has been around for 21 years. So there is no question of him being under pressure."

PTI