India has self-belief to retain 2015 World Cup title: Kapil Dev

Melbourne: India`s 1983 World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev feels the growing self belief of the Indian cricket team that they can win regularly outside their own borders could hold them in good stead to defend the 2015 World Cup title in Australia and New Zealand.

Indian sides have notoriously played like champs at home and chumps overseas, but Kapil thinks the country`s triumph at this year`s Champions Trophy in the United Kingdom could prove to be a pivotal moment on the road to the game`s showpiece event in early 2015.

"I think recently it`s happening, they start believing, it`s the self-belief," Kapil said at the tournament launch on Tuesday.

"I think the Champions Trophy, winning it, has given them a very big strength within themselves.”

"We are just hoping we carry on playing the way we are playing," he said.

Kapil said the influx of international players to India for the annual IPL tournament and the subsequent exchange of thoughts and ideas on the game had helped change the mindset of India`s cricketers.

"I think possibly the thought processes have changed and that`s a good thing for the Indian team," he said.

A key reason behind India`s struggles in Australia in particular has been their inability to adapt to different conditions and while Kapil admitted that would be an issue, he felt his country still had the ability to become just the third team in history to achieve back-to-back World Cup titles.

"Our team looks quite good, they have the ammunition to win the World Cup so I hope they can play good cricket," Kapil said.

"It`s very tough to win in Australia because the conditions are not exactly the way Indian teams like to have but I think they have the team that can win the World Cup.”

"I hope they are not peaking too early," Kapil quipped.

The 54-year-old`s confidence is based mainly on the successful transition India`s ODI side has undergone which has seen them winning series against England and Zimbabwe as well as the Champions Trophy this year.

"When your greats go out of the team like Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, after playing for 15 years, it takes time to rebuild the team," Kapil said.

"But this new team with (MS) Dhoni being the captain, the young boys have come out, (Ravindra) Jadeja, you can say (Shikhar) Dhawan, who really have taken the place."

Talking about ICC associate and affiliate teams, Kapil said the only way these sides will improve is if they play more regularly against the established nations` second-tier sides rather than being thrown in the deep end every four years against the best teams in the world at each World Cup.

"If you really ask me to promote that, I think India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies their second XI teams should travel to these types of countries to give them more exposure," Kapil said.

"Until they play with the better players, they can`t raise their standard," he said.

Pakistan skipper Imran Khan who led his side to a famous win over England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the final said: "Despite early setbacks, we knew we needed one good win in the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992 and we would be back in contention. The win over Australia (in Perth by 48 runs) provided us that momentum and then there was no looking back for us."

The former Pakistani great added: "I rate the moments after the World Cup victory as the most pleasing and satisfying of my career as I had never seen the people of Pakistan so happy."

The losing skipper in the final, Graham Gooch, reflecting on the 1992 world cup, said that his team was the most consistent throughout the tournament before losing to the side that England should have put out much earlier from the competition.

"It was the last World Cup I played in and I captained the side. Looking back I'm proud of our performances throughout the competition, we were probably the form side during the tournament and played good cricket until the final when we didn't have our best day.

"We had an opportunity to knock them out of the World Cup earlier in the tournament when we bowled them out for 74, but the match was rained off," Gooch said.

Gooch said despite having some great memories from the world cup, losing in the final for the third occasion was the biggest regret of his career.

"Overall I've got good memories of 1992 but one of the biggest regrets of my career is that we reached three finals but didn't get over the line in any of them," added Gooch.

Martin Crowe, who skippered New Zealand and won the player of the tournament award, believed it was New Zealand's best chance of winning the World Cup, but a tactical decision cost his side the tournament.

"I think it was the best opportunity in our history to win the World Cup. We scored 262 on a slow pitch (against Pakistan in semi-final), which we thought was a winning score. However, it was decided that I should not take the field so that I could be fit for the final that was to be played four days later. In hindsight if I had stayed on the field, we could have defended that total.

"My injury killed it for us," he added.

For South Africa skipper Kepler Wessels, the world cup was an incredible experience, as the side played its first major tournament after its return from isolation.

"Captaining South Africa during the World Cup in 1992 was an incredible experience."

Recalling the event, Wessels said: "We had entered the event as complete underdogs, but surprised the cricketing world by reaching the semi-final through some gutsy and professional performances.

For Wessels, it was an emotional return to Sydney after having earlier represented Australia at the same venue. And the icing on the cake was a telephone call from the President that followed South Africa's victory over Australia by nine wickets.

"The most satisfying win was the very first match against Australia in front of a capacity crowd in Sydney. I was apprehensive going into the match because the Aussies were on a real high. However, our victory was comprehensive. There were many emotional scenes after the match in Sydney and a call from President himself at the time completed a very satisfying day," he said.

Allan Border, who led Australia as it defended its title, reflecting on the tournament said: "Having won the ICC Cricket World Cup 1987 as outsiders, we found ourselves as one of the favoured sides in 1992, especially as it was being staged on home soil. We really struggled to find our best form in the early stages and played our best cricket far too late.

"No real excuses but in hindsight we didn't prepare as well as we could have," he said.

For Aravinda de Silva, who led Sri Lanka in ICC's marquee event 21 years ago, the highlights of the event were his side's victories over African nations Zimbabwe and South Africa.

"We were still minnows in 1992 but two matches that stood out for us were against Zimbabwe and South Africa.

"We chased down a 313-run target to win by three wickets against Zimbabwe and then defeated South Africa by three wickets when we achieved a 196-run target on the penultimate delivery. It was not easy coming up against South Africa quick bowlers in conditions that suited their style of bowling," recalled de Silva.


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