New Delhi: Notwithstanding India's dismal showing in the Test and ODI tri-series in Australia, former women's cricket captain Anjum Chopra believes that realising the enormity of the cricket World Cup the Men in Blue may rise to the challenge and peak at the right time.
India lost the four-match Test series against Australia 0-2 and failed to win a single ODI in the tri-series involving the hosts and England, but Anjum said that the 50-over showpiece event will bring out the best in the boys.
"World Cup is a big event and seeing the enormity of the situation, the players might just rise up to the challenge and peak at the right time," Anjum told PTI in an interview.
Anjum also opines that it's not only the bowling unit that faltered but the team in totality has performed below par.
"Look, a lot has been said about the poor bowling show but I believe it's the show in totality that has been off the mark. While some players have been out of form, others have been injured. So you can't really accuse the batsmen in particular, even the bowlers didn't perform as per expectations," said the left-handed batswoman.
A veteran of 12 Tests and 127 ODIs since making her debut in 1995, Anjum feels that the long labour that the team had put in Australia for all this while may reap results now.
"If you see the results in the Tests and the tri-series then you feel that they are not ready but I believe the fact that Men in Blue have been in Australia for so long, it can actually work in their favour. They have played a lot of cricket there and have got used to the conditions, which might give them the edge in the World Cup," said the Padma Shri awardee.
Dhoni is ready to serve the nation as he is not even flying back to see his new-born daughter, but Anjum fears that the team will be homesick since its Australia tour started in November last year.
"Their long stay would have certainly made them homesick. Probably the 10-day break could have been utilised by the players to come back home and then fly back. Also they were in a similar position before in the 1992 World Cup when they played a Test series and lost in the tri-nation event. So hope the history does not repeat itself," she said.
Dhoni's dip in form might be a worrying a factor for many Indian fans but not Anjum, who feels that the captain is as good as his team.
"I always believe that the captain is as good as his team. What cool Dhoni was made out to be was a reflection of how he managed the players and acted and reacted in pressure situations. He still does the same. He is still the same man. Yes his loss of form is a cause of concern but so is the form of so many other players. If people around you are not doing their job then what can the leader do," said Anjum.
"When he won the 2011 Trophy it was a collective effort. And even if they fare well this time around, it should come from all the players," she added.
But Anjum fears that the trust the team enjoyed in the 2011 edition is missing this time around.
"See it's not that the team has been performing badly in the recent past, their below par performance has been carrying on for the last one year or so. So they haven't really got the trust of the fans. Now this was not the case before the 2011 World Cup in India. In 2011 the players had got the backing and trust of fans because of their consistent performances and it was looking that the team would certainly be the contenders and may win the Cup.
"Now that's not the case this time around, and performances do not give that positivity yet. But yet again, it's a World Cup and we always start afresh. It's on that particular day the better team wins," she said.
With many former players saying India are still searching for their best XI, Anjum opines that Dhoni might have got his team all chalked out in his head.
"Speaking a week before the event, we don't know what the real situation is inside the Indian team dressing room at the moment. But yes Dhoni would have wanted that his choicest XI should be really up and ready. He would have identified them in his mind and will hope they are able to take to the field on the day they play Pakistan," she concluded.