New Delhi: Legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar on Tuesday said while India's batting line-up for the upcoming ODI cricket World Cup looks formidable, the all-rounders in the side are expected to play a major role in defending the title at the quadrennial extravaganza in Australia and New Zealand.
The Indian selectors today included all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja, still recovering from a shoulder injury, and Stuart Binny in the 15-member squad for the World Cup.
"The Indian batsmen are capable of putting a lot of runs on the board. Batting has been India's strength. But the fact that we won the last World Cup and the Champions Trophy on the all-round performance, so the Jajedas, Binnys, Ashwins could play a role in India defending the title," said Gavaskar.
"India's batting looks good and as far as bowling is concerned, if they can bowl well on the surfaces in Australia, they have a good chance," he told a leading news channel.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan, who struggled in the ongoing Test series against Australia, has also been retained in the squad, and Gavaskar feels he is a better choice over Murali Vijay in the limited-over format.
"The World Cup is 50-over format and this is the format which will suit Dhawan more," he pointed out.
The fans have taken to the social networking sites after the World Cup squad was announced today, criticising Stuart Binny's inclusion in the side. His father, Roger, incidentally is a member of the selection committee.
But Gavaskar lashed out at the fans, stating that he would have also picked Stuart, irrespective of his father being a former teammate.
"When I picked my 15, although I am not even a selector, I had applied my mind. I chose Stuart because on those kind of surfaces (Australia and New Zealand), he could come in very handy with the seam bowling. As a lower order batsman also or as a floater. He can be pretty handy with the bat.
"Whenever he got his chances in limited overs cricket, he picked more wickets than the regular bowlers. And the fact that India do not have great all-rounders, even as Axar Patel and Ravindra Jajeja are there, Binny could be a good seam-bowling all-rounder," explained the former skipper.
On whether it would have been better to have a
leg-spinner in the side, Gavaskar said: "If that was the way I thought, I would have included a leg-spinner in my 15 that I chose the other day for the channel."
Asked who should be donning the wicketkeeper's gloves in case Mahendra Singh Dhoni got injured and Robin Uthappa not been included in the squad, Gavaskar's pick was Ambati Rayudu.
"Rayudu has done a good job for Mumbai Indians and he can fill in for Dhoni. If there is a serious injury then replacement could be asked for."
Gavaskar said out-of-favour Yuvraj Singh must work harder to come back into the team.
"It must have been hard on Yuvraj, who was the man-of-the-series in the last World Cup but form is such an important thing. But he is just 33-34 years old. Looking back at his experiences with the team earlier, he must be motivated to try and make a comeback. He must be missing the dressing room atmosphere, the camaraderie, the training, travelling, etc," he elaborated.
Meanwhile, speaking about the first day of the fourth and final cricket Test at Sydney, Gavaskar said the Indian bowlers should not be blamed for letting Australia score 348 for two as it was a good wicket to bat on.
"The pitch was very very good to bat on. I looked at the track in the morning and I thought it was a very good wicket to bat on. The ball was coming on nicely to the bat. There was hardly any deviation and because of the conditions, there was no movement in the air," he explained.
Gavaskar said Indian batsmen were quite capable of matching their Australian counterparts.
"Muarli (Vijay), Virat (Kohli) and Ajinkya (Rahane) can match it. Late on day 2 tomorrow, Indian batsmen might have the tired legs but if they could survive that then on the third day, India can bat as well as the Australians," Gavaskar signed off.