World Cup carries a lot of importance for any cricketing nation as the entire cycle of a team is built around the quadrennial event. And no one understands that better than former Aussie cricketer Andy Bichel, who lost his spot to Tom Moody in 1999 squad to only to get it back in 2003 to lift the glittering trophy in South Africa.
While his team is again among the favourites at the World Cup with the likes of India and England, the 48-year-old pacer gives the edge to the Virat Kohli & side over Australia for having better wrist spinners — in Kuldeep Yadav and Yiuzvendra Chahal in the event, which is starting in the United Kingdom from May 30.
We (Australia) barely have one wrist spinner in our squad, which is a disadvantage as they are more dangerous especially against a new batter in the middle overs, the 48-year-old retired pacer told Mail Today.
The former World Cup winner pointed out that Indian middle-order batsmen take time to settle in and if Aussies can’t exploit that using their wrist spinner Adam Zampa (while off-spinner Nathan Lyon is the other tweaker in the side) then the side will be in trouble.
The biggest challenge for Australia will be to pick wickets in the middle overs and expose the new batter to the wrist spinners, who can move it both ways. A top middle-order batsman like MS Dhoni takes time to on the crease to set and a wrist spinner can unsettle him by turning it both ways. If Australia can’t do that then India will have a little edge over us, he explained.
Bichel, who also suggested that Virat Kohli should bat on number four to solve the pertaining middle-order issue, believes India have an an uphill task in their hand at the beginning of the World Cup given they face likes of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan respectively from the word go and they can’t relax after that since there are next to no minnows in the 10-team tournament
There are not so many minnows team to get confidence (through an easy win). For India, the situation is especially tricky as they play some tough games early in the tournament and after that, they might get to relax a bit but those teams can gain momentum by then and make things tougher for them, said the blazing Aussie pacer who took 16 wickets at the 2003 World Cup.
Bichel also pointed out that while a lot has been said about the flat pitches at the tournament, teams should be prepared to face unpredictable English weather which changes its mood in no time. Bichel’s argument draws strength from the fact that the last time England hosted a World Cup (in 1999), the tournament saw few matches being delayed due to rain.
We are going to see some conditions in England throughout this tournament. Many teams lost in England when they were looking down (pitch) when they should have been looking up (weather). It may very well go down to a situation when you lose a match after losing the toss.
Over the two-month period, there are going to be few overcast nights. I think that’s going to be challenging for many teams to get their balance right throughout the tournament in varied conditions, said the cricketer.