The war of words between the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) just refuses to die down. The BCCI has clarified its stand of not visiting Pakistan for the Asia Cup 2023 and now Pakistan is planning to retaliate with its decision of not travelling to India for the biggest cricketing event, the ICC ODI World Cup. Much to the PCB’s dismay, the ACC (Asian Cricket Council) has decided to go ahead with the much speculated ‘hybrid model’ for the Asia Cup 2023 and it means that the matches featuring the Indian team will be played in Sri Lanka.
Former Pakistan cricketer Danish Kaneria addressed all these issues and gave some important insights about how the PCB goes ahead with things. The right-arm legbreak bowler who has more than 250 Test wickets to his name, while speaking to the Republic Network went to great lengths and shared his opinion on what he feels about Pakistan creating a ruckus about the Asia Cup and ODI World Cup. Danish also dissected what India could’ve done better in the WTC final and what are their chances in the ODI World Cup.
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(Danish Kaneria during Pakistan vs Sri Lanka in 2004 / Image: AP)
Q. What is your take on the ‘hybrid model’ for Asia Cup
A. There was no need on the PCB’s behalf to create such chaos around the Asia Cup and the proposed hybrid model. The PCB kept on saying that the Pakistan cricket team will not travel to India for the World Cup if Rohit Sharma and Co. don’t play the Asia Cup in Pakistan, all of these things from the PCB were just useless. Pakistan might have now confirmed that they accept the Asia Cup ‘hybrid model’ and will also travel to India for the ODI World Cup. The PCB has cultivated a habit of taking U-turns and they should learn to have patience and deal with things in a better manner.
Q. What do you feel about the PCB’s demand of rescheduling their World Cup matches’
A. This is not a valid demand at all. India are the host and the PCB needs to accept the venues that have been allotted. There is no need to create these problems before such a big global event. Even the ICC will ask them for valid reasons. The PCB needs to realize that the team is playing international cricket and they will have to compete in alien conditions. Even the Asia Cup hasn’t started and if the PCB keeps on being immature with their behaviour, they might be risking their chances of hosting the Asia Cup too. No point in these things, the PCB will have to accept whatever the ICC decides. It is illogical.
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Q. Where do you feel things went wrong for India in the WTC Final’
A. India leaving Ashwin out and deciding to bowl after winning the toss were the two main reasons for their loss. India should have played Ashwin by leaving Umesh Yadav or Shardul Thakur out. You can’t go in such a big contest with 4 fast bowlers and 1 spinner. Jadeja is world-class, no doubt about it. But the variations that Ashwin brings are unmatched, he can also bat and has Test hundreds, so he should have played. The Indian team management saw a green top wicket and went ahead with the decision. There was a tinge of green on the first day, but if you see on the second day, there was hardly any grass covering the surface. India didn’t try and restrict the Aussies while bowling. Even in the second innings, the Australian lower order scored and took the game away from India. Rohit struggled, and Shubman is fairly new to the English conditions. India lost a golden opportunity. One needs to assess the conditions after winning the toss in England. Cheteshwar Pujara who was continuously playing county should have given his inputs about playing in English conditions. Pat Cummins also played along by saying that the Aussies would’ve bowled after winning the toss, but that was never the case.
(Mitchell Starc dismisses Virat Kohli in the first innings of the WTC 2023 Final / Image: AP)
Q. Why do the subcontinent batsmen struggle in SENA countries’
A. See, Pakistan has always produced dead pitches. India and Sri Lanka still have spinning conditions. The bowlers need to have the capability of playing on different surfaces and changing the game in their team’s favour. Players these days rely more on the conditions and not their capabilities. Many spinners on the international stage can’t even turn the ball. The players need to adopt, very simple. As far as the subcontinent batsmen go, they mostly play on flat tracks, and work the ball mostly towards the 3rd man region. These techniques do not work in the SENA countries and one needs to play straight with the line of the ball. The subcontinent batters play across and that is why they end up bringing the slip fielders into the run of play. The Asian cricketing bodies should start producing better wickets. The legends of the game such as Brian Lara, and Sachin Tendulkar always adapted to the conditions which is why they are great. There is a lack of practice among modern-day players.
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(Rohit Sharma leads the India tream onto the field during IND vs AUS 2023 ODI series / Image: BCCI)
Q. What do you feel are India’s chances in the ODI World Cup’
A. First of all the selection committee needs to ensure that they have a very balanced team in place. After MS Dhoni, India couldn’t win any ICC trophies and they have started to choke in the crucial matches. A team shouldn’t be purely picked based on IPL. India is missing their key bowler Jasprit Bumrah and he is on the sidelines due to the IPL. The Western teams will do better on Indian pitches because they adapt to the conditions very well, even in the IPL. India have a very good team, but they need to perform. Get in Umran Malik. He undoubtedly goes for runs, but you need to mentor him, you need someone who can bowl at 150 kmph. Bhuvneshwar should have played in the WTC 2023 Final.
The Indian team currently is in the West Indies to play a two-match Test series, three-match ODI series and a five-match T20I series. Rohit Sharma will lead the team in the Test and the ODI format whereas Hardik Pandya will continue to be the Indian skipper for the shortest format of the game.