West Indies batting legend Brian Lara reckons that India‘s repeated failures to win a major ICC trophy in the recent past is down to their over-dependence on Rohit Sharma and captain Virat Kohli.
At the ICC Cricket World Cup in England, India were one of the favourites but they lost to New Zealand in the semi-finals. And Lara feels that team’s have a set game-plan when it comes to India as they have already picked them out as the team to beat.
Comparing the current Indian team to that of the legendary West Indies and Australian teams that won multiple world cups in succession, Lara said the difference is to stay a step ahead of rivals. “That’s one of the things that you have to understand. Everybody is lining India up. It’s like fait accompli that India is going to make the semi-finals or definitely going to make the knock-out stages,” Lara said on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi. “Everybody is gearing up for that match, whether its a quarter-final or semi-final match. Look at how New Zealand played against India. They knew whom to target and what to do. So India will have to appreciate that.”
He continued, “The invincibility of the West Indies in 75 and 79, Australia about three or four World Cups, they would tick all the boxes. They were so dominant. They knew in 1999, 2003 and 2007, they were the strongest teams. But they made sure that they tick all the boxes and stay that step ahead. Everybody knew that they had to beat Australia to win the World Cup. India need to appreciate that and turn it on at the right time.”
He said Indian team has to find ways to win when Kohli or Rohit don’t score. “You always feel that there is an opportunity to beat India if a Kohli or a Rohit doesn’t score. That always is a weak-link. If you can get these two guys, we are into them. If they can defy that and have all 11 players walk in same direction, understand their roles, I think India can win many-many World Cups in future,” Lara opined.
India next host West Indies for three ODIs, a series that gets underway from Sunday and Lara hopeful of the tourists putting up a credible show. “West Indies team performed creditably in the three-match series. India stamped their authority winning the last game. But there are a lot of bright young stars in the West Indies team, and in 10 months they will be a force to reckon with. We are double World T20 champions so don’t take us easy,” he said.
Lara holds the record for the highest individual score in Test cricket and recently, David Warner was looking set to break that but for the Australian declaration that saw him remaining unbeaten on 335.
The 50-year-old feels that Kohli and Rohit have the potential to break his record. “He (Warner) did look destined to do it. But the decision to declare was vindicated as Australia got six Pakistan wickets by the evening. It’s all destiny and it’s not something that you could plan,” Lara said. “Players like David Warner, in past Gayle, Inzamam, Jayasuriya, Hayden, attacking players are the once who are best suited to break record. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma if he bats day or day and half, can definitely break the record. Hopefully, I am around to see that. I don’t think records are meant to be kept. Sitting down as 50-year-old with two World records is not that exciting,” he said.