India are one of the “stand-out” teams of this World Cup but Virat Kohli and Co will have to strengthen their lower order batting going into the knockout stage of the tournament, feels West Indies legend Clive Lloyd. India are poised to enter the semi-finals as they are currently in the second spot in the 10-team standings with 11 points from seven matches. The table is led by five-time champions Australia, who already through with 14 points. The two-time former champions have been over-reliant on opener Rohit Sharma and skipper Kohli after the middle-order, which includes Mahendra Singh Dhoni, have struggled so far in the tournament.
In fact, India needed 71 from the last five overs to win against England but they could only manage 39, despite the presence of Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav at the crease. India Tuesday dropped Kedar and Kuldeep Yadav, bringing in Dinesh Karthik and Bhuvneshwar Kumar against Bangladesh. “India have a selection dilemma. England played the right kind of game against them by attacking the spinners and they need to strengthen their batting lower down the order,” Lloyd, who led West Indies to two World Cup triumphs in 1975 and 1979, wrote in his column for the ICC. The 74-year-old former captain praised India and Australia for being ahead of the other teams in reading the conditions.
“Australia are already assured of a place in the semi-finals and India are likely to join them,” he wrote. “They have been the two stand-out teams for me at this World Cup. They have understood the conditions better than any of the others and have strolled through. That is the key here. “The wickets in this tournament have been excellent … Australia and India are at home on them and that will be so important when it comes to the knock-out games.” West Indies had a disastrous World Cup campaign as they lost six matches out of eight games to crash out of the event, despite good performances from some individuals, including centurions Nicholas Pooran and Carlos Brathwaite.
But Lloyd believes it is not all “doom and gloom” for the Caribbeans. “It’s been a tournament of ‘what ifs’ for my team and their defeat to Sri Lanka was another example. Nicholas Pooran was outstanding in the run-chase but lost his wicket at just the wrong time,” Lloyd wrote, referring to West Indies’ 23-run loss to Sri Lanka Monday night.
“When you look at it, we have the talent with the bat. It’s far from doom and gloom. Sure, we have to learn from the mistakes and rectify them but I am very optimistic. We have had two centurions at the tournament and it really could, and should, have been four or five.” West Indies will end their World Cup campaign with a clash against Afghanistan on Thursday.