A billion hopes would rest on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s shoulders to lead Team India to glory at the 2011 World Cup © Getty Images
A billion hopes would rest on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s shoulders to lead Team India to glory at the 2011 World Cup © Getty Images


By Prashant Hiremath


Sachin Tendulkar – The only feather missing in his crowded cap is being part of a World Cup-winning team. He missed that honour at the final hurdle in the 2003 World Cup. We have all the reasons in this world to bet on this champion.


This World Cup is likely to be his last and his motivation to achieve the elusive honour will be at an unprecedented high. Playing in front of Indian crowd is going to be challenging, but he has the experience to come good. Let’s also not forget that he has been in supreme form of late.


Captain Cool – The Indian team is blessed to have in Mahendra Singh Dhoni the coolest captain ever seen in the modern cricketing era. He is a proven leader in all kinds of situations and leads the team with personal example. Dhoni does not hesitate in taking risks – as a captain or as a batsman. He is indeed audacious and comes out winner from sticky situations. It’s probably the ability to take risks that transformed a goal-keeper of a football team into the captain of the Indian cricket team. His style of batting cannot be found in the coaching manuals and his famous “Helicopter shot” can clear the biggest of stadiums.


The newcomers – Youngsters like Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina have the talent to turn around games. Then there are strokemakers  Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan, like Kohli and Raina playing their first-ever World Cup. All are match-winners. All four will be hungry to prove themselves on the biggest stage and I strongly believe they will.


Bowlers at the best – The pace attack headed by Zaheer Khan and spin attack spearheaded by Harbhajan Singh are capable of taking away the match away from the opposition while the newcomers in Pravin Kumar, Piyush Chawla and Ravichandran Ashwin bring in huge value to the team.


India has retained No 1 Test ranking and made a significant mark in ODI with these incredible bowlers. If these guys can play to their potential, there is no stopping Team India.


Guru Gary – Coach Gary Kirsten has proved to be one of the best coaches ever for Team India. He has a very good rapport with senior members and can motivate the youngsters very well. The World Cup will be Kirsten’s final coaching assignment with the Indian team and he will certainly like to go on a high note.


I do not want to point out any negatives here because I believe our team has all potential to win this World Cup. Yes, this Indian team can emulate Kapil Dev’s 1983 World Cup team.


(Prashant Hiremath grew up watching Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and hearing of Sir Don Bradman, Curtly Ambrose, Imran Khan and many other legends in the game. He is a passionate fan of Test cricket and a big support