Expect India to reach World T20 semis: Dravid

Mumbai, March 12 (IANS) Cricket legend Rahul Dravid believes India are likely to make the semi-finals of the upcoming World Twenty20, to be played at home, but added that the knockouts will be all about which team does better on match day.

“India would make the top four, but after that, it’s just a question of who has a better day in the semi-final and final. The good thing about this Indian team is they have good all around depth at the moment. Players like Hardik Pandya and Pawan Negi — it just shows that they have got batting right down to No.8 and 9,” said Dravid, who retired from the sport in 2012.

“This is a pretty formidable side at the moment and the all around ability of this team is what excites me. There are a lot of good, young, exciting players coming through. In Twenty20 cricket, the nature of the game is such, and with the small format, you can have a bad half-an-hour and you can lose the game very, very easily.”

The 43-year-old, who is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, was speaking while visiting one of the most impoverished slums here to meet young people from the Laureus Sport for Good supported organisation – Magic Bus – operating in Mankhurd.

The former skipper also praised the Indian bowling unit for having a large pool to select from.

“India have got six or seven bowlers to call upon in Indian conditions that they can use. It gives them sort of a good range of all-around ability. And then with Ashish Nehra bowling well up front and Jasprit Bumrah bowling well at the depth, they have actually got the two areas, which India were struggling in, covered,” said the former right-handed batsman.

The World Twenty20 will be played from March 15 to April 3 across seven Indian cities with the final to be held at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Dravid, who played 164 Tests and 344 One-Day Internationals (ODI), further said that he expects teams like Australia, South Africa and the West Indies to do well in the tournament.

“Most teams have some very, very good players, good match-winners. Teams like Australia have got good depth in their side. A lot of players have played in subcontinent conditions through the Indian Premier League (IPL) so they have that experience of playing in India. Playing T20 cricket in India for a lot of teams and players is not new to them. They have played on all of these grounds. They know the conditions very, very well,” said Dravid.

“South Africa with the likes of AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla — they are always going to be a dangerous team. The West Indies as well, match-winners, power hitters, all the way through. And then the subcontinent teams, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will probably have the quality spinners and if conditions suit them, they can be a handful as well.”

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