Home conditions give India advantage in World T20: Zaheer

Mumbai, Jan 11 (IANS) Former India pacer Zaheer Khan said here on Monday that he is confident hosts India will use the subcontinental conditions to good effect and emerge victorious in the upcoming World Twenty20 tournament.

The tournament will be staged across eight venues in India from March 8 to April 3.

The final will be played at the Eden Gardens ground in Kolkata on April 3. The women’s semi-finals and final will be followed by the men’s knock-out matches.

India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia are clubbed in Group 2 while South Africa, England, the West Indies and defending champions Sri Lanka are in Group 1.

India will take on New Zealand on March 15 in Nagpur in the opening match of the Super 10s stage. They will then face Pakistan on March 19, the qualifying team in the group on March 23 in Bengaluru and Australia in Mohali on March 27.

“In World T20, subcontinent conditions spin will play a big factor. Both it will be an advantage and a challenge for the teams. I am sure India will come out with flying colours to win the WorldT20 here,” Zaheer said at a press conference where the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced an eight-year sponsorship (2016-2023) deal with money transfer services MoneyGram.

The 37-year-old said the shortest format of the game has brought changes in the style of playing even in One-Day Internationals (ODI) and Tests.

“T20 cricket is amazing. It brings added excitement and enjoyment in the game. We see a lot of innovation in the game after coming of T20. Batsmen are trying different strokes and bowlers are trying to stay in the moving game. This format has brought changes even in ODIs and Tests. It has also brought a different approach to the game overall,” he said.

Zaheer also went down memory lane to speak about his impressive run in the 2011 World Cup which India won at home. The pacer claimed 21 victims to be the highest wicket taker in the tournament.

“World Cup is a special tournament. You have to always enjoy playing the moment because you never know if you are going to play in the next World Cup. It was a special feeling to win the Cup in front of the home crowd,” Zaheer concluded.

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