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Clarke, McCullum have armoury for WC success: Atherton

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Wellington, Feb 10 (IANS) Former England cricket captain Mike Atherton Tuesday said New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum and Australia’s Michael Clarke are the best equipped skippers for the demands of the World Cup in the Antipodes starting Saturday.

Atherton, writing his regular column for The Times newspaper in England, has no doubt that bold approaches will be rewarded at this World Cup.

He said the game is evolving faster than ever, pointing to the “astonishing” 31-ball century by South African AB de Villiers as a wake-up call to team tacticians ahead of the tournament.

“As captains and teams think about their tactics in this World Cup, that performance from De Villiers will resonate. It will scare captains who do not have wicket-taking firepower and it will encourage those who do to think aggressively,” Atherton was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz.

“If you don’t get good players out, and if two players are set for the last 10 overs with wickets in hand, then carnage will ensue. An aggressive mindset for captains, thinking wickets rather than containment, will be vital,” he added.

“Brendon McCullum and Michael Clarke remain best placed to exploit this shift.”

Atherton believed the pitches would “encourage batsmen” and conditions suited the co-hosts.

“Generally, a tournament Down Under would favour the teams from outside the sub-continent, and that principle is a good place to start now,” Atherton commented.

“The hosts, Australia and New Zealand, and South Africa look strongest. Then, whisper it, England to complete the semi-final line-ups.”

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