Ahead of Team India’s T20 World Cup opener on Sunday, former West Indies cricketer Brian Lara said that Virat Kohli’s will reach the knockout stages as it’s their tournament “to lose”. India face Pakistan for their first game of the ongoing tournament at the Dubai International Stadium and both sides will be aiming for a win. Speaking on Star Sports, Lara said, “It’s a World Cup for India to lose. I can see them in the knockout stages. It’s certainly up to them how they take it from there”.
The legendary cricketer also explained that teams like Australia and New Zealand will pose a serious challenge to India.
“Of course, other teams, Australia, New Zealand, when they get there at the business end of the tournament, they are not gonna just give it away. It’s gonna be hard work. I’m really really looking forward to it”, he said.
For India’s first Super 12 fixture, all eyes will be on Virat Kohli. The India captain is set to step down from T20 captaincy after this tournament.
Many fans have also been left wondering if Kohli will use Hardik Pandya for the Pakistan encounter. The Mumbai Indians (MI) cricketer has come under plenty of criticism lately and also hasn’t bowled for a while.
Speaking ahead of the game, Kohli stated that the all-rounder is a part of the management’s plans as a finisher.
“What he brings at that No. 6 spot is something that you just can’t create overnight, and hence I was always in favour of backing him in Australia as a backer purely, and we saw what he did in the T20 series and how he can take the game away from the opposition when he’s in full flow,” Kohli said.
“Honestly I feel that Hardik presently with his physical condition is getting better in terms of being prepared to bowl at least two overs for us at a certain stage in this tournament, and we believe, we strongly think that we can make the most of the opportunity that we have at hand until the time he starts bowling. We have considered a couple other options to chip in for an over or two. So we are not bothered about that at all,” he further added.
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