Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni played their respective roles when India lifted the World Cup after 28 years in 2011. Playing his final World Cup, Tendulkar top scored for India with 482 runs, while Yuvraj emerged as the Player of the tournament with 357 runs and 15 wickets. As for Dhoni, the then-India captain, who was battling form throughout the tournament, saved his best for the last and played a match-defining knock of 91 not out to lead India to World Cup glory. The three pioneers of Indian cricket have since retired and the baton is now with Rohit Sharma to repeat history as the World Cup returns to India after 12 years. With a high stakes tournament knocking on the door, Australia‘s three-time World Cup winner Adam Gilchrist feels that to boost India’s chances, the team management can reach out to the star trio for the players to pick their brains ahead of the cricketing extravaganza.
Out of the three, only Dhoni was associated with the team in somewhat similar role – he was named mentor for India’s T20 World Cup in 2021 – while Yuvraj and Tendulkar have stayed away from any roles with the Indian tea. But having said that, Gilchrist reckons now is the ideal time for these legends to spend some time with the Indian team, in which Virat Kohli is the only World Cup winner.
“I can’t claim to know what it is like to be an Indian player, playing in India (laughs). It’s always intriguing. If I would be in the Indian hierarchy, I would be tapping into guys like Sachin (Tendulkar), MS (Dhoni) to come in and spend time with the group if they are available, and pass on all their experience. I would have tried to get guys like Yuvraj (Singh), who had so much going on in his life during that 2011 tournament, and ask them to speak openly about it,” Gilchrist told Sportstar.
“Virat, obviously, was part of that team without being a feature member of the team at that time. I would be drawing on that experience of playing a home World Cup and try to find out how they did it. If you can keep that external noise quiet, it allows you to play your best cricket.”
India vs Australia series the perfect preparation: Gilchrist
With a little over 15 days to go for the World Cup, India’s final pitstop will be a three-match ODI series against Australia, starting Friday, the squad for which were announced on Monday. The three games will be scattered across Mohali, Rajkot and Indore and Gilchrist believes this could be the perfect preparation for two of the favourites to lift the trophy on November 19. There is plenty of travelling included for both India and Australia in the World Cup, and with players rested and moved around, Gilchrist says both teams could not have asked for a better blueprint just before the biggest cricket tournament in the world.
“The venues and the conditions created will play a significant part in how strong a preparation this is for Australia and India. Generally looking at various other nations and what they are doing, I can’t think of a better preparation than what Australia and India have. They are the two teams that will be definitely vying for the title, so to go up against some of the best teams in the world in Indian conditions, will be a real benchmark as to how you are travelling, leading into the tournament. There will be some jostling around of the players and some will be rested for a game or two. It gives you the entire squad and that depth of the squad will be tested, provided the wickets are similar to what’s going to be provided to you in the World Cup,” added the former Australia wicketkeeper.