‘In search of diamond we lost gold’: Kaif rings warning bell for India ahead of ODI World Cup, highlights ‘main problem’
India's ambitions of reclaiming the world title for the third time will depend on the preparations and not much time is left for it.
Team India's hunt for an elite ICC trophy got extended after a disappointing end at the T20 World Cup. The Men In Blue were completely outplayed by eventual champion England in the semifinals, losing the contest by 10 wickets. The Men In Blue will have another opportunity in a mega ICC event, as India are set to host the ICC ODI World Cup, which is scheduled for next year.
However, India's ambitions of reclaiming the world title for the third time will depend on the preparations and not much time is left for it. As per the FTP calendar, India will engage in 25 ODIs ahead of the World Cup, out of which two have already been played against New Zealand in the ongoing series.
Sharing his views on the same, former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif feels the management needs to handpick players soon and keep backing them until the showpiece event, which will be played in October-November next year.
Speaking on Prime Video, the official broadcaster of the India-New Zealand series, Kaif noted: "The England team which won the World Cup recently, the average age of the squad was 31, so having experienced players always works someway or the other.
“And if India wants to start the preparations for the World Cup, they need to do it from here, the ongoing series against New Zealand. Because there are not many ODIs, maybe 25 till the World Cup.”
Claiming bowling as the biggest problem, Kaif highlighted a major issue by citing the example of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is not part of the current squad taking on the Black Caps.
"The main problem is bowling. If you see Shardul (Thakur) isn't playing the 2nd ODI, you've sent (Mohammed) Siraj home, he could have played in the ODIs.
"Why is Bhuvneshwar Kumar not in the squad, I have no clue. He's a good bowler, but he is not part of the squad. In the search for new players, we are losing out on the old ones. There's a saying: in search of diamonds, we lost the gold.
“You had good players in the squad so this shouldn't be the case. If you're backing someone, please do it nicely. The preparation starts from here, there's no time for experiments. The months will pass away and suddenly you'll find yourself approaching the World Cup. So you decide on the players and keep backing them,” he added.
Kaif also backed latest pace sensation Umran Malik, who he believes should be kept in the scheme of things for the showpiece event.
“Umran Malik, the extra pace that we often talk about, (Jasprit) Bumrah got injured at the T20 World Cup, there was no one with that kind of pace. The three pacers - Arshdeep (Singh), Bhuvneshwar Kumar and (Mohammed) Shami all three of them bowl nearly at the same pace. In the World Cup we missed someone, who can bowl 145 cases per hour. Someone like Umran Malik, definitely, back him from here on,” he said.