World Cup

It’s a 50-50 call, says Vaughan

Michael Vaughan believes M.S. Dhoni’s sharpness as captain gives India as much chance of success in Thursday’s semifinal as host Australia.

“Australia played India some 10 times (over the summer) and Australia won on every occasion,” he said. “But there is something about M.S. Dhoni and World Cups. What he did after the triangular series is remarkable — a change of team and a change of mentality. So I really think it’s a 50-50 call. Dhoni knows how to win World Cups and that goes quite a long way,” he said.

Vaughan was speaking at an event near Sydney’s Circular Quay on Tuesday. The former England captain said he felt the SCG pitch would aid India’s spinners.

“If India could have (chosen where to play) a World Cup semifinal against Australia in Australia, they would have chosen the SCG. It will take some spin. Ashwin is getting the ball to shape through the air, which is very important to his style of bowling. They are looking at what Imran Tahir did in the quarterfinals,” he said.

Although nine of the last 12 matches at the venue have been won by sides chasing, Vaughan predicted that the team winning the toss would bat first. The victor of the toss, he added, would hold a “20% sway”.

“It will come down to certain players winning their opening battles, from Warner and Finch to Dhawan and Rohit Sharma winning the opening battle against Mitchell Starc,” said Vaughan. “He’s the best bowler in the tournament, in my opinion. If India play Starc well, they would be on their way to winning the game,” he said.

Vaughan also hailed Ajinkya Rahane as the “best technician” among India’s batsmen. “It’s his alignment at the crease,” he explained. “He doesn’t get that left foot too far across and that’s why he’s got great balance on the back-foot. He has not only got options of playing both cut shots and pull shots but also has the option of going down the ground. When you have those options as a batsman, you make it difficult for the opposition to set fields.

“He showed in England last year that he can allow the ball to come to him. In the next four or five years, you will be talking a lot more about Rahane.”

Vaughan agreed with Faulkner’s remark that there would always be sledging in high-stakes games like Thursday’s semifinal.

“You are going to pretty much see that when you play Australia,” he said. “It isn’t going to be quiet and I like to see competitive edge, a bit of confrontation. I don’t think I enjoyed the Wahab Riaz-Shane Watson confrontation as I thought it was over the line. Unless it’s not swearing, a little bit of sledging or banter is okay.

“I am sure the Indians will give it back in plenty. They are not going to be quiet. Virat and co. will give it back and that’s good for the game.”


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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 9:38:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/its-a-5050-call-says-vaughan/article7028833.ece

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