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‘I think we have it in us to reach the last four’
Willow Talk : Greg Chappell

Sourav Ganguly

What is the recipe to win the World Cup?

Greg Chappell: There is no guaranteed recipe. You cannot say that the team with the best performances before the tournament will win it. Winning depends on so many things. The team with the talent will win, surely. The team that runs well between the wickets, saves more runs in the field, is more flexible with their planning, will win.

Does luck play a part?

Greg Chappell: Definitely. The toss is a big factor, especially in the important games. Better teams will make their way to the semi-finals. And after that, with a little bit of luck, anything can happen.

The Australians are the favourites to win the World Cup…

Greg Chappell: Yes, they are one of the favourites, but that cannot guarantee them the title. They have a very good and in-form team, so to say. They have tremendous flexibility. But they can be beaten, definitely. Read moreread more

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They will be motivated to win it for the third consecutive time, something no other team has done.

Greg Chappell: Yes, it is a great motivation, indeed. They have won the World Cup before, and know what they have to do to win it again. They had taken their fielding to another level. They can excel under pressure, too. Their strength, both mentally and cricket-wise, is the flexibility in their planning. It helps them and they are always motivated to achieve something bigger.

What are India's chances?

Greg Chappell: We have a very good chance of qualifying for the semi-finals. And once we do so, it is anybody's game. We need to play according to the best of our preparation and talent. I think we have it in us to reach the last four.

India had reached the final of the 2003 World Cup. So Indian fans will look forward to a similar achievement, won’t they?

Greg Chappell: If you cannot reach the semi-finals, you cannot reach the final. It is as simple as that. Let's be realistic. We are targeting the semi-finals since we are confident enough to be among the best four teams of the world. And in one-day cricket, it depends on how you perform on the given day. If we play well, we will get there. But first, we have to ensure that we reach the semis.

India had toured the West Indies last year. How much will that experience help the team?

Greg Chappell: It can help. But the World Cup is a different tournament and we need to start afresh. We will have to be careful, as what I saw on the last tour was that the wickets were two-paced. I liked to play on true-paced wickets rather than two-paced ones. For my team too, I would like the wickets to be predictable. The slow-paced wickets in the Caribbean can help the spinners. But you need to have a good team to win matches regularly.

What are the areas you would like to strengthen before the competition?

Greg Chappell: We have good bowlers and good batsmen. Fielding is our handicap, but it is the key to win a one-day tournament like the World Cup. We have to work harder, select the perfect team and pick up ‘horses for the courses.’ There is no guarantee that the same XI will appear in every match of the tournament. There can be injuries that can be a major setback to any team. But you have to be ready for everything. That is the key. And there has to be ‘teamwork.’ The team has to have depth and flexibility.

Do you think the West Indies can win the tournament?

Greg Chappell: They are playing well at the moment. Hosting the event is an advantage as you are playing before your countrymen and the conditions are familiar. But sometimes, the added pressure of expectation can cause havoc. They have made it to the Champions Trophy final twice in succession, and won once. That will be a confidence-booster. At the same time, I must say that there is no guarantee that you will do well in a World Cup just because you did well in the lead-up events.

(An exclusive feature for Sify from PMG)

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