Sachin backs India to defend WC title

 Sachin Tendulkar believes defending champions India are favourites to retain the ICC Cricket World Cup title in 2015 and exuded confidence that the trophy will remain in the subcontinent.

With exactly 500 days to go before the first ball is bowled in the 2015 World Cup, Tendulkar hoped that MS Dhoni’s side will successfully defend the title and make India only the third country after West Indies and Australia to win back-to-back titles.

“Along with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are also good sides. I am partial towards India and want them to do well. That would be really exciting. It will give so much happiness to the entire nation,” he said.

“That is something I would want, along with a billion plus people who will also be expecting the same thing to happen,” added Tendulkar, who along with Pakistan’s Javed Miandad is the only player in the history of the game to play in six World Cups. 

India will open its campaign against Pakistan in Adelaide on February 15. India’s other matches in the first round are against South Africa (in Melbourne on February 22), Qualifier 4 (in Perth on February 28), West Indies (in Perth on March 6), Ireland (in Hamilton on March 10) and Zimbabwe (in Auckland on March 14).

Tendulkar hoped the Indian players will quickly adjust to the conditions in Australia and New Zealand.

 “Well, I think most of our guys have been to Australia. They know what to expect, (as) they have played there already,” said the 40-year-old, who was part of the squad that toured Australia in 2011-12.

In the lead up to the World Cup 2015, India will again be in Australia for a four-Test series. This will be followed by a tri-series also featuring England, apart from the host.

Tendulkar raised particular concerns about adjusting to conditions in New Zealand.

Recalling India’s 1992 World Cup match against New Zealand, Tendulkar said: “I remember our match in Dunedin, where it was extremely cold and windy. Whenever a batsman hit the ball with the wind, it would travel 10 yards further, but when we had to play against the wind, the ball travelled 10 yards less!

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