Thursday cover: India enter Cricket World Cup out of form but in full confidence

The National's Sport cover for the Thursday, February 12 issue, featuring the India cricket team as they prepare to try and defend their world champions title at the Cricket World Cup.

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The National's Sport cover for the Thursday, February 12 issue, featuring the India cricket team as they prepare to try and defend their world champions title at the Cricket World Cup.

The 2011 winners of the tournament enter the competition, starting on Saturday, with some problems to address though, writes Dileep Premachandran:

“For the moment, his side hold both the World Cup and the Champions Trophy. Last April, he led them to the final of the World Twenty20, as well, a competition that India won in 2007.

“Past glories do not win you tournaments in the here and now, however. And for the moment, with Pakistan looming as first opponents on Sunday, India have quite a few problems.

“They start at the top of the order with Shikhar Dhawan.

“A swashbuckling tone-setter when the Champions Trophy was won in 2013, he has looked out of sorts in recent months. Bowlers have slanted the ball across him, and his lack of decisive footwork has kept wicketkeeper and slip cordon more than interested.

“The other worry is Virat Kohli, who illuminated the Test series with four hundreds against a high-quality attack.

“In his last eight ODI games abroad, four apiece in England and Australia, he has managed 78 runs.

“This, mind you, is one of the format’s all-time greats, who has 21 centuries from just 142 innings.”

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