Television

Hope to see India and Australia in the finals but New Zealand could be the dark horse: Michael Kasprowicz

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As a right arm fast bowler, effective outfielder and a lower order batsman, Michael Scott Kasprowicz has had quite a successful career as a cricketer. His strong performances for Queensland earned him a Test debut against the West Indies in November 1996. He later on went to become a specialist of the reverse swing. Currently, Kasprowicz is a director at the Board of Cricket Australia. Ahead of the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, the pacer talks about India and Australia's team form and also picks his two teams for this year’s biggest sporting event.

Excerpts…

With a disappointing performance from the Indian pace attack at the test series, what is the key to adapt to the Australian condition?

The length is the most important thing. When you've got extra bounce, length’s not important. And we have always told Australian bowlers that we want the ball to hit the top of the stump, which is the ideal length. On some grounds it’s going to be a bit fuller, while on others it's going to be shorter.

What are your thoughts on the role of spinners and wrist spinners in particular on Australian grounds?

Definitely their role helps. It slows the game up as well.  So with the ball coming in nicely in proper conditions, you will find that the spins have a huge impact in limited overs cricket. So that’s going to be very interesting I think. Certainly with the teams from different parts of the world who are going to be there, only one of them is going to win in the end. I don’t think it’s going to be about spinners necessarily but it’s going to be about the best batsman and the most number of runs taken. 

A lot of the teams don’t have wrist spinners. Do you think they have missed the bus?

It’s interesting, isn’t it?  In a group of 15 people you have to fit a lot of players in a particular team. We are very happy with the Australian side. There were plenty of players that were missed out. I suppose with leg spin it would be interesting but you know the wickets don’t turn certainly; not like a sub cotton wicket but you get bounce. I know since Shane Warne used to always love the particular bowling called the gabba, which is one of the bounciest wickets in Australia. 

Looking purely at India’s batting strength, how do you see India’s chances at the World Cup?  Do you see them repeating the performance of 2011?

I think with some players who are in the squad , coming out of a fantastic test series in form is crucial. And I think being the current World Champions the confidence level is there anyway.  20-20 cricket formats introduced that confidence and changed the way batsman play today. Nothing is impossible now. Chasing those big hurdles is an easy task for India’s team.

You have played with Sachin Tendulkar. Do you see Virat Kohli too coming up?

Yes he is very talented. It was great to see him play at the series in Australia and really to watch the way he did it. He is such an amazing talent.  Most of all, I love watching him adapt his skills to suit the Australian conditions. But with a little bit extra bounce, it took him a little bit of time to get used to it. 

But was it wise of him to take on the Australian bowlers off the field as with the verbal duel with Mitchell Johnson?

I will point something out. You often compete the hardest against the people you know. With T20, IPL and other international formats, the players know each other well now. Towards the end of the series a good bit of laughter ensured, which was great to watch.

Steven Smith performed well as a test captain. There are talks of him taking over maybe at the World Cup. So in case Michael Clarke does not get back on track with his fitness, do you wish to see Smith taking over?

I think Australia has taken a very good form and a good balance at this WC. I can probably imagine they will stay with what they've got. George Bailey, for example, has been a fantastic player and certainly given a role, he will turn it around. I know he is a good leader, which Smith showed at the Test as well. But I feel it’s great to have two strong potential leaders in a team.

But who would be your choice?

I am quite sure the Australian cricket selectors will choose the right person.

Do you think there is too much pressure by players on the fitness of Michael Clarke at this stage?

I think you have to give him a chance. He is a great player. I think it is very important to give him every opportunity and I think at the World Cup, experience is necessary, which is what Clarke brings with him.

In the test series we saw both the teams scoring approximately more than four runs per over. What do you foresee the score range at the WC?

I think with Twenty20 cricket, batsmen are not afraid of chasing anything down. We've seen something like 300 or 400 runs even chased down. I think those 100’s during the last ten over is pretty easy now. So over 300 runs is where I see it now maybe.

What are your guesses on who will who be the finalists?

It’s going to be very hard to predict the big two. I am hoping its Australia and India of course. But World Cups are always interesting as there is always a dark horse. There is always a side that will come out of nowhere and I think that’s going to be New Zealand.

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