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Monday, April 26, 1999 Published at 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK


India: Form Guide

Anil Kumble after his 10 for 74 against Pakistan


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In many ways, India are more suited to succeeding in English conditions than many other teams.

If they are to have any chance of going places during the World Cup, however, they will need their two big guns, Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin to fire.

But the influence of other players must not be overlooked.

The new ball pairing of Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad is one of the best suited to May/June bowling conditions in England, and with Agarkar, Ganguly and Jadeja in support, there could be movement off the seam for most of the innings.

The pitches are not likely to turn, but Anil Kumble does not look to spin his leg breaks in the one-day game, concentrating on tying batsmen up.

There is every chance, therefore, that India will compete effectively.

If Tendulkar is anywhere near his usual productive self, and Azharuddin can break out of the poor form that has followed him around recently, no sized target will be outside their reach.

Just as English conditions could help their bowlers, so too could they be India's biggest obstacle.

There is only one thing the Indians appear to struggle with on the cricket field: the cold.

Every time they are invited to England for a Test series it is during the first half of the summer. Out they creep, dutifully clad in a minimum of three sweaters for protection. More often than not, they are face an uphill struggle before the serious action has begun.

India are also a developing side, with many of the peripheral players having never experienced English conditions.

Then again, Azharuddin does not believe in luck. A deeply religious man, he says that his achievements on the field are pre-ordained. Therefore, if the fates have it that India will win the World Cup, perhaps there is nothing that will stop them.



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