Bangalore: Former Indian cricketer and match referee for the coming World Cup G R Vishwanath has sought to maintain a neutral stand befitting the official position he has been bestowed refusing to brand the label of "favourites" to any participating nation.
When reporters on Saturday asked him which is the 'favourite' team in the World Cup title clash in his opinion, Vishwanath remarked, "I cannot comment being a referee." He said in One-day cricket everybody has a chance. Quizzed about India's chances, Vishwanath who had enthralled the cricket fans in his heyday, said he was of the opinion that it had good chances and wanted it to perform well in all departments of the game.
"I am confident that the team would do well as the pitch conditions are good for them," he said. He disapproved stretching the memories of the pathetic performance of Saurav Ganguly's squad in New Zealand, saying, "It has nothing to do with the World Cup as they would be playing in different conditions, different wickets and with different teams." Vishwanath refused to be drawn into discussion on the composition of the Indian team and also who should be the opening pair - whether the task should be on Sachin Tendulkar and Ganguly or others, saying, "I don't want to get into all this."
Vishwanath said the keeping of wickets by Rahul Dravid, the backbone of the Indian batting line up, was good for the country. On his selection as match referee, Vishwanath said he was happy and looking forward to the new assignment and added though his name was included in the panel in the last World Cup, he could not make it. The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) on Saturday felicitated leg spinner Anil Kumble, Dravid and Vishwanath. A V Jayaprakash selected for umpiring in World Cup and speedster Javagal Srinath could not attend the felicitation due to preoccupation.
Dravid, responding to the felicitation said, he would make efforts to "make Indian cricket and Karnataka state proud". KSCA president, K M Ram Prasad congratulated those selected to do duty in the world cup from Karnataka and wished them success.