Mumbai, Jan 31: Sachin Tendulkar will be key to India's fortunes in the ICC World Cup 2011 and the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side is far ahead of the World Cup-winning 'Kapil's Devils' in terms of talent and experience, feels member of the historic 1983 team Balwinder Singh Sandhu.
"Tendulkar would be totally focusing on this World Cup. He knows this is his last World Cup as four years later he may be mentally fit but may not be physically there. He would give more than 100 per cent and would be very keen to perform. The man is known to prepare well. His work ethics are superb. Others will get inspired by his presence," Sandhu said in an interview.
But he feels the team is replete with match winners leaving aside Tendulkar. Sandhu is of the opinion that players like Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan and captain M S Dhoni can make a match pivot on its head.
When asked to compare 2011's team with 1983's, Sandhu feels that today's boys are far more accomplished one-day players.
"Talent wise today's team is way ahead. For example, in terms of ODI experience, a player like Sachin Tendulkar has alone played more matches than all of our team members put together."
In terms of what strategies India should employ during the course of the World Cup, Sandhu felt that India should make the best use of batting powerplays and the team should field only one frontline spinner in Harbhajan Singh.
"Teams should be smart in using the batting powerplays which can make a big impact. If there are too many spinners in the side when the powerplay is taken, the team will be in trouble."I expect India to field three seam bowlers along with Harbhajan Singh as the lone spinner with the remaining 10 overs shared among floaters like Yuvi and Raina," he said.
Sandhu, who opened the bowling with skipper Kapil Dev on a regular basis during India's triumphant run to the title 28 years ago, is confident with help from the team's support staff, the players would be to able handle pressure.
"There are people in the support staff to take care of how to handle pressure. Pressure will be there but they should go out and enjoy playing. They have performed well over the years and should be relaxed," Sandhu said.
Sandhu is of the opinion that the sub-continent wickets may not help spinners as much as is generally believed except for the new venues.
"Except for new centres, I expect the wickets to be well settled. The ICC is handling these things and they will ensure that matches remain competitive till the end, till 95 overs, for commercial reasons," he said.
He also feels that four-time champions and holders Australia start as dark horse in the mega-event starting February 19 in Dhaka.