Mumbai, June 12: Former India cricketer-turned commentator Ravi Shastri feels the 2015 World Cup, to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, will be a very open tournament because of the surfeit of limited overs cricket, including T20 events like IPL.
"I think this is a very open World Cup. Australia have bounced back in a brilliant fashion. After the win in the Ashes series, they won in South Africa. It might be Test cricket but that confidence will bounce into one day cricket as well. So they will be a big threat to any opposition," Shastri said at a function connected to the mega cricket event and organised last evening by the Australian Trade Commission at the Cricket Club of India.
"This is going to be a very evenly matched World Cup because of the volume of limited overs cricket that is being played, the amount of T20 cricket that's being played. It has made batsmen more innovative and fearless. They have got a new trick up their sleeves coming up all the time.
"Thats why I feel this World Cup (scheduled from February 14-March 29, 2015) in Australia (and New Zealand) is going to be very exciting," said the former India player, who won the Man of the Series award in the Champion of Champions ODI tournament held in Australia in 1985.
Regarding India's chances of retaining the crown they won for the second time at home in 2011, Shastri felt that it depended on how mentally and physically fit the players would be after completing an exhausting tour of Australia where they will play Tests and ODIs against the hosts.
"Because the pitches will have a little bit of bounce, the grounds are big, so you will have to come up with new ideas. You have to be fit, strong. India will embark on a very long tour of Australia (prior to the World Cup). It will be interesting to see how fit the players will be, how mentally fresh the players will be when they decide to compete. But its going to be one heck of a World Cup," he said.
The former player was of the opinion that the IPL has broadened the boundaries of support for the Indian team. "Australia pulls out a lot of things...Pyjama cricket, night cricket, India..The IPL. India can be innovative. It's all there, the number of Australians who have embraced the IPL, the mix between India and Australia.
"A lot of people in the Australian hub, when they watch Indians play, identify those players with different teams in the IPL, so thats a big stuff that kicks off during World Cup. They will be out there even if India not playing Australia and if they support a certain team that has an Australian in IPL, they will root for India in that game," Shastri said.