ZAHEER KHAN TIPS INDIA TO LIFT ICC WORLD T20
Zaheer Khan, the former India pace bolwer, on Monday (January 11) picked India as a firm favourite to win the ICC World Twenty20 2016. Zaheer was confident the host nation would use the subcontinent conditions to maximise its chances in the tournament that will be played across eight Indian venues from March 8 to April 3.
“I am sure India will come out with flying colours. Though the format is T20, it is to be played in the subcontinent. Spin can be a part of it and the ability to play spin well can be an advantage,” said Zaheer. Zaheer was speaking as ICC and Moneygram announced an eight-year deal which confirms MoneyGram as an event partner for ICC events from 2016-2023.
India is drawn in Group 2 along with Pakistan, New Zealand, Australia and the winner of Group A (Bangladesh, Netherlands, Ireland and Oman) from the group stage of the tournament. South Africa, England, West Indies and Sri Lanka, the defending champion, are in Group 1, along with the leading team from Group B of the group stage (Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Scotland and Afghanistan).
Zaheer, who played 92 Tests and 200 ODIs, felt the dynamic nature of the T20 format had brought changes in the other formats as well. “There have been lot of changes which add excitement to the game. There have been a lot of innovations from the batters. On the whole the game has become dynamic. The impact of T20 can be seen in ODIs as well as in Test matches," he said.
Shibani Dandekar, Juan Agualimpia and Zaheer Khan at the ICC Moneygram launch yesterday
He also went down memory lane, speaking about his contribution in the ICC World Cup 2011, which India won at home. He claimed 21 wickets to be the joint highest wicket-taker of the tournament.
“Playing in the World Cup is special. It's right up there as in your career you play very few World Cups. Playing in front of the home crowd and winning it in 2011 makes it something special.”
India starts its ICC World Twenty20 2016 campaign on March 15, taking on New Zealand in Nagpur in the opening match of the Super 10s stage.