MANCHESTER: The top-order crumbled to leave India in a spot of bother at 5 for 3, but West Indies’ two-time World Cup-winning captain Clive Lloyd was not ready to give up his hopes on Virat Kohli & Co. Lloyd said India’s middle-order would take them through and his confidence stemmed from Ravindra Jadeja’s versatility.
Not many would have backed Jadeja to rise to the occasion. Lloyd’s prediction almost came true as Jadeja scored a brilliant 77.
“And when Jadeja plays, it (India’s fortune) goes up. He’s a tremendous cricketer. A lot of them are in the Indian team. They’re learning a lot and gaining a lot of experience by playing with better players in the IPL,” Lloyd told a couple of journalists, sitting inside a cramped radio commentary room.
“You can’t just depend on one or two batsmen. You’ve to have a balance. The middle order should see India through,” added Lloyd when asked whether the early dismissals of Rohit Sharma and Kohli would derail India’s chase.
Lloyd said New Zealand had come with a proper homework. “Obviously, before a big game like this, you do a lot of work — analyse the batters and the field placings,” he added.
Pay to watch Kohli
The man who had marshalled the wold’s most devastating bowling attack said Kohli is one of the best leaders of the modern era along with New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and Australia’s Aaron Finch.
“Kohli has done extremely well. Kane has also done well. Then comes, Finch who’d had captaincy thrust upon him. These three stand out,” the West Indies great said.
“I would pay my money to watch him. And Rohit Sharma too. Scoring five hundreds in a tournament is an excellent feat,” he added.
Lloyd also recalled some of his memories of playing against Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar who celebrated his 70th birthday on Wednesday.
“He’s a great friend of mine. What I admire about him is his concentration. It is something I wish I had. He’s been a tower of strength for India. He’s lasted very long. I think people like Sachin (Tendulkar) and a few others would’ve watched him. And they’ve sort of helped their careers along. He’s been an icon,” Lloyd said.
Gavaskar who made a lot of runs against the potent Windies attack is still revered in the Caribbean. “He made runs against some of the best bowlers of the world, which is why people are so enamoured with him. If the current West Indian players had his concentration, we’d be way up there,” he added.
Best Indian fielding side
The 74-year-old said India are a well-balanced side. “I think they’ve a good bowling side and they’ve got a good fielding side too. This is probably the best Indian fielding side that I’ve seen,” Lloyd said.