This India team is better than 2003: Kumble


New Delhi : Former India captain Anil Kumble feels that the current crop is better than the team which made the final of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.

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The legendary leg-spinner, who featured in just two group matches against Australia and Pakistan in South Africa, feels the team captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni is more balanced than the 2003 team, which was led by Sourav Ganguly.

“Overall, in terms of balance and conditions here, this is the better side (than 2003). If you look at the track record of this team, in the last one-and-half year or so they have done exceptionally well, especially at home. They have all the elements that a great one-day side needs,” Kumble was quoted as saying by a TV channel.

Kumble, who is now the president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), also pointed out that two seamers Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan, who were part of the team in 2003, have cut down on their pace.

“It is a better team overall than 2003, but if you go back to 2003 then Ashish and Zaheer and all these bowlers were younger and were bowling at the speed of 140 which does not happen now. But what has impressed me most is how they have won in losing situations. In South Africa, Munaf Patel won one match, Yusuf Pathan won a game, so it’s not a one-man team at all,” Kumble said.

“Whenever you embark on a World Cup tour the same 15 never play the next edition. It has never happened. So all the 15 members think this is their best chance and as a team you have an opportunity to create history.”

India play Bangladesh in the tournament opener in the latter’s backyard in Dhaka Saturday. Kumble is excited about India’s neighbours co-hosting their first ever World Cup.

“It is brilliant for Bangladesh. The first major event they hosted was ICC knockout in 1999. This is a great moment for Bangladesh to host the Cup and have the opening ceremony there,” he said.