ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Fleming bats for India to win the India-Pakistan tie

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ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Fleming bats for India to win the India-Pakistan tie

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SportsCafe Desk

06/03/2017

Former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming has picked defending champions India to emerge victorious, on June 4, when they take on their arch-rivals Pakistan at Edgbaston. The 44-year old justified his choice stating that the Indian side has more experience when compared to their opponents.

"India have quality players with experience, whereas Pakistan are probably on the way up. Pakistan are a very talented side, but they are unpredictable. Pakistan are a little inconsistent given the young nature of their side and that's where India have an edge. India are more settled and played together a lot," Fleming told PTI.

India put on a dazzling performance in the warm-up ties against New Zealand and Bangladesh and won the games effortlessly strengthening their claim as one of the favourites for the title.

"India are one of the favourites. There are four teams in particular which stand out for me. They are England, South Africa, Australia and India. They are definitely in the top bracket," said former left-handed batsman.

The Indian side's great mix of experience and young talent is being termed as the key to their success in the tournament. Youngsters particularly Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya have shone in the year gone by and were outstanding in their IPL performances for the Mumbai franchise. Moreover, the Indian team features the experienced names of MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, and skipper Virat Kohli. Fleming's thoughts were synonymous with many cricketing experts on the above-mentioned theory.

"I watched these players recently in the Indian Premier League. (Jasprit) Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, in particular, are outstanding players. They have also got great experience in senior players like Shikhar Dhawan, (Virat) Kohli, (MS) Dhoni, (Ravichandran) Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja. You have got players all the way through, even Rohit Sharma," he said.  

Fleming who coached the RPS franchise in this season's IPL  worked closely with Ajinkya Rahane and backed him to feature in the playing XI for India terming Rahane as a "key player". 

"Ajinkya was mentally and physically tired after the summer. He played a lot of cricket for India during the home series and after he finished the home series, he was fatigued and we saw some signs in the last 3-4 games in IPL. But he was starting to come back to form, He will be a key part of the side. In England, without knowing the overhead conditions, weather its going to swing or seam, he is a type of player who you can base your innings around and he is not far away from good form," he said.

New Zealand may have been assigned an underdog status entering the tournament but the Kiwis pack enough firepower to take the tournament by storm. Fleming suggested that the top players in the team need to shoulder the responsibility of getting the Black Caps to the semi-finals of the tournament.

"They are just snapping at the heals of the top four and it is going to take performances from (Kane) Williamson (or) (Ross) Taylor and they can easily qualify into that semi-final and then it would be just two games."

However, the former New Zealand batsman picked out England and South Afirca to battle it out in the finals of the tournament. 

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