Zaheer Khan backs India to win World T20
Zaheer Khan, the former fast bowler, has backed India to win their World T20 in March-April this year at home. "I am sure India will come out with flying colours. Though the format is T20, it is to be played in the sub-continent. Spin can be a part of it and the ability to play spin well can be an advantage," Zaheer said.
Zaheer was present at an event that was held to extend the sponsorship tie-up between International Cricket Council (ICC) and MoneyGram for another eight years. The 37-year-old, who will be plying his trade in the Indian Premier League (IPL) one last time this year, feels that T20 has had an impact on One Day Internationals (ODI) and Tests of late.
"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 also recalled how special it was to play and win a World Cup at home in 2011 when India lifted their second ODI World title. "Playing in the (ICC Cricket) 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," he said.
Also present in the event was Dave Richardson, the ICC CEO. He revealed the governing body's intentions to make cricket more popular than any other sport in the world. "Cricket has never been more popular. During the 2015-19 cycle we want cricket to become the most popular sport in the world. It's currently second only to football. The actual viewership for the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup was 125 million with one million spectators coming to watch it (physically) in Australia and New Zealand. There were also 36 million followers digitally," Richardson said.
He then went on to remind everyone that Oman would be playing in the global tournament for the very first time this year. "Cricket is played in 105 countries presently and if we include the West Indian countries as separate entities the figure should go up to 120. Sixteen teams will be seen in the World T20 Championship for which newcomer Oman has qualified. There are new faces to look forward to."