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Wicket-taking bowlers give India edge in World Cup: Rahane

MUMBAI: Picking the West Indies and England as the biggest danger, India's Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Monday said an "experienced" bowling assault on helpful English conditions may just give Virat Kohli's men edge in the World Cup.

With a brand new round-robin layout in position, he said early momentum and consistency will likely be key to India's luck in the match starting in the United Kingdom from May 30.

ICC World Cup Schedule

"Overall our team is pretty strong. Our overall package is very good. This time the World Cup will be played in a new format, we will play nine league games, so momentum and consistency will be important," said Rahane, who couldn't find a position in the squad.

"If you start well, you will have to keep up the momentum, you will have to play consistent cricket throughout the tournament. In ICC tournament any team picks up momentum at any time, so we can't take any team lightly," added the right-handed batsman, who last performed an ODI for India in February 16, 2018 towards South Africa in Centurion.

The Mumbai batsman said India's bowling assault will give them edge on helpful English conditions.

"Our overall attack, both pace and spin, is very experienced. The good thing is that all the bowlers in our team are wicket-takers and the team which has wicket-taking bowlers, their chances increase. We have bowlers who can pick up wickets in any situation," he said.

"The English conditions will definitely help our bowlers because they know the conditions well having played their recently. They will definitely have to make some adjustments but that won't be a problem."

Talking about other groups, Rahane picked New Zealand, excluding the West Indies and England, as favourites along side India.

"I don't believe in pinpointing any particular team but England is a good team. New Zealand have done well in ICC tournaments and West Indies is an unpredictable side. They can beat any team on their day," he said.

Rahane, who led the limited overs facet now and then up to now, said Mahendra Singh Dhoni's vast enjoy will likely be of great help for skipper Kohli in the showpiece.

"Virat is a very good leader. Everyone has different qualities. Mahi bhai (Dhoni) has different quality of leadership and Virat will definitely get good support and guidance from Mahi bhai. He is such a senior player and being the wicketkeeper he can set the entire field and guide the bowlers on what length and line to bowl," he said.

Talking about his personal career, Rahane said similar to another cricketer, he also aspired to play in the World Cup.

But after being ignored, he has set his attractions on his upcoming county stint with Hampshire to fine-tune his batting skills.

"I always try to control things rather than thinking about the consequences. I always prefer to stay in the present. What is important for me is to play well for Hampshire county. It is my first stint with Hampshire and I am really excited," said Rahane at the sidelines of the CEAT Cricket Rating Awards here.

"Every player wants to constitute their nation in the World Cup and my dream may be to constitute my nation and play in the World Cup. But at this time my focus is totally at the county stint and I'm taking a look forward to doing well for Hampshire and be told many extra things.

"I had a phone conversation with Rahul bhai (Rahul Dravid) and he advised me that he actually learnt a lot taking part in county cricket. It's an absolutely new enjoy."

Rahane is taking a look at the county stint to organize himself for the West Indies tour, which is scheduled after the World Cup.

"I had performed a few Test sequence over there in 2014 and last summer time, so I do know English conditions beautiful well. But in county you get to be told so many things out of your teammates, the tradition is other and as an in a foreign country player there will likely be responsibility. So, it is all about being certain," he said.

"I'm now taking a look forward to change to purple ball cricket from white ball as a result of after that we're going to West Indies for Test sequence. So my focus is on taking part in just right cricket and staying certain," Rahane added.

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