Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson and former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir have highlighted the criticality of warm-up games in the build-up to the ODI World Cup, which commences from October 5 in India.
“These warm-up games they are integral. For sure, you want to be able to play as close to your first and starting 11 for India against Australia; as close as you can. Because then you can build momentum, everyone knows what their roles are, everybody knows how to fulfill those roles. And then to play those two warm-up games, just for everyone to be able to find their feet and know exactly what those roles are,” Watson said while speaking exclusively to Star Sports as StarCast expert for ‘Mission World Cup’.
“The number 5 position is so important for any team, especially because that is one of the biggest question marks for India, and that number 8 spot. So, for sure those two positions in particular, but it’s really important to build that confidence and build that momentum even in those practice matches,” Watson said.
“People don’t realise how important those practice matches are. I know how important it was in 2007, in the lead up to the first game, our confidence in the Aussie team was a bit low but the first practice match we played against England we really started to build our confidence into that 2007 world cup campaign. So, you certainly can’t take those games lightly. They are very important just to bring everyone together and start building that momentum,” he added.
Watson’s co-panellist Gambhir spoke on the importance of the warm-up matches for India before the World Cup. “Massive, especially from, and I keep repeating, from number 5 and number 8’s point of view, what combination India is going to play and whatever combination India needs to play, I think the most important thing is they play the same team that they are supposed to play on the 8th against Australia,” said Gambhir.