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Lalchand Rajput knows a thing or two about winning. The former Indian opening batsman coached India to their only T20 World Cup triumph, which was in 2007, the inaugural tournament in South Africa. Now serving as the UAE national coach, Rajput confidently asserts that India possesses the potential to secure their second World Cup title in the upcoming tournament, commencing on July 1 in the United States and the West Indies.

“I think they’ve got the best players. I’m really happy that Sanju Samson is there because he is a match winner. Overall, if you look at it, I feel that is the best 15 India could pick,” Rajput said in the Gulf News video chat Straight Bat. “They’ve got good allrounders, good strikers up front, good finishers and two wicketkeepers who can win you games on their own,” he added.

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The former Indian coach quickly dismissed the talk that the Indian pace attack lacks firepower. “[Jasprit] Bumrah is a matchwinner, and then you got a lefthander [Arshdeep Singh], who is a good addition because of the angles, balls going away, and coming in. Most batsmen are not comfortable against lefthand bowlers. [Mohammad] Siraj is one of the best bowlers we have. Hardik Pandya will bowl a couple of overs as well,” he said.

Analysing the match strategies, Rajput said the pitches in the West Indies and the US are on the slower side, which means teams will not be fielding four fast bowlers unless they are playing in Barbados. “That’s why they [India] have picked more spinners and only three fast bowlers. Hardik Pandya is the fourth fast bowler — a batting allrounder,” he added.

Batsmen win you games, I feel the bowlers win the championship. So you have to have the right mix of bowlers.

- Lalchand Rajput, UAE cricket coach

Regarding Samson’s prospects, Rajput agreed the Rajasthan Royals captain’s chances of playing are slim. “The first choice wicketkeeper will definitely be Rishabh Pant. So if Sanju [Samson] has to play, it should be as a batsman, and he’s been striking ball very well this season. The only spot I can see [for him] is No. 5. There’s tough competition, and it all depends on the practice matches. If he [Samson] does well in the practice matches, he will be pushing for a place in the playing eleven,” he said.

What does it take to win the World Cup? Mental strength is crucial since World Cup games are really tough, Rajput said, adding that you must know how to win a championship. “Batsmen win you games, I feel the bowlers win the championship. So you have to have the right mix of bowlers,” he said.