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Retired batting star Tendulkar backs India to do well in World Cup owing to balance in side

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NEW DELHI - Retired batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar has backed defending champion India to do well at next year's World Cup because of the team's all-round ability.

"India is definitely among the strong contenders for the title," Tendulkar was quoted as saying in Chennai by The Hindu newspaper on Thursday. "It is a well-balanced side and is tough to beat."

The 41-year-old Tendulkar, who retired last year with the most runs and most centuries in both tests and one-day internationals, praised all facets of the Indian team as it took a 3-0 lead after four games of a five-match ODI series in England.

"If you look at batting, there is a good mix of the right and the left-handers. When a right-left combination is at the crease, it becomes a lot harder for the bowlers. They have to find the right line," Tendulkar said.

Opener Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and allrounder Ravindra Jadeja are the left-handers who are regulars in the one-day squad with experienced allrounder Yuvraj Singh and opener Gautam Gambhir hoping to make comebacks.

Though India has a lot of depth in batting, its relatively inexperienced bowling has posed problems in the end overs in limited overs games.

But Tendulkar, who is set to come out with his autobiography on Nov. 6, said the bowling attack too had been combining well.

"The Indians have been bowling well in partnerships. There are some good pace and spin options at different stages of the innings," said Tendulkar, who was part of the team that won the World Cup at home in 2011.

Tendulkar felt the Indian team was also capable of doing well in tests despite its poor showing in series abroad including a recent 3-1 loss to England in which it lost the last two tests inside three days.

The 2015 World Cup will be played in Australia and New Zealand from Feb.14-Mar.29.

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