Cricket icons bet on Indian win in the final as Aussies laud Maxwell’s triumph


Virat Kohli celebrates with Ravindra Jadeja on completing his century during the match against South Africa (ANI)

ICC World Cup 2023 Australia’s Glenn Maxwell overcomes severe cramps and a back spasm to smash an unbeaten 201* in just 128 balls (21 fours and 10 sixes) against Afghanistan on Tuesday

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West Indies iconic cricketer Viv Richards believes that India can go all the way unbeaten in the ongoing World Cup with the strong mindset that they showed in the entire tournament. India are the only unbeaten team in the tournament after facing cricketing giants like Australia, South Africa and Pakistan. The Men in Blue have dominated the table rankings by obliterating the opposition.

They are just a couple of matches away from lifting the trophy and Richards feels that India can go all the way if they continue to play with their current mindset.

“In terms of this year’s competition, India have a mindset that they can go all the way playing like this. That absolutely should be their mindset and would be mine if I was in that dressing room – let’s go out with all guns blazing. That approach has worked so far and if that changes, things may go astray,” Richards said in a column of ICC.

“I believe they can go all the way unbeaten, which is really something to strive for. There may be some fears of ‘we have played so well so far, there may be a bad game around the corner in the semi-final’. They have to try and nullify those and banish any negative thoughts,” Richards added.

New Zealand fortified their position to qualify for the semi-final after clinching a 5-wicket victory. Pakistan will have to register a high run-margin victory against England in their final group-stage match.

Richards believes that the Men in Green should have already qualified for the semi-final with the quality that they possess.

“Pakistan could yet join them in the knockout stages but I can’t help thinking that with the talent they have, they should have already sealed their spot. I have seen up close in recent years through my coaching work [Pakistan Super League] how much ability exists in that squad but they have made life hard for themselves – I think they are a more talented squad than their place in the table would suggest. They can beat the very best on their day so there may be some punches left in that team,” Richards added.

Virat is a go-getter: Viv Richards

West Indies legendary cricketer Viv Richards feels that “mental strength” is a factor that has contributed to Virat Kohli’s success and sets him apart as a prolific scorer and record-maker.

Kohli scored runs at a decent average from 2019 to 2022 but went without scoring a century for three years. But last year he broke his barren run and scored his first T20I century in the Asia Cup clash against Afghanistan.

Since then, Kohli has showcased exceptional form and in this World Cup, he went on to match the record of most ODI centuries of the iconic cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

Richards who witnessed Kohli’s remarkable run in the tournament expressed his appreciation for the star batter.

“Virat is a go-getter and what sets him apart is his mental strength. He will have backed himself throughout, and on the occasions in the past when I have chatted with him and we have discussed things, his mental strength has always been evident. That has been key to pushing him through to how he is playing now. Very few players, or people, are built like that,” Richards said in the ICC column.

“Many people have made comparisons between the two of us over the years, partly because of our shared intensity on the field. I love Virat’s enthusiasm – even if he is fielding at long-on or long-off, when one of his bowlers hits the pad, he is appealing. He is always in the game and I like individuals like that,” Richards added.

The iconic West Indies batter hailed Kohli for bouncing back from his struggles and playing the way he is in the World Cup against tough competitors, proving that form is temporary and class is permanent.

“India will win the World Cup”: Kirmani

Syed Kirmani who was one of the crucial figures in India’s 1983 World Cup has backed India to win the World Cup on the back of their exceptional performances throughout the tournament.

Kirmani along with South Africa’s iconic cricketer Jonty Rhodes travelled in the Vande Bharat Express from Bhopal to Delhi on Thursday.

After arriving in Delhi, Kirmani was quizzed about India’s recent performances and he told mediapersons, “India will win the World Cup, they have played very well.”

After playing exceptional cricket throughout the tournament, South Africa and India qualified for the semi-final stage. A single defeat in the final-four would end up making all of their efforts futile.

Rhodes expressed delight about the individual and team performances that have contributed to making the entire tournament great and how things will get difficult from this point.

“It has been a great tournament. Very well hosted by India. Some of the cricket, whether it is from the team or an individual, has been amazing. From here, it only gets tougher because the stakes go up,” Rhodes told mediapersons.

Virat Kohli celebrates with Ravindra Jadeja on completing his century during the match against South Africa (ANI)

Ponting praises Maxwell’s double ton

Australia great Ricky Ponting believes that the Aussies will get immense belief from Glenn Maxwell’s stunning innings against Afghanistan and that it could prove pivotal in their quest for a sixth ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup title.

Maxwell overcame severe cramps and a back spasm to smash an unbeaten 201* in just 128 balls (21 fours and 10 sixes) against Afghanistan on Tuesday to help Australia reach the semifinals. With Aussies at 91/7 in a run-chase of 292 at one point, Maxwell and skipper Pat Cummins snatched the victory from jaws of defeat.

It was a knock of immense quality from Maxwell, with Ponting revealing after the match that the innings was the best he can remember.

“I have been around a lot of games playing and calling and I have never seen anything like that, and I will be very surprised if I see anything like that ever again,” Ponting exclaimed.

“It was the most remarkable thing you have probably ever seen in cricket. Ben Stokes’ Test innings to win it (third Ashes Test in 2019) at Headingly was something that I had never seen before and I think this one goes past that just for the sheer enormity of what it means for the Australian cricket team making the World Cup semi-finals.”

This unbelievable triumph marked Australia’s sixth win on the trot at the World Cup and fixed the five-time champions’ encounter with South Africa in an exciting semi-final next week for a place in the tournament decider.

Ponting thinks Maxwell’s heroics against Afghanistan might just prove the catalyst for Australia to continue their winning run, and provide them with the belief that they can go on and win another World Cup title.

“All the great teams that I have played with and all the great teams that I have been around have always had that belief that they can win from anywhere, and literally anywhere, even World Cup campaigns that I played in,” Ponting said.

“We had games where we probably should not have won, but someone was there with that belief to put their hand up and win the game. And that is what I talk about with Australia in World Cups.

“They have got this knack of being able to just win the big moments and today was a huge moment as they qualify for the World Cup semi-finals now and hopefully onwards and upwards for them,” concluded the legendary batter.

Shami slams Raza for “ball-changing” remarks

Indian speedster Mohammed Shami hit back at former Pakistan star cricketer Hasan Raza for his remarks about ICC giving different balls to Indian bowlers claiming that the former cricketer should at least believe in their own player.

Raza raised serious questions about Indian pacers producing exceptional performances against Sri Lanka and claimed that an inspection should be conducted as the ball could have an extra layer or coating.

While speaking on Pakistan’s media outlet ABN News Raza said, “The way Siraj and Shami are swinging the ball, the BCCI and ICC were giving them different balls in the second innings. I feel there is an extra layer and extra coating so I think an inspection should be conducted.”

Shami responded to Raza’s questionable comments and asked him to at least believe in Wasim Akram’s explanation and wrote on Instagram, “Sharm karo yaar (Shame on you), you should focus on the game and not on useless nonsense, you can at least enjoy the success of others. It is an ICC World Cup, not a local cricket tournament. Wasim [Akram] bhai has tried to explain, at least try to believe in your player.”

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