Richards, renowned for his flamboyant playing style and a key figure in West Indies’ World Cup triumphs in 1975 and 1979, urged the Indian team to continue playing to their strengths and avoid any negativity as they pursue a flawless World Cup campaign.Speaking about India’s mindset, Richards remarked, “India have a mindset that they can go all the way playing like this.”
The cricket legend highlighted the effectiveness of India’s current approach, stating, “That approach has worked so far, and if that changes, things may go astray.” Recognizing potential concerns about a bad game in the semi-finals, Richards encouraged the team to dismiss any negative thoughts and stay focused on their aggressive style of play.
Special attention was given to star batter Virat Kohli, who has been in exceptional form, amassing 543 runs at an average of 108.60 in the tournament. Richards expressed his admiration for Kohli’s performances and commended his mental strength, saying, “I am a huge fan of Virat, I have been for a long time, and he continues to show why he has to go down as one of the all-time greats, right up there with the likes of the great Sachin.”
Richards acknowledged the challenges Kohli faced before the World Cup and praised the support he received from the backroom staff, stating, “Credit must be given to the backroom staff and everyone who backed him.” He celebrated Kohli’s comeback, emphasising, “He is back on top of his game. It is phenomenal to see an individual who has had his low points bouncing back and playing like this.”
Commenting on Kohli’s mental strength, Richards noted, “Virat is a go-getter, and what sets him apart is his mental strength.” Drawing parallels between himself and Kohli, Richards appreciated the Indian captain’s on-field enthusiasm, saying, “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.”
In addition to Kohli, Richards also expressed admiration for young Indian opener Shubman Gill, likening his style of play to his own. Richards, holding the highest rating in the history of ODI cricket at the end of 1985, remarked, “Shubman Gill is another who bats with style.”
In conclusion, Richards conveyed his satisfaction with the current state of the game and the performances of modern players, stating, “As a fan, I am delighted with where the game is at currently.”
(With inputs from ANI)