With preparations and excitements for the ICC World Cup 2019 at peak, former Indian opener chooses his semi-finalists.
Gautam Gambhir, a cricketer-turned-politician, revealed the name of four teams who are most favourite to play semi-finals, in his column for Times of India. He declared Afghanistan players as “babies” who are not going to last the distance in the mega event.
“Afghanistan, the babies of the cricketing world, would know what I mean. For them, cricket provides identity, it gives them a purpose and above all it gives them pride. They will certainly not win this one but their mere presence gives hope to our region.” 37 year old MP wrote.
Ghambir, who was a member of 2011 World Cup winning Indian team, declared India as hot favourites to play the semis while praising the Captain, Virat Kohli in an interesting way.
“I am not sure if Madame Tussauds, London has a statue of Virat Kohli. The one in New Delhi has him. It’s a brilliant job but it misses Virat’s intensity; the energy in his pose is not there. India are one of my four semi-finalists. But for that to happen, Virat’s intensity is key,” He stated
After India, the former opener picked New Zealand, Australia and England as the teams who are most likely to play semi-finals. Australians, who are the habitual World Cup winners, are in excellent form after whitewashing Pakistan at UAE and winning the series against India. However, Gambhir has given the credit for Australia’s brilliant performance to Coach Justin Langer’s management skills.
“My other three semi-finalists are Australia, England and New Zealand. In Australia’s case, I am bullish more because of their big daddy, Justin Langer and then of course, the team. Having known Langer the coach, I feel his man-management skills are one of Australia’s biggest strengths. The fact that he was not the most talented of batsmen makes him understand his role so well, ” former cricketer added.
According to Gambhir, New Zealand and England are well acquainted with the English conditions which will help them to end up in top four after the group stage.
“England and New Zealand play a brand of cricket which is suited to the conditions. If it is hot, then they have the batsmen to decimate attacks. If it is moving around, then they have the bowlers to take advantage.” Gautam wrote.
English team is in great form after losing the semi-final of Champions Trophy to Pakistan back in 2017 and has clinched 8 consecutive ODI series since then. Gambhir was all praises for Eoin Morgan, the England Captain.
“I have worked with Eoin Morgan while with the Kolkata Knight Riders. His good luck and charm can get the work done, trust me. England’s beautiful new jersey will only enhance the Morgan Magic, ” Gambhir wrote.
Australians have won both of their warm-up matches while New Zealand, England and India have each won, one of their warm-up matches before entering the mega clash.
Gautam, who was the highest run scorer for India in 2011 World Cup’s final, hoped for the safe and secure World Cup matches amid the global wave of terrorism. “As I write this preview to this mega cricketing event, I want to share that safety of all concerned is paramount for me.” He concluded.