Posted: 09 March 2007 at 8:35am | IP Logged
Australia's misery makes India's Gavaskar happy
Fri, 09 Mar 2007 03:53:20 GMT
|NEW DELHI (AFP): |
Sunil Gavaskar (right) with Rameez Raja (left) View Full Sized Image
India's cricket great Sunil Gavaskar has launched an astonishing attack on Ricky Ponting's Australians ahead of the World Cup, saying they were never popular winners.
Gavaskar, who was this week re-appointed head of the International Cricket Council's cricket committee, said Australia's recent setbacks on the field should gladden the hearts of rivals and fans alike.
However, he conceded that the Aussies, recovering from five consecutive one-day defeats, were favourites to retain the World Cup starting in the Caribbean next week.
"Australia's come-uppance at the hands of England and New Zealand has gladdened the hearts of not just the other aspirants for the World Cup but also the followers of the game," Gavaskar wrote in the latest issue of the respected 'India Today' magazine.
"There is not the slightest doubt that in the last decade or so the Aussies have been awesome in batting, bowling and fielding which has taken them to the top of the cricketing ladder in both Test and limited overs cricket.
"But they have also been awful in the way they have sometimes behaved on the field much to the chagrin of the traditional fans of the game.
"Unlike the West Indian teams of the 1970s and 1980s which dominated world cricket in much the same way as the Australians are doing now, the Australians are not popular winners.
"The Windies were feared for the ferocity of their attack and the aggression of their batsmen but at the end of the playing day the West Indian player was not only admired but also liked.
"They went about their job in a no fuss manner and hardly had anything to say to the opponents, unlike the Aussies who have plenty to say and seldom in a humourous way. Banter works, abuse doesn't."
Australia conceded the one-day series at home to England 2-0 in February and then a depleted team was thrashed 3-0 in New Zealand after failing to defend 300-plus scores in the last two matches.
Gavaskar said Australia's powerful batting will make up for the bowling which had "lost its sharp edge."
"It would only be a fool who would rule out the Australians as the favourites to win the World Cup for the third consecutive time," he wrote.
"If anything, their batting is still as destructive as it has been and it's the bowling which has lost its sharp edge and finding it tough to defend even huge totals.
"The number of times opponents have overtaken 300-plus totals that the Australian have set is an indication that there is not the awe about the Aussie bowlers that was there a season or so ago."
Gavaskar backed five teams - Australia, India, New Zealand, England and Sri Lanka - who could win the World Cup.