World Cup 2023: Viv Richards has this advice for India ahead of ‘jinxed’ semi-final vs New Zealand
Former West Indies captain Sir Vivian Richards advised India on how to handle ‘fears of a bad game in the semi-final’ saying the hosts should continue with their mindset about maintaining their current momentum.
India cricketers greet each other during a match in ICC World Cup 2023. (ANI Photo)
WHILE India have won all their matches in the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 at home so far, their fans are still filled with an apprehension over the outcome of the semi-final stage as the country has been knocked out of big tournaments in the semi-finals in the past despite dominating the opponents in the league stages.
Rohit Sharma’s men, who are the only unbeaten side in the tournament so far and will face the Netherlands in their final league fixture in Bengaluru on Sunday (12), are set to play New Zealand in the first semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday (15).
The game will be a rerun of the semi-final of the 2019 edition which India lost by 18 runs despite remaining dominant throughout the tournament which was played in England and Wales.
India have not won an ICC tournament since clinching the Champions Trophy in 2013 and in many of the tournaments they have played since then, the Men in Blue were beaten in the semi-finals. They lost in the semi-final of the 50-over World Cup in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand to Australia; T20 World Cup in 2016 at home against the West Indies; the 2019 edition of the 50-over World Cup as well as in 2022 T20 World Cup against England.
Former West Indies captain Sir Vivian Richards advised India on how to handle ‘fears of a bad game in the semi-final’ saying the hosts should continue with their mindset about maintaining their current momentum. Speaking to the ICC, the legendary 71-year-old batter said, “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.”
“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, member of the World Cup-winning West Indies teams of 1975 and 1979 and the one that ended up as the runners-up in 1983, said.
India, who defeated New Zealand by four wickets in the league games, have seen their batting and bowling units clicking together in the tournament. While the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Shreyas Iyer have made runs, their pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami and spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja have picked wickets whenever the team needed.
South Africa and Australia will lock horns in the second semi-final in Kolkata on Thursday (16).