WC 2003 - Sachin can ruin Aussie party with his current form: Viv
Published: Friday, February 21, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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New Delhi: India can ruin Australia's party in the ongoing World Cup if Sachin Tendulkar maintains his devastating form, former West Indies captain Vivian Richards said on Thursday."I'm sure India is rubbing its hands and licking its lips as it sees the Super Six line-up no South Africa, no West Indies, no England, no Pakistan," Richards wrote in his column in the Indian Express."All it (India) has to do is to topple the Kenyans and it is into the semi-finals." India clashes with Kenya in its opening Super-Six match on Friday, needing a win to virtually book its berth in the semi-finals.Australia, the only unbeaten side in the preliminary round, meets Sri Lanka in its first game the same day. It goes into the match with 12 points, followed by Kenya (10), India (8), Sri Lanka (7.5), New Zealand (4) and Zimbabwe (3.5)."It (India) now has a serious chance of making it to the final and I see it as the only threat to Australia," said Richards. "My faith in India's chances has been bolstered by the form of Sachin Tendulkar. He was awesome against Pakistan and was the only guy who threatened even against Australia."If he continues in this vein, India will go far and I think he'll inspire his team-mates to lift its form. Batsmen of his calibre don't have to worry about peaking too early. Class players don't peak. They play well on some days and even better on other days. This is the case with Tendulkar."Tendulkar, the leading run-getter with 469 in six Cup matches, top-scored with 36 against Australia and 98 against Pakistan in the first round. "Tendulkar's challenge in this World Cup is to ensure he is remembered long after, like Steve Waugh is for Australia's 1999 World Cup win," said Richards."There are allegations that he (Tendulkar) never fires in finals and that his best knocks are in the sub-continent and in Sharjah. This is Tendulkar's chance to silence these questions and prove to the world that great players always fire when it matters most and even in conditions alien to them."He would have fulfilled his role in this tournament only if he is able to inspire his team to perform by his own brilliance."