Aussies down but not out, says Sir Gary Sobers

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:West Indies great Garfield Sobers said on Wednesday he was confident Australia would bounce back from their recent form slump and make a strong title defence at next month's World Cup in the Caribbean.

The world champions were whitewashed 3-0 in the one-day series against hosts New Zealand which finished on Tuesday, having only just lost 2-0 to England at home in the finals of a triangular tournament.

The three-times winners have also been hit by injuries.

"I think they will now realise what they have to do and they will get it right by the time they arrive in the Caribbean," Sobers told reporters during a visit to India.

"Australia is always a force to reckon with. (But) I think they should have waited until after the World Cup to play the series," he said referring to the Chappell-Hadlee series with New Zealand.

The 70-year-old Sobers said West Indies, winners in 1975 and 1979, were also serious contenders for the tournament, which starts on March 13.

"If you had asked me three years ago, I'd have said West Indies definitely did not have a chance," he said.

"But in the last year or so, West Indies seem to have turned the corner. And playing at home is going to give them a little bit of advantage."

He said former champions India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka along with top-ranked one-day team South Africa had an equal chance of winning the World Cup.

Sir Gary Sober's statue unveiled at Kensington OvalBridgetown (Barbados): A 20-foot bronze statue of Sir Garfield Sobers will greet the crowd entering the Kensington Oval after authorities here decided to honour the legendary cricketer.

The statue was previously set up on a busy motorway in Wildey, five kms from here, but the cricket authoritiies recently decided to shift it to a better place and brought it at the entrance to the re-developed Kensington Oval.

In his speech on the occasion on Tuesday, pace legend Wes Hall said, ''There are great players and then they are players of great innings. Well, we know where Sir Garry fitted in. He was simply the best because consistency was his middle name.

''The thing about great players is that you can only defeat them if you play the perfect game. I say to you that Sir Garry had talent galore, but he also worked very hard. He gave heart, mind, body, and soul. It was amazingly difficult to outperform him. Sir Garry simply was my hero,'' Hall was quoted as saying by a CMC report.

The ceremony was also attended by Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur, Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, several government ministers, cricket administrators and former Barbados and West Indies players.


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