Sobers: 'Australia Will be Dethroned'

Fri, Feb 14, '03


WI World Cup

Cricket legend Sir Garfield Sobers has tipped either West Indies or India to win the World Cup and dethrone reigning champions Australia.

"Everyone has Australia as the number one team but I don't believe that Australians are going to win the World Cup," Sobers said. "I believe that somewhere, probably West Indies will have a good chance as well as India and Sri Lanka," Sobers told reporters.

"I think the lower teams have got a tremendous chance of winning the World Cup. They realise there is an opportunity for them in one-day cricket and they build their game particularly for the World Cup," Sobers said.

"I think that is where you are going to find teams like New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is always a force to reckon with at the one-day level," he said.

"Australia do have Adam Gilchrist, who is known as one of the best one-day players. Matthew Hayden is the kind of player who could tear the bowling apart, and captain Ricky Ponting, so they've got fairly good one-day players.

"But I think the other teams have concentrated more on limited-overs cricket because they can't really live up to Australia's standard in Test cricket at present.

Sobers also said Brian Lara remains the number one batsman in the West Indies team and will be a big factor in the team's fortunes during the tournament. "Lara is always going to be a force to reckon with and he is always going to be a great contributor to West Indies' cricket," he said after West Indies humbled mighty South Africa by three runs in the opening game on Monday.

Sobers said it was unfair to talk about leaving Lara out of the side on account of his injuries. "Brian's last injury was something he could not have helped," noted the former champion all-rounder, who scored 8032 runs and captured 235 wickets in 93 Tests. "He played with it. He scored a hundred and you get a lot of talking about Brian because West Indies did well without him."

"I think Brian is a force in West Indies cricket and he is still, as far as I'm concerned, the number one batsman in the West Indies team," Sobers said.

* SOURCE: Rediff.