New Delhi: World Cup-winning legends Imran Khan, Allan Border and Vivian Richards on Saturday said that India deserved to taste World Cup glory as the team has been the team to beat in the last few years.
Imran, who led Pakistan to 1992 World Cup triumph, said India's triumph after a gap of 28 years was a no fluke. "It is not that India suddenly came up to win the World Cup. There is a reason why they won it. They have been on the rise in the last few years. They have the all-round depth. India's World Cup victory was a no fluke," said Imran.
He said India's semifinal win over arch-rivals Pakistan had done a world of good to the confidence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men. "They went through a high pressure game against Pakistan. Today, there did not show any pressure. They were completely confident," he said.
Australia's 1987 World Cup-winning captain Allan Border agreed with Imran that India's victory was "no flash in the pan". "It was not a flash in the pan. They have been preparing well. They played some tough games against South Africa and Australia," said Border.
"There is self confidence in the group. They are well-coached and they have a very intelligent captain. There is the blend of experience and youth." Richards said for Sachin Tendulkar, who won the World Cup in his sixth appearance, it much be the icing on the cake in his illustrious career.
"It would be the icing on the cake for him as he has dedicated 21 years to cricket. I am proud of him," said Richards, who was in both the World Cup-winning squads of West Indies in 1975 and 1979.
"But India will have to begin from the scratch when they tour England later in the year. They have to do all over again and they will have to work harder to live to the expectations of being the top team and world champions," he said.
Richards praised Player of the World Cup Yuvraj Singh for resurrecting himself after being dropped from the Indian side. "He was dropped but I remember he went back to the basics, play for Rest of India and came back to the Indian side. A player who hit six sixes (in Twenty20 World Cup) is an enormously talented player. I am happy for him," Richards said in a CNN-IBN programme.
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