Former England captain Michael Vaughan rated Australia’s World Cup triumph as the best in the tournament’s history after they upstaged a rampaging India in front of a vociferous crowd of over one lakh, completing a remarkable comeback following a horror start to their campaign. Entering the final after 10 wins on the trot, India were the overwhelming favourites in the summit showdown but Australia played a near-perfect game to emerge triumphant for a record-extending sixth title. “Australia’s victory in Ahmedabad caps the best World Cup win I can remember in my time playing and covering cricket,” Vaughan began his column in the ‘Daily Telegraph’. “To beat this India team, in front of more than 100,000 Indian supporters, on a pitch meant to suit the hosts, is an extraordinary sporting achievement, especially after starting the tournament with two losses,” he added. Australia bowled out India for a below par 240 after skipper Pat Cummins opted to field first at the 1,30,000 capacity Narendra Modi Stadium on Sunday.
Having overcome an early wobble, the visitors completed the chase of 241 in 43 overs, the result plunging the home team’s throng of supporters into deep mourning.
The victory impressed Vaughan, so much so that he placed the feat of the current Australian players in the same league as the ones achieved by the likes of legendary Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, Glenn McGrath and Matthew Hayden etc in the late 1990s and in early to mid 2000s.
“This group of Australian players had the misfortune of following one of the greatest teams in history, that of the nineties and noughties. It is difficult to always be compared to legends of the past.
“By winning a World Cup in India, the hardest place to do it, they have now achieved something the greats of old never did. I think some of these names – Warner, Smith, Cummins, Starc, Hazlewood – should now stand with Ponting, Waugh, Gilchrist, Warne and McGrath. They are a special team,” Vaughan said.
“It’s been a very consistent group of Australia players. Seven of the squad won the World Cup in 2015, and 10 of them won T20 World Cup in 2021.
“Eight of the XI are part of the side that won the World Test Championship this year, and have shown they can compete in all conditions, which not all teams can, in India an England this year.
“They deserve a huge amount of respect. They are the best cricket team in the world across formats. Even us English can’t deny them that mantle right now. Not even morally!”
Speaking about India’s obsession with the sport, Vaughan felt the game is getting bigger and bigger in this part of the world thanks largely to the IPL.
“As much as we all have a go at the BCCI – and I stand by my criticism of the pitch antics this week – we have to recognise that what India brings to our game is very special.
“We could only dream of the whole nation being obsessed with our game in the UK. It can become a goldfish bowl, but it was interesting to see David Beckham come here, to learn what cricket in India is all about and the level of attention these players get.
“Virat has 263m followers on Instagram, which is more than three times what Beckham has. That shows how big cricket is here,” Vaughan wrote.
The massive Indian market drives cricket, and Vaughan called the country the sport’s “point of difference”.
“Football is a global sport, so is a bit different, but India is cricket’s point of difference over every other rivals: billions of people obsessed with our game. It’s been great to see that in full view over the last few weeks.”