First hat-trick man backs Kohli & Co for World Cup glory

Chetan Sharma and Mohammed Shami

New Delhi, June 25: The first man to claim a World Cup hat-trick has backed India to win this year's showpiece event currently underway in England and Wales.

“India have a bright chance. The way India are playing and dominating, I am sure Virat (Kohli) will bring the cup. Dhoni did in 2011 and I am sure Virat will repeat it in 2019," Sharma was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

Having won all their matches except for a rain washed affair against New Zealand, the Indians are the only unbeaten team at the ongoing cricket World Cup.

But a difficult period is coming up as Team India will play four round robin matches over the next 10 days.

This is similar to the start of their campaign when the men in blue had 11 matches scheduled over 11 days. Of those, one match - the encounter against the Kiwis - was washed out.

India's next match is against the West Indies here on Thursday. The will then head to Birmingham where they will face hosts and strong title contenders England on June 30 before playing against Bangladesh on July 2.

The Indians will then travel to Leeds where they will take on the so far off-colour Sri Lankans in their last league match.

But since the Indians are among the fittest teams in world cricket, they are expected to deal effectively with the extra workload.

Sharma achieved his unique feat during a match against New Zealand at the 1987 World Cup.

Playing in front of packed galleries at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) stadium in Nagpur, Sharma bowled Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith and Ewen Chatfield off back to back deliveries during a league match to help propell India to a nine-wicket win.

Star pacer Mohammed Shami became the second Indian to claim a World Cup hat-trick during India's last match against Afghanistan.

It was also the 10th hat-trick in the history of the showpiece event of world cricket.

“It is a proud moment for all of us. After 32 years someone has taken a World Cup hat-trick. The wait was long but at end of the day I am so happy. I am glad that Shami has ended this long wait. 32 years is a long time,” Sharma said.

“I was glued to the television screen and was elated when Shami bagged the hat-trick. Honestly, I waited for 32 years and always thought when will this moment come again? Shami has done it,” the former pacer added.

“I was also a pacer and am happy that a pacer has achieved this feat. It takes a lot to claim a hat-trick. There must be many in ODIs and Test cricket, but taking a hat-trick in a big tournament like the World Cup has its own charm.”

News24 Bureau

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