'He reminds me of Mohammad Ali': Viv Richards' huge praise for Pakistan star; 'When match is over, you'll be bruised'

Feb 18, 2022 04:00 PM IST

Sir Viv Richards has compared a "class act" Pakistan star to legendary American boxer Mohammad Ali in the way that he doesn't want to "knock you out too quickly" but will leave you "bruised" at the end of the match.

West Indies great Sir Viv Richards has always been gracious with his praise for players that he thought highly off. He has been effusive in his praise for Indian batters Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli in the past and now he has reserved that honour for Pakistan captain Babar Azam.

Richards named West Indies and Pakistan as favourites to win the 2022 T20 World Cup. (Reuters)
Richards named West Indies and Pakistan as favourites to win the 2022 T20 World Cup. (Reuters)

Richards, who is team mentor for the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), said that Babar reminds him of American boxing legend Mohammad Ali.

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"Babar reminds me of Mohammad Ali; he is that classy sort of a boxer, he doesn't want to knock you out too quickly. But you know when the match is over, you will be bruised because Babar never stops jabbing you. He's a class act," Richards told Cricket Pakistan.

"Any young players looking to take inspiration from players, take some from Babar because he doesn't try and hit every ball for six. Instead, he is all about finding gaps. Babar is one of the best in achieving this," he said.

Richards also said that the West Indies and Pakistan are his favourites to win the T20 World Cup this year. The tournament will be played in Australia from October 16 and the final will be played on November 13. Pakistan were the only team to have gone through to the semi-finals without losing a match in the 2021 tournament but they then lost to eventual champions Australia. 

The West Indies, on the other hand, had a dismal run in the tournament and got knocked out in the Super 12 stage. They have had a mixed bag of results recently, losing a series to Ireland at home but then going on to trounce England. They currently trail India 1-0 in a three-match T20I series that is being played entirely in Kolkata.  

"I recently saw West Indies perform and I believe if they keep performing like they do, they can do justice to the Windies. We all know that we did not represent ourselves well in the last T20 World Cup," said Richards. "My team away from home is Pakistan because I cannot leave them out of the picture."

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