Two-time ICC Men's Cricket World Cup winner and iconic West Indies batter Vivian Richards has urged unbeaten India to maintain positivity and their attacking approach at all costs as they attempt to win a third title at this year's event. India has played some of their best cricket in years in the ongoing 13th edition of the World Cup this year and has won all eight matches they have appeared in to sew up a spot in the semi-finals next week. They will take on the Netherlands in their final league stage game on Sunday.
Richards - regarded as one of the most flamboyant and attacking players of his time and a crucial part of West Indies' World Cup success in 1975 and 1979 - wants to see India continue to play to their strengths and avoid any negativity as they strive to stay unbeaten and add to their previous titles in 1983 and 2011.
"India have a mindset that they can go all the way playing like this," Richards said in his column for the ICC.
"That absolutely should be their mindset and would be mine if I was in that dressing room - let us go out with all guns blazing. That approach has worked so far and if that changes, things may go astray. I believe they can go all the way unbeaten, which is really something to strive for. There may be some fears of 'we have played so well so far, there may be a bad game around the corner in the semi-final'. They have to try and nullify those and banish any negative thoughts," he added.
A lot of India's chances of adding a third World Cup trophy to their cabinet are dependent on star batter Virat Kohli, with the former skipper having already scored two centuries while amassing 543 runs at the tournament at an average of 108.60.
"I am a huge fan of Virat" - Sir Vivian Richards
Kohli will go past Sachin Tendulkar's long-standing record of most ODI centuries (both tied at 49 tons) in the history of the game if he scores one more century during the remainder of the tournament and Richards admits he remains in awe at the performances of the chase master.
"I am a huge fan of Virat, I have been for a long time, and he continues to show why he has to go down as one of the all-time greats, right up there with the likes of the great Sachin. Virat will have been through some tough times before this World Cup and some folks were even brave enough to call for his head."
"Credit must be given to the backroom staff and everyone who backed him. So much was said about his form but he is back on top of his game. It is phenomenal to see an individual who has had his low points bouncing back and playing like this. They say form is temporary - and he has certainly proven that class is permanent. I am so happy for him, he looks so focused and he is a credit to the game of cricket," he concluded.
The Men in Blue will lock horns against the Netherlands in their final league match in Bengaluru.