Former South Africa captain and all-rounder Shaun Pollock believes that it will be a fairytale ride if New Zealand win the ICC T20 World Cup final against Australia here on Sunday.
At the same time, he feels that Australia will be the favourites going into the summit clash. Both Australia and New Zealand will be vying for their first T20 World Cup trophy in what will be a re-match of the 2015 Cricket World Cup final.
"As far as the final goes, it's a tough one. I think it's going to be a great contest. I think after the two semifinals, it will really be a nice spectacle to watch. I think if I had to say who I would like to win, I think New Zealand have tried so hard and have been in so many finals and semifinals. I think it would probably be a fairytale for them to win. But it's going to be a big ask. Australia have really started to find the formula and got time to gel together as a combination. I would think they will go in as favourites."
"But personally, I would be hoping, because of New Zealanders and the way they have gone about their things, they would end on top," said Pollock while replying to a question from IANS in a virtual interaction organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to celebrate his induction into the Hall of Fame.
Speaking about what makes New Zealand the most preferred second favourite team of every cricket fan, Pollock put it down to them being a nice bunch of people focusing on bringing the maximum out of their abilities and resources.
"In the past, people used to consider South Africa as their second favourites. You get the feeling around world cricket at the moment that it's the same for New Zealand as well. Everyone wants them to win. It is just the way they go about their business. They are a nice bunch of guys who are really trying to maximize their ability and performance. I think that's why they have won over the cricketing world in terms of their mannerisms and how they go about their business. Winning the WTC final gives them more self-belief to go in a big occasion try to produce the goods. At this stage, they have got a really good balance of experience and have got the belief to do well in the finals."
Pollock, along with Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene and England's Janette Brittin, were announced as the newest inductees of the Hall of Fame on Saturday.
They will be formally inducted by former West Indies captain Sir Clive Lloyd before the start of the final in Dubai. Pollock, the first player to achieve the double of 3,000 runs and 300 wicket in Tests and ODIs, felt honoured on joining an illustrious club.
"It's the cherry on the top. I enjoyed all the time I spent playing international cricket. But to be recognised and to be put into this kind of company, it's a real honour for me. In many ways, there are so many people and names in that Hall of Fame that sort of encompasses my whole career. Growing up, the folklore of WG Grace and Sir Donald Bradman, hearing all those stories and all those kinds of things inspire you to play the game. To have heroes you have watched all over the years and looked up to, like my family member (Graeme Pollock), my mentor Malcolm Marshall, to have those people against whom you had fierce contests and admired from a distance. So, it's a fantastic honour and humbled to be joining the people who are already there and established."
The 48-year-old was touched by a heartwarming letter written by his former team-mate Allan Donald praising his time in international cricket.
"It was cool. I got to read it last night. We have shared a good partnership and relationship in bowling. For me to come into the side, Allan was ready, established and already a leader of the attack. He did really make it easy for me and we forged a good partnership for South Africa in those years. It was very kind of the words that he did mention. We did enjoy our time together and all the fun we had was wonderful."
Check out the latest videos from DH: