A-to-Z of World Cups
Dreams, nightmares, zeros, heroes, comedy of errors -- this World Cup and sideshows had it all, writes Atul Sondhi.cricket Updated: Apr 30, 2007 18:05 IST
Aussie vs Asians: Three in a row by Australia. And all against the Asian nations. It certainly could not have been better than this! Incidentally, Australia's all last four finals have been fought against the Asians, making the World Cup in last eleven years look more like Australasia Cup.
Bruised: The pride of South Africa and New Zealand. 27 for 5 (South Africa against Australia) and 215-run margin (New Zealand humiliated by Australia) will be the numbers always etched in the memory of their fans, for all the
wrong reasons. These pieces of statistics represent ultimate surrender.
Comedy of Errors: Right from Scheduling to final fiasco when night cricket was played without floodlights! There were other problems galore. The tournament which was supposed to see a Calypso run by the West Indies, in stead saw a 'Collapso' by the hosts after such a promising start against Pakistan.
Dangerous Liaison: John Wright is a courageous man for expressing his desire to coach cricket-crazy Pakistan. Not many Goras (whites) will be interested, seeing what happened to Bob Woolmer.
Experts: There was no dearth of them. One could see virtually all ex-cricketers of note on TV, newspapers, websites. Though the early exit of India and Pak took some sting out of their analysis, they certainly won't mind the moolah that came along with so much exposure during the six-week-long extravaganza.
Fans: Overpriced tickets did dampen the enthusiasm of the locals. Initial ban on musical instruments in most empty stadias further diluted the craze for the Cup. This World Cup threatened to make them an extinct species.
Gilchrist, the new Adam: Three 50+ plus scores in all the three finals! If there is one big match player in the World, it is Gilchrist. He delivers when it matters most. With squash ball in his gloves, he squashed all Lanka hopes.
Hilarious: In retrospect, all the talks of Aussie vulnerability. Many past greats had predicted that Australia were on their way down. But the pumped up men in yellow turned all predictions upside down. They made it the most one-sided World Cup ever.
Ireland: Another non-test playing nations which turned the form book upside down. If draw against Zimbabwe was not enough, they came of age after beating Pakistan in the group stage and Bangladesh in Super-eight.
J-factor: Missing from the dictionary of the World Cup playing teams. You feel jealous about things you can achieve! But most team realised that winning the Cup was out of question and hence, there was no jealousy for Australia's achievement! Just the acceptance of their greatness.
Killed: It took a long time to decide that Woolmer was killed, and it was not suicide or heart attack. Tragedy was compounded when his body had to be kept for the duration of the Cup. One of the longest waits for burial and
still no real clue in sight.
Lara: One of the greatest batsman of our time to retire. Probably the biggest entertainer in the nineties and the present decade. The World Cricket will be poorer without him.
Mat the Bat: If Australia did not really need to play mind games, it was due to the exploits of Mat the bat. He crushed every bowling attack. Can we say kicked them aside with his once-broken toe!
Nightmares: Fernando will be having for dropping Gilchrist on 31 in the final. Did we hear, "mate you have just dropped the Cup!"
Obscurity: Many big names, who were expected to enliven the cup, were consigned to obscurity very early. They included the greats like Inzamam, Tendulkar and Sehwag. Players like Lee and Akhtar were even more unfortunate. Missing before action due to injuries!
Pigeon: The new national bird of Australia. He kept it straight and simple, still the batsmen were unable to solve the queries posed by him. They will not mind him flying away!
Queues: Missing from most venues thanks to many no-contests and the failure of the West Indies to pose any worthwhile challenge. India will compensate for this in 2011!
Royalty: British Prince Harry and his girlfriend Chelsy Devy made more news with some cozy moves at St John's as England sweated it out against Australia. Too bad that their labour of love could not inspire England to victory.
Slinger: An action which at times blocks the vision of the umpire has caught the imagination of the whole World. A whole new breed of such bowlers is likely to emerge from the cricketing fields after Malinga's heroics. The memory of the slinger will linger for a long time!
Terrific: Gibbs' assault on a hapless, obscure bower from Holland. Six sixes in an over earned him a million dollars for charity. Except for Javed Miandad's six (counting inflation!), no other six in the history has fetched more money.
Underperformers: Speed and his cricketing team. "Roadblock" as a middle name will not be an inappropriate inclusion in Malcolm's name after a series of fiascos, whose list looks longer than Australia's cricketing achievements.
Victory margins: Are becoming bigger and bigger at the group stages. More nations lost by 200+ margins, than in the whole history of the World Cups.
Winners: The umpires, despite some problems in the semifinal and the final. Over all, the supervision was excellent despite the presence of ever-probing cameras. Also those viewers who had the courage to watch the sight of
Ireland taking the might of Australians and Sri Lankans.
X-Factor: Opposition sleuths will be trying to discover X-files relating to paranormal phenomenon tucked away in Australian dressing room drawers. Probably those files will throw enough light on the longevity of their cricketing excellence. And why every ball hit by them clears the fence!
Youngsters: Where were they in the Final! The two emperors who held the court on April 28 were Old Pros Adam Gilchrist and Sanath Jayasuriya. Their batting overshadowed everything else.
Zeros, from Heros: Indian and Pakistan sides. So high on hope, but so little on delivery. Most fans simply switched off their TVs, resulting in tremendous loss to TV advertisers.