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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Jul 2014

Small guns, big victories
Binoo K. John, PTI
New Delhi, February 27, 2003
First Published: 13:32 IST(27/2/2003)
Last Updated: 13:32 IST(27/2/2003)

If more people in India now know what Burger means, it is not entirely due to Nirulas or McDonalds. It is due to the Dutch cricketer Burger’s Man of the Match performance in a World Cup game against the mighty England side.

John Davison plays for Canada and in an innings that would have done any cricketing superstar proud hit a century in 67 balls against a much superior opponent the West Indies.

We have all heard of going Dutch but never expected Netherland’s medium pacer Tim De Leede to get a Man of the Match award against India. In every match the Dutch played they displayed remarkable resilience and courage to force their well-known opponents to come out with their best. “Go Dutch, Go” seem to be the war cry.

Kenya’s Collin Obuya who took five wickets which helped them pull of the biggest upset of the tournament by beating Sri Lanka has also joined the ranks of the small men who made us sit up and watch.

As the second stage of the World Cup nears, the South African cricket fields have become a graveyard of the superstars and big teams while brash young ones have stolen the thunder.

Only Wasim Akram among the big guys have managed to retain superstar flavour by claiming the 500th wicket of his career. But still it has to be seen whether his personal landmark will transform into an achievement for Pakistan which is struggling after its batting has collapsed.

The league stage will of course be remembered for the doings of the underdogs who have clearly outshone the batting performances of Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar or a Sachin Ganguly or the clinical performance of the Australians.

That could be because we are used to the seeing the big guns boom and any one knocking at the door of the exclusive club of cricketing countries need to be encouraged.

The reason is that the league stages have proved that there is cricket outside of the Test playing nations. The Netherlands is thus ready to lay the base of the game in Europe just as Canada has now profitably taken the game to the American continent as well.

Cricket’s effort to become a global game is wielding a bit of success. After this World Cup there is no logical way that Kenya can be denied Test status any longer. Kenya Coach Sandeep Patil has rightly suggested that it will be an injustice if the status is denied to them much longer.

What matters now is that Kenya will most probably be in the Super Six by kind courtesy New Zealand who forfeited their match in Nairobi with the arrogance and disdain of an affluent white country which won’t have anything to do with a black country because there was a bomb attack two years back.

If the Nairobi bomb attack is any criterion to judge playing conditions then there will not be any sporting activity in India or Sri Lanka. The way to challenge the bombers is not cower in fear.

Which is what India and Sri Lanka have done and rightly so. India’s boycott of Pakistan in bilateral conditions has very specific proof and other political and historical conditions. None of which exists in the case of New Zealand and Kenya.

And as many critics have commented any country which boycotts a match has to be docked penalty points as well. Otherwise for reasons as far-fetched and vague developed countries will refuse to go to “backward” countries and a sporting event will be increasingly used for political statements as England and New Zealand did.

In any case Kenya has taken its revenge by winning on the field. That is a big statement as well. This World Cup will end with a big positive. The message that cricket is spreading.


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