Sunday, March 11, 2012

The CB Series Review - ODI Cricket Lives On

And so a mighty ODI tournament comes to an end, with an overexcited Sri Lanka gifting away their wickets and the Australians displaying some of that typical grit to claim the series.

What have we learnt?
  • ODI cricket is NOT dead
  • Sri Lankan cricket is back
  • India are not world champions
  • The Aussies never give up (still)

It was an incredibly fascinating series with most games playing out like hungry dogs fighting for a juicy bone. Funnily enough the last three world cup finals comprised of India, Australia and Sri Lanka, so its fair to say that these three are the best ODI teams in the world (sorry South Africa). The winner of this tournament would gain not only a token trophy and prize money, but also a large dish of bragging rights.

That oh so familiar sight. © Getty

It was refreshing however to see an Australian side that isn't dominating these home tournaments, there was a time where two other sorry teams would turn up and return home thumped by both Australia and sometimes Australia A. Apart from being an ego-trip for the local commentators, it was dull and embarrassing.

This time, we instead saw an Aussie team that had to scrap and claw away at their opponents and earn their victories. Among them we saw an inspired turnaround from a Sri Lankan team that was on the verge of complete breakdown just a few months ago, and an Indian team desperate to look past a woeful test series and prove that the World Cup victory was not a fluke. They failed.

The Cricket Musings Awards present...

The Man of the Tournament - Mahela Jayawardene. He was the catalyst of the resurgence in his team and its about time they had a real leader who had the gumption to send himself up to open, to innovate with his fields and bowling changes, and to throw political correctness out the window and give the umpires a right blast when they needed it (take note Dhoni). Sri Lanka missed its charismatic leader which Dilshan never was.

The Who? Award - Clint McKay. Appearing like a nothing medium pacer, but armed with simple control and an effective slower ball he ripped out several illustrious batsmen. He was the Aussies best despite the Hilfenhaus and Pattinson drool-fest and second only to Malinga in wickets taken.

'That' Delivery - That man Lasith Malinga cleaning up Shane Watson with a perfect middle-stump destroying yorker. It swung the match back in Sri Lanka's favor and saved them from going home early, we just don't see enough devastating deliveries these days.

'That' Innings - Virat Kohli for that 133. India having needed an impossible 320 in under 40 overs did exactly that, guided by a manic yet controlled destruction at the hands of Kohli. The incredible thing is that most of those boundaries were proper cricketing shots and often along the ground, a real advertisement against the IPL art of 'close your eyes and slog'.

The Sloth & Greed Award - Captain Dhoni of course, for grinding comfortable chases to a dead halt, for no purpose other than milking a fifty for himself. A big reason why India went home early, but nobody will bother to realize it.

The Pest Award - Brett Lee making a right nuisance of himself just like the old days of the 2003 World Cup. He may be the nicest guy off the field but we saw his full bag of tricks in the middle, the red face of rage, the glares, the foul mouth, the wicket taking chainsaw. Nostalgia at its worst.

"Look mom I can fly" © AFP

This tournament is exactly what we all needed to remind ourselves that ODI cricket still has and always will deserve a place in our cricketing hearts. With some proper administration and forward thinking, we can ensure we continue to have memorable tournaments like this one. Lets hope the upcoming Asia cup can follow suit.

Related reading:
How to save ODI cricket

1 comment:

  1. This series has once proven that a true champion is not a flash in the pan. Nor does it only win at home but is able to do so in adverse conditions on different pitches.

    Sri Lanka and perhaps Pakistan (if they are not being dodgy) can claim this honour.

    India will only flourish if the likes of Kambli and the kids born without a silver spoon are able to permeate the system and 'allowed' to rise to the top on their merit.

    If Arjuna is always prefered over Karna India will forever be the team which 'can' be world beaters, but never be able to realise their true potential, forever embroiled and brought down by petty politics.

    We need a Chanakaya in BCCI