Tuesday, March 22, 2011

World Cup 2011 - Goodbye Minnow Nations... And Thanks

With the pool play all wrapped up, its time to say goodbye to the younger associate nations. As usual the ICC, the so called experts, and the other bandwagon boys ensured plenty of negative vibe was force fed to us, particularly ironic coming from New Zealand media who have a team that took 26 years to win its first test match.

Yes there were mismatches, probably a few too many, but when the little teams did get it together, we saw a lot of flair, color and team spirit, which is what world cups should be all about. The fielding standards in particular were excellent and outdid the Indians easily. Lets be positive, look at the glass as being half full, and give thanks:

The Irish
Their energy and enthusiasm, in all aspects of the game, is what really stood out. Yes it took a Kevin O'Brien miracle and some shoddy bowling to aid them, but they troubled most of the big nations with composed batting, tight bowling (if not penetrative) and always excellent fielding. They only need that 10% extra out of the team to put away the bigger nations more consistently, but you feel that is just around the corner. They desperately deserve to get more exposure to the top level.
Pride Factor: 5/5

Look out world, here they come. ©ESPNCrcinfo Ltd 

Ryan ten Doeschate (and the other Dutchmen)
Got us all excited with that blistering century to scare England. That was a great match, and a couple more players like him and the ODI upsets will not be far away. It all turns pretty ugly when he doesn't fire though, especially lacking a lot in the bowling department. There is a strong case to move him up the order, as he was wasted a couple of times when stranded with the tail. Definitely a stronger side than previous world cup showings.
Pride Factor: 2/5

Ray Price and The Spin Gang (Zimbabwe)
It was great to see them chatting up the opposition batsman and tying them up with quality nagging spin. Not many attacks can say they kept the Aussies quiet, so well done there. Again the fielding was top notch with the freakish Mpofu run-out of Ponting being the stand out. Too bad the batting didn't measure up, with the likes of Taibu underachieving, Taylor getting no support, and Sean Ervine not turning up, literally.
Pride Factor: 3/5

Bagai And Other Bits (Canada)
They seem like a team of misfits from all over the world, but it works. Ashish Bagai strikes me as a leader with genuine ability and a professional attitude. His classy and fluid innings against New Zealand really showcased what he can do when he is set. The portly Balaji Rao impressed me with his wicket taking ability and enthusiasm, and who can forget that onslaught from Hiral Patel, against Tait, Lee and Johnson no less. Still they are missing any threat with their bowling, and it was disappointing to see Rizwan Cheema not live up to his reputation.
Pride Factor: 2/5

Poor Kenya
It was unfortunate that they only got it all together in one match, but at least the Kenyans can take heart that it was against Australia. Leg spinner turned #3 Collins Obuya was the only guy to walk away with his reputation intact, and it was especially sad not to see Steve Tikolo get that swan-song that he deserves. This was a world cup to forget, you know there is a problem when Hamish Bennett is ripping through the order Ambrose style.
Pride Factor: 1.5/5

.... Last and Least
Bangladesh should hold their heads in shame. Yes they nearly qualified, but 58 all out and 78 all out is just inexcusable. Beating a woeful-on-the-day English team is not enough. Maybe they were just fooling us before and haven't learnt from the same old mistakes? Either way, the wait continues for the much needed ninth top tier cricketing nation. Right now they might as well field eleven Ashrafuls.
Pride Factor: 1/5

The Bottom Line
These nations showed us that they have enough talent and ability to develop and grow. But it is imperative that the ICC does not undo all this work and ignore them again for four years (and even then they want to cut up the number of teams in the next world cup event). I'm not saying send the Dutch to Australia, i'm saying hold more matches between these six teams, and perhaps involve the lower top eight teams such as the West Indies and New Zealand.

Give us a chance! ©AFP

Of course this is wishful thinking, I have learned to not expect intelligence from the ICC.

1 comment:

  1. I have similar wishful thinking as you have. In fact, my dreams are loftier as they also relate to gradual entry into Test cricket of these smaller teams. You can read them on the link below: