World Cup cricket tournament starts on February 19:
Can 'Sanga' achieve in 2011 what Arjuna did in 1996?
By A. C. De Silva
CRICKET: Ever since the start of limited overs cricket in the
sixties, analysts of the game have wonders how the great of the past
would have fared in it. Their merits and qualities to succeed in this
type of cricket have been the subject of hours of engrossed discussions
among the young and old as also renowned evaluators of cricket. In the
end many would have glittered more than the present day superstars.
Kumar Sangakkara the Sri Lanka captain batting well and big
things are expected from him.
But all eyes now are on Sri Lanka's performances on World Cup 2011
from February 19 to April 2, some matches of which will be played in Sri
Lanka. Sri Lanka's first match is against Canada at Hambantota on
Cricket has always been a popular game in the subcontinent where
since the early '50s, games have drawn full houses not merely in Test
matches but wherever they have played. With the introduction of one-day
cricket however, the original form of the game has certainly taken a
backseat, but the game's following has grown even more. What a feast
ensuing World Cup will be when not one but all the cricket playing
nations will descend on the subcontinent.
Obviously, the biggest attraction for a paying public-fed on many
drawn Tests for a long time, is a feast of matches with much action is
packed in a short period of time at the end of which there is a
So fickle is the nature of this game that the mightiest can fall to
the weakest because there is no second innings for the redeeming act.
There is very encouraging and influencing factor for the weaker teams.
Players direct all their effort and energy towards one goal.... VICTORY.
All eyes on Sangakkara
What all Sri Lankans want to happen is the result of '96. If it can
be repeated in 2011? However, the Lankans will do well not bank too much
on optimism, but play the game with all the determination to get
positive results in the matches. Kumar Sangakkara who leads the Lankan
side no doubt will make every effort to keep the team in high spirits to
get to the ultimate goal. The Lankan Captain is batting well right now
and big things are expected from him.
Clive Lloyd - the West Indies captain of 1975. Scored
century in inaugural World Cup Tournament which helped West
Indies to win the tournament.
It is held that dashing allrounders form the nucleus of limited
Is there anyone around these days who is equal to Learie Constantine,
Keith Miller or Sir Gafield Sobers? If transfers were permitted in
cricket would not have record fees been paid for them? English critics
looked in awe and disbelief at the batting and bowling genius of
Constatine. And as he pounced on a ball to fling it back straight and
flat at high speed those watching looked at one another in wonderment.
During his era Keith Miller was the darling of the game: with the
crowds for the flamboyancy of his cricket and with the ladies for his
good looks. With Ray Lindwall he formed the 'torrid duo' which tormented
the batsmen. On occasions Miller bowled faster and with greater
hostility then Lindwall. His bowling had the incisiveness of Malcolm
Marshall and his batting the dash of Botham.
Sir Garfield Sobers remains incomparable. Will the world get to see
another like him? His Lithe figure the clouted balls over the boundary
with ease. Sobers batted with great success from the opening position to
Then in bowling, if required he bowled faster than Wesley Hall,
resorted to cutters as the shine were off and went over to orthodox
left-arm spin and chinaman. He dived at slip, sprinted in the covers and
crouched at forward short leg for bat and pad catches off Lance Gibbs.
His presence brought excitement and electrified the atmosphere.
Gritty Sri Lanka
Kapil Dev - rescued India from hopeless position and made
majestic knock of 175 not out inclusive of 16 fours and six
sixes which helped India to win World Cup in 1983.
There were plenty of thrills in the inaugural Prudential World Cup
cricket in England in 1975. West Indies won the tag 'the world champion'
beating Australia in a tight finish. On that memorable day, the Windies
captain Clive Lloyd, scored a superb century.
En-route to the final, Australia got past England in a low-scoring,
but edge-of-the-seat match. Allrounder Gary Gilmour did the star turn
for Australia. Kallicharran's assault on Dennis Lillee in the league was
another memorable feature.
Up against Australia's mighty 328 for 6 (60 overs), Sri Lanka made a
gallant bid but ultimately went down with guns booming.
It was a hectic chase. Duleep Mendis (32) Sunil Wettimuny (53) played
heroically despite being hit by the ferocious Jeff Thomson. Sri Lanka's
final tally of 276 for 4 wickets was a saga of courage in extremely
adverse conditions and that clearly told the mental attitude of the
gritty Sri Lankan cricketers. What Arjuna Ranatunga achieved in 1996,
can Kumar Sangakkara do it in 2011?
Kapil's glory days
Then came the saga of Indian skipper Kapil Dev. Being aggressive in
approach Kapil could easily fit into the one-day scheme of things. The
start in Pakistan was mediocre. 18, runs and four wickets in three
matches. The second World Cup in 1979 was also equally disappointing 53
runs and two wickets in three matches. Indeed, on that England tour of
Kapil's batting never clicked despite a roaring start-a 74-minute
century, the fastest of the season then, against Northants.
But Kapil picked up and his stock soared with that of India's too.
The history-making World Cup followed, with two more victories against
the till-then unassessible Windies.
The 1983 World Cup turned out to be a memorable one for the Indians.
There were some memorable instances for the Indians. Yaspal Sahrma
pulling Bob Willis for a glorious six, Srikanth, on bended knees,
driving Andy Roberts to the fence and of course Kapil Dev tearing the
Zimbabwe attack apart for that memorable 175 not out.
There have been many ups and downs for Indian cricket in limited-over
cricket, but that performance in 1983 was simply superb. Nine for four,
17 for five. No one could have hoped for a win.
But Kapil's fierce fighting spirit that brought him 175 runs and
being not out which knock included 16 boundaries and six sixes helped
India to 266 for 8 wickets.
That knock by Kapil set the trend. Nothing could go wrong for India
after that. It was undoubtedly Kapil's crowning glory the World Cup