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Sunday, 16 January 2011





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World Cup cricket tournament starts on February 19:

Can 'Sanga' achieve in 2011 what Arjuna did in 1996?

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 February 20.

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 conclusive result.

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 overs.

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 number eight.

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 1983.



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