Saturday, April 09, 2011

Asians: Land of the Cricketing Supremacy

Have a look at this table:

Since 1992, atleast one Asian country has been in the finals of the World Cup. Asians have won the World Cup 3 times in the last 6 editions, the other three belonging to the Aussies. The year 1987 saw the Asian countries (India and Pakistan) hosting the World cup for the first time. England and Australia started playing this game. West Indies dominated the game for some time. And now, Asians are ruling the roost.

It all started with India winning the 1983 edition. India defeating the all-conquering West Indies (incidentally, that now seems to be the 'beginning of the end' for West Indies cricket).

Bangladesh team is slowly turning out to be the Sri Lankans of the 1990's. They still have a long way to go, but the signs are promising. They need to develop a couple of match winning players in their team. They had Ashraful, but somehow I get the feeling that they don't want him anymore in their team. Now, they have Tamim Iqbal, but he is not consistent enough. A good coach, a good captain, some match-winners, and good overseas exposure. Give them 3-4 years time and we'll (hopefully) see the difference.

Pakistan, under their (current) captain Shahid Afridi, are the dark-horses of Asian cricket. They definitely have the talent to go the distance. All they need is less controversy on & off the pitch, less politics (on & off the pitch, again) and more cricket. Unfortunately, terrorism is still a huge issue and it interferes will all aspects of Pakistan, including Cricket. I somehow like the way Afridi leads the team. They have potential in their batting with Umar Akmal and Asad Shafiq in the middle order and the would-be future stars. Their bowling is their strength with Umar Gul and the spinners. And lets not forget Shahid Afridi himself leading from the front with his bowling (@Afridi: We Indians have a heart big enough to appreciate the cricketer in you, despite what you think). 

Sri Lankans are the team to watch out for. They have been very consistent over the past few years. They won the World Cup in 1996, semi finalists in 2003 and finalists in 2007 and 2011. They deserve more than they achieve. Their batting is their strength with the likes of Dilshan, Sangakkara and Jayawardene, but they are not getting any younger. Now, as on date, they are without the services of Murali (retired), Chaminda Vaas (on the verge of retirement in ODI's). Their bowling will now heavily depend on Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara and spinners like Mendis. It seems they have taken the 2011 WC final loss too seriously, with Sangakkara relinquishing his captaincy for the younger generation. 

India: Well, we are the World Champions now !! We have perhaps one of the best captains ever in Mahendra Singh Dhoni. We have a young and dynamic team that has the capability to get into the shoes of the seniors in the team, should they retire. Our bowling is still the concern and is totally in the hands of Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh. Other bowlers are threatening only at times. R Ashwin has the potential to be the future spin-king. Watch out for Gambhir, Kohli and Raina. Even seniors like Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag has few years in them. Now we are left with only one man, no-wait, God, or a human God... Sachin Tendulkar himself. I personally don't think he will retire after the World Cup. I see him continuing for, lets say, one more year. Many more wins for India, many records yet to be made ('records broken' - not in his dictionary anymore). With him around the youngsters, the Indian team is looking better and stronger.

Watch out world, the Asians are coming !!

PS: Thank you England for introducing this game to us. And don't worry, your cricket is now in our hands (Read: Safe hands) !!

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