Wednesday, 21 March 2007

The Minnows Are Here To Stay

Another day that showed the chasm between the top sides and the associates is colossal. The upsets these lower ranked countries have caused over the years should be treated as exceptions rather than examples as they are far and few. South Africa had a easy day in the office as Scotland were unable to match their intensity while the New Zealand batsmen had some useful time in the middle.

Ireland beating Pakistan and Bangladesh overcoming India will be
spoken about for years to come but I stick to my stance on not more
than two qualifiers for a World Cup. Shattered Records have become as natural as day following night in these games that don’t serve quality stuff.

Ireland, have surprised me by playing some good cricket, hence apart from the ten Test playing nations (Zimbabwe included) Kenya and Ireland should have been the other two teams that should have made it to the event. There should never be any easy games and that can be ensured only if the also-rans don’t play the tournament.

But I have never been against the minnows getting exposure, I remember Bangladesh playing against India and Pakistan in 1988 in the Asia Cup and also playing in the Australasia Cup a few years later, they will have to wait and play in tournaments such as these or compete in triangular events or a few bilateral series before getting to the World Cup.

Sri Lanka had to wait for a long time before getting into the Test fold but they never felt out of place because they had gone through the hard grind before getting there. Likewise associates must compete well and play some hard cricket for a certain duration before getting to top flight competition.

Upsets will always happen, especially in team sports where there is the option of passing the buck. One can always expect the other to get the job done; the intensity against a lesser opponent goes down. One will try and exceed his own self rather than playing within himself. All these can lead to disasters as some previous matches have proved but these sporadic events should not make us believe they are here to stay.

The 1983 World Cup was thrown open when Zimbabwe upset Australia. In spite of the Aussies thumping us in the next game, all we needed was one win against either West Indies or Australia to qualify. As we beat the champs in the opening game our job became easier but we were thankful to Zimbabwe for causing the upset that made our job easier.

Likewise Kenya beating West Indies in 1996 or Zimbabwe beating England in 1992 were great for the game but let us not read too much in to them. The biggest foray from a minnow in the World Cup to me was Kenya making the last four in 2003 but even that was achieved by a few teams not traveling to Nairobi in the league stage that helped them accumulate vital points to reach the last four.

What this World Cup as proved as we get to the end of the preliminary
stage is the minnows are going to be cannon fodder but they have to be approached the same was as one would do a top side. The margin would be huge if you treat the game seriously but take it casually and you could well end up being the casualty as Pakistan and India learnt bitterly.


Jayabharathwaj said...

i would not be surprised if Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka also. They played very well against india and deserve to be in this competition.

Aurindam said...

yup!!...i agree totally with the subject .... "The Minnows Are Here To Stay" .
Bangladesh, beating India convincingly because of better batting, bowling and fielding and Ireland, yet to lose a match in WC-2007 are proof enuff.
And as ur blog shows... some or the other 'minnows' hav always left a mark in the World-Cups!!

Lost. Found. Lost Again said...

will this blog last till past the world cup? i'd love to link to it.

Sam Shrivatsa said...


I wonder what it'll take for teams like Kenya and Ireland (even Canada for that matter) to start playing regular cricket rather than just world cup? Why does ICC have so much restriction who should and who shouldn't be considered "test" playing nations? May be there is nothing stopping them... just wondering if anyone knows...
Wouldn't having more countries oplay more cricket between world cups make it more competitive?

dreamer said...

hey krish...I am solely agreed with you as Minnows like Bangladesh, Kenya are here to stay...last world cup Kenya moved to Semi-Final and I won't be shocked if history repeats itself this time.

Sumit Chakraberty said...

Krish, I think the first round should be a knockout between the top eight ranked teams and the other eight. There could be one or two upsets but we won't have so many boring games. In fact we need to improve the World Cup, as I've discussed in my blog

Ranjeet Adkar said...

Hi Krish,

I think that there should not be any constraints on who should play in the world cup and who should not.
However, ICC is a private body, not a public one and they are in their own rights to allow / disallow any team they wish to as per the rules they lay down.
I personally think that allowing all such teams encourages the popularity of game throughout the world. In my books, every player who plays the game with passion, is a winner in the end.