Friday, 27 April 2007

Stuff Of Dreams

A phone call with an old mate was just about to end, right alongside Australia's annihilation of South Africa. Just before hanging up my friend quipped: Is this Australian side the greatest ever? To which, I said it could be the best Australian team in terms of success rate but by a far stretch the West Indies side of the late 70's and 80's was the best. Remember, I was having only one-day cricket in mind, bring Test cricket also into the picture and all arguments would be a waste of time. Lloyd's men were the greatest to set foot on turf.

Man to man, the Windies then would have probably won 8-3 against this Aussie side. Let us start with batting. The pair of Hayden and Gilchrist are good but the Barbadian pair of Greenidge and Haynes were far superior. Ponting versus Viv Richards, do I need to say who wins that round? The middle order is one area where this Aussie side might compare well with the Windies.

The fielding standards of all world-beating sides has always been special. But where the West Indians scored was they had specialists for each position. Viv and Clive were omnipresent at the slips and nothing would pass through them, while Gordon and Harper were stunning in the gully region - add the strong arm of the pacemen from the deep; easy runs were only in opponents’ dreams.

The Aussies are an athletic lot, and are also blessed with a fine wicket keeper. Although Dujon to me was technically more compact than Gilchrist behind the stumps, he was not so by much. So, after we have seen the batting and fielding strengths, the West Indians only have a slight edge. The one department that takes them past any side of any era was their bowling prowess. They could simply blow away any opposition, and more importantly, in any conditions.

The pace attack instilled fear in the bravest of hearts. Sometimes, statistics may not provide a true reflector, but having played the pacemen at their peak, I know first hand they were one very tough lot to negate and get away with, leave alone scoring against.

So every connoisseur's fantasy would be a match up between the present Australian side and the West Indies side of the 80's. A dream date it would be, but only in fantasy. If it ever did happen, though, my money would be squarely on the marauding Windies


Anonymous said...


Team Possible Replacements
Gilchrist (Jayasuriya/Smith)
Hayden (no replacement possible)
Ponting (C) (no repl. possible)
pieterson (no repl. possible)
Styris (dilshan)
Symonds (Flintoff)
Vaas (Shaun Tait/Bracken)
Shane bond (Malinga)
Muralitharan (no repl. possible)
McGrath (no repl. possible)

12th man

Rahul Dravid

Paddy said...

True! And this makes it worse to see the state West Indies cricket is in, even with players (rather, legends) such as Brian Lara.

I believe Courtney Walsh & Brian Lara are perhaps the last of the titans that the West Indies team once had, and that a new era has begun for the cricketing team.

Where it leads them, we'll have to wait and watch...

oracle said...

i assume you are thinking only of ODIs. If not the most exciting team i have seen is the one in which Chandrasekhar and Prasanna payed with the close in fielders.

Indyank said...

West Indies were a great team then but still I don't agree that they they had a better one day team than the aussies now(or for the past 7 to 8 years).

Sri - The fact that you grew up admiring them makes you feel that they are better.this is a typical opinion by people of past eras.They always consider only the players or teams that played during their times as superior.

The fact is - West Indies had not faced good opposition then.Atleast not bowlers of the calibre of Wasim Akram,Mcgrath,Warne and murali.The teams that played against them were not superior.

The same may be said of the current world cup.While the cricketing skills of other international teams have declined,Aussies continue to perform well.This makes the current team look better.

But definitely the Aussie team that played for the past 2 to 5 years were really good as they had played against some class opposition in the ranks of Pakis,South Africans and the other teams to an extent.