February 23, 2007
The last hurrah


The 2007 Cricket World Cup will be memorable not only for its historic nature, being the first one ever to be staged on Caribbean soil but also because it is likely to be the last occasion when fans are likely to see the stellar collection of outstanding performers of the past two decades, playing against each other on the World Cup stage. Since the 1992 World Cup jointly staged by Australia and New Zealand, the history of this premier cricket tournament is littered with the scintillating batting of Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, the big hitting of Sanath Jayasuriya, Adam Gilchrist and Sourav Ganguly, the incisive and parsimonious bowling of Glen Mc Grath, Chaminda Vaas and Shaun Pollock, topped by the wiles of Muttiah Muralitharan and Anil Kumble.{{more}}

Alas! After 2007, one is unlikely to see any of them at such a tournament again. By the next World Cup in 2011, Lara, Jayasuriya, Gilchrist, Mc Grath and Kumble along with the Pakistan captain Inzaman, will be in their forties. Ganguly and Muralitharan will be on the doorstep and Tendulkar and Pollock, though still outside Door No.40, will most likely have opted for permanent rest after their stupendous toils.

That alone should provide a major incentive to fans to catch a last glimpse of such genius in action. Their deeds place them among the pantheons of World Cup greats, inscribed alongside those of Vivian Richards and Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Kapil Dev and Imran Khan who have provided indelible World Cup memories. For these heroes, fit enough to compete with these a generation younger, World Cup 2007 may will be the Last Hurrah.




Tendulkar 33 1732 59.72 87.56

Lara 25 956 43.45 87.70

Ganguly 18 844 56.26 81.78

Jayasuriya 27 698 29.08 86.17

Gilchrist 20 632 31.60 94.18

For many of them milestones are within reach. The Indian superstar Sachin Tendulkar is not only by far the most prolific batsman in World Cup cricket, having scored nearly 700 runs more than his nearest rival, Pakistan’s Javed Miandad, but is within 268 runs of becoming the first batsman to pile up 2000 runs in World Cup cricket. Nobody else is within dreaming distance. Our own Brian Lara, Tendulkar’s career-long rival, has a more modest target in sight. Forty-four more runs will take him past 1000.

Out of this bunch of veterans, the aggressive Australian wicketkeeper-bats-man, Adam Gilchrist, has the honour of being the fastest scorer with a strike rate of 94.18 per 100 balls with Lara and Tendulkar almost tied at 87 plus. But none of these have managed to erased the career figures of the all-rounders from the sub-continent, Kapil Dev of India and the Pakistani left-hander Wasim Akram who left figures of 115.14 and 100.70 per 100 balls respectively for posterity to gasp in wonder. Kapil himself had held the record for the fastest World Cup hundred (72 balls) before the last West Indies team (2003) was hammered by a Canadian, (yes, a Canadian!) Jim Davison for a 67-ball hundred. Lara himself has the record for the fastest World Cup fifty (23 balls) in that same match vs. Canada.




Mc Grath 28 45 20.77 3.81

Vaas 21 36 20.94 4.09

Muralitharan 21 30 23.10 3.68

Kumble 17 28 23.92 4.08

Pollcok 21 23 29.30 3.64

In the bowling department, the miserly Aussie, Glen Mc Grath, who has already announced that World Cup 2007 would be his swansong, is only 10 wickets away from Wasim Akram’s all-time total of 55. He has a chance of going to the top, adding to another record he holds, for best figures with 7 for 15 against lowly Namibia. Mc Grath has become only the third bowler to take 7 wickets in World Cup innings, the Vincentian hero, Winston Davis being the pioneer, against Australia in 1983. Mc Grath is also second in all-time averages, to another great, Imran Khan, with Vaas just behind him.

There are a host of other memorable performances and legacies from these players likely to bow out on Caribbean soil, including Ganguly’s 318-run record second-wicket partnership with Rahul Dravid against Sri Lanka in 1999. Jayasuriya, for instance, is in the exalted company of Imran, Kapil Dev, and Steve Waugh for being the only persons to score 500 runs and take 20 wickets in the World Cup. He also held 15 catches. So whatever the result of World Cup 2007, the next one will be all the poorer without these titans. Let us wish them one last big effort in their Last Hurrah!

An anonymous contributor.