Slaughter of the Minnow-cents + Sachin

Every world cup it seems there’s a debate about whether allowing in the so-called minnows of the game is a good idea or not. Because every world cup there are 200-plus run victories as Bermuda or Scotland or whoever are bowled out for less than a hundred by Australia or India or whoever.

It’s happened again this year. Herschelle Gibbs even smashed a world record 36 off an over against the Netherlands. For those whose maths is as poor as mine that’s a six off every single ball. No one had ever it done it internationally before, not in ODIs and not in test cricket.

The argument against the inclusion of minnows is that they help create crazy world records like that cause they’re just not up to snuff. “What’s the point of such an uneven competition?” they ask. And blah blah blah.

To which my response is, “Please!” One of the best ways to improve at anything is to learn from people who are better and more experienced than you are. Letting the minnows play with the top cricketing nations means that they will get oodles of practice against the best players in the world. As they improve they’ll create more interest in cricket back home and more potential cricket players and thus the game will grow and prosper throughout the world.

And they do get better.

As evidence I present Exhibits A & B: Bangladesh and Ireland.

The minnows sometimes upset the giants. Bangladesh just beat India in the first round. In the past few years they’ve racked up victories against a number of top teams including Australia. They are no longer as minnowy as they once were. I don’t think they’re a shot at the world cup (though how cool would that be?) but they’re certainly going to give a number of teams a testing time. Yay, Bangladesh!

First Ireland tied with Zimbabwe in their opening match and then in their second they beat Pakistan! Bowling them out for a pathetic 132 in the 45th over and following that up with a gritty batting display against some awesome bowling (and even better appealing—give Mr Sami an Oscar! He’s up there with Our Shane). And I’m so relieved the bad light and rain did not reduce things to a Duckworth-Lewis decision. Bravo to Ireland. They have several players I reckon England1 would love to have on their side.

Back in the olden days Sri Lanka and New Zealand were minnows; now they are not. They got that way by being included in world-class competition. I really don’t understand how anyone could argue against minnow inclusion. Me, I’m hoping a US of A team will qualify for the next world cup.

And via Christopher Rowe some other cricketing news: Sachin Tendulkar is going to have his own comic book:

The superhero character will be known as “Sachin The Master Blaster” for comic books, animation and games.

Excuse me? Sachin is one of the finest, but there is only one Master Blaster and his name is Viv Richards.

The article also claims that Sachin is the second greatest batsman of all time. Nuh uh. Not on his own he isn’t. I don’t care what Wisden says. There are a lot of other very fine batsmen in the running for that spot. Other than Sir Viv, there’s Brian Lara, Garfield Sobers, Sunil Gavaskar, and Ricky Ponting. But don’t ask me to pick a best out of that lot. I can’t. They’re all amazing. And besides comparisons are odious.

  1. Bummer about that loss to New Zealand, eh? []


  1. Malcolm on #

    The Warner Park ground — where Australia, South Africa, Netherlands and Scotland are playing their group matches — appears to be tiny. It’s not just the minnow factor at work here. Australia v. South Africa next Saturday could see a ridiculously high total score because of that.

    I’m with you on this issue, though — the weaker teams deserve their chance to play with the best in the world and sometimes they cause upsets. It’s good fun. So we have entertainment in the group stage, followed by a more serious group of 8 in the second stage.

  2. Justine on #

    Oh, sure, it does seem to produce an awful lot of boundaries!

    I reckon on the basis of a win and a tie Ireland is almost definitely going to be in the Super Eights. Pakistan lost to the Windies and to Ireland so they’re out of it. Just depends on how Zimbabwe does against the Windies and Pakistan. I really hope the Windies beat them. Sucks when the host team doesn’t at least make it through to the second round, ya know?

    Go Ireland!

  3. Dawn on #

    I feel very American right now. I don’t know an incredible amount about American sports in general, and now I feel incredibly lost! Oh well. 😉

  4. Ben Payne on #

    I’m with you on the minnows… people who complain about the minnows are just sour apples if you ask me!

    I can still remember people saying Sri Lanka shouldn’t be playing the big teams… now look where they are… I think Bangladesh will be up there soon too… Zimbabwe of course didn’t have the same success, but when you consider they’ve lost maybe a whole team-worth of players to the political situation there…

  5. Darren on #

    Go Ireland! Worth making the point, though, that Sir Garfield Sobers has hit 36 off an over before, but he did it in county cricket (I think) rather than in an international. Still, awesome performance from Herchelle Gibbs – let’s hope he makes up for it with a duck against the Aussies!

  6. veejane on #

    Baseball calls these uneven games “laughers,” because 22-0 (ha ha Yankees at home vs. Cleveland, 3 years ago) is an hilarious score. And we love the fact that it can happen to anybody.

    Unless it happens to your team, and then it’s a cry-er.

    It is a great leveller of Fate that even the crappiest team can have one really good day and whale the tar out of the division leader. And then go back to being crappy the next day.

  7. Justine on #

    Hey, I just realised Ireland beat Pakistan (and knocked them out of the world cup) on St Patrick’s Day. How excellent is that?

    Darren: I did say never done in an ODI or Test match. There are all sorts of weird records in domestic cricket. But, yes, Gary Sobers=god.

    Veejane: Laughers, eh? I like that. ODIs (which are a shorter form of the game) are much more open to unexpected results than test cricket. Cause as you say “it is a great leveller of Fate that even the crappiest team can have one really good day”.

    That’s why it’s a lot harder for the minnows to do well at test cricket. One good day’s not out of reach, but four or five good days in a row? That’s much trickier.

  8. Cheryl on #

    Hmm, I thought I posted a comment this morning. Let’s try again.

  9. Cheryl on #

    OK, that worked, so…

    Yay Bangladesh! I rather liked the supporters who had a banner reading “2011 World Champions”. Given how young their side is, that might just be realistic.

    6s records: Gary Sobers for Northants against Glamorgan (off a bowler called Malcolm Nash – presumably no relation to Darren). The only other one in a first class game was Ravi Shastri in an Indian regional match.

    And back to minnows, I suspect that Kenya might once again prove the best of them. Keep an eye on the England-Kenya match, my Aussie friends, and try not to die laughing.

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