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