Posted on February 16, 2011. Filed under: CRICKET, CRICKET WORLD CUP, CRICKET WORLD CUP 1999, ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2011, ICC WORLD CUP 2003 | Tags: , , , , , |

Aus_S Waugh10


He came into the Australian squad as an all-rounder during the test series down-under versus India. He was a member of the team that won the World Cup in 1987. Within a few years, he lost his place in the test team to his twin brother who scored a century on debut in the Ashes of 1991. The player is Stephen Rodger Waugh who went to become one of the best batsmen of his generation and also one of the best captains in the game.

Following his exit from the team, Steve had a change in his approach to batting. The comeback into the team witnessed a different batsman who started to score runs in torrents. The opponents seemed to bring the best out of him and no one can forget the double hundred in the West Indies in 1995 that gave Australia the Frank Worrell trophy after a long interval.

Some of the most famous innings of Steve Waugh have come in the longer version of the game.For someone who batted down the order, big scores in the one-dayers were not always possible.

In the Reliance World Cup of 1987, Steve Waugh could not make a big contribution with his bat but on more than one occasion, took crucial wickets. Waugh was a very clever bowler who varied the pace much to the surprise of the batsmen. In the semi-finals versus Pakistan at Lahore, Waugh scored 18 runs off Salim Jaffer in the 50th over of the Australian innings.Those runs proved to be the winning margin for the Aussies. Later when Pakistan batted, he took a couple of wickets.

In the Wills World Cup of 1996, Steve Waugh had a few memorable outings like the half-century versus New Zealand at Chennai. In the semi-finals at Mohali, he produced a great delivery to stop Brian Lara who was well set to take the Windies to the finals.

But it was the ICC World Cup of 1999 that saw Steve Waugh’s emergence as a great captain.The Aussies had to really sweat it out after the initial stages.It was in the super-six match versus South Africa at Leeds that the famous Waugh magic came to the fore.It was a now-or-never match with Australia needing to win in order to have any further say in the tournament.

South Africa made 271 with Gibbs making a century. In reply, the Aussies had a poor start but Waugh went for the shots making a 50 off only 47 balls.When on 56, Waugh had a reprieve, thanks to Herschelle Gibbs.Legend has it that Waugh made a comment to Gibbs about the drop. Waugh went on to make 120 and took his team to the semi-finals. After a couple of days, the same two teams contested the semi-finals which ended in a tie and the Aussies went to the final on a better run-rate.

Waugh was not picked for the World Cup of 2003.He had to make way for new and younger players.But no one can question the part played by Waugh in the making of a strong Australian team.

I was fascinated once to learn that Steve Waugh played with a bat that was shorter in length in relation to the bats used by other players.The famous red hankie in the trouser pocket and the worn out baggy green are still fresh in my memory.

More than the style it was substance that was more important.

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Posted on February 11, 2011. Filed under: CRICKET, CRICKET WORLD CUP 1999, ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2011, ICC WORLD CUP 2003 | Tags: , , , , , |


He was considered one of the finest fielders at the position once graced by Jonty Rhodes. On his day, he could take apart any attack out of the ground.

Recently, he came out with a tell-all autobiography that did not show his teammates and the coaching staff in a good light. He also was not ashamed to reveal his weakness for the good things in life.

He was infamously part of the few players who confessed to taking orders from Hansie Cronje to throw away matches. After the ban, he came out with the jersey having two 0s on it to signify his intentions of starting afresh.

As far as the World Cup is concerned, Herschelle Gibbs is best remembered for the dropped catch that gave Steve Waugh and his team the opportunity to go all the way to winning the Cup. The innings of Steve Waugh and the dropped catch overshadowed the fine effort of Gibbs with the bat earlier in the day at Leeds. Gibbs made 101 and this helped his team to post a score of 271. The match was inching towards South Africa until Gibbs in an attempt to hurl the ball into the air dropped it. Steve Waugh took full advantage of the reprieve and made the South Africans pay dearly. It is said that Waugh had a jibe at Gibbs for not just the catch but the World Cup being dropped. The Aussies beat the Proteas and went to the semi-finals where the same two teams came face-to-face.

With Shaun Pollock putting up a great display, the Aussies could only muster up a score of 213.This was not a target beyond the reach of South Africa even when the Australians had bowlers of the caliber of McGrath and Warne. Gibbs was playing well until he was bowled by a Warne special and South Africa found it difficult to score. Even Klusener’s late heroics could not help the team and match ended in a tie. The Australians went to the finals on the back of their earlier victory over South Africa.

In the World Cup of 2003, South Africa faced New Zealand at Johannesburg. South Africa needed to win the match to progress further in the tournament since they were defeated by the West Indies. The home team was off to steady start and Gibbs was in his elements taking the Kiwi bowlers to the cleaners. He made 143 off only 131 balls with 3 sixers. South Africa scored 306.

The target of 307 was always going to be a difficult one for the Kiwis. However, the New Zealand skipper, Stephen played the innings of a lifetime. Rain caused a reduction in the number of overs and the Kiwis were always ahead of the required runs as stipulated by the DL method. South Africa lost again.

Gibbs finished on the losing side twice in the World Cup even when he made great contributions with the bat. Of course, Gibbs made amends during the famous chase of 434 versus Australia.

Gibbs would be the first person to admit that the World Cup was a much greater stage than any other.

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Posted on February 6, 2011. Filed under: CRICKET, CRICKET WORLD CUP, CRICKET WORLD CUP 1999, ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2011 | Tags: , , , , , |

geoff allott

With the ICC Cricket World Cup only a few days away, most of the news and sports channels are making us ‘relive’ the past action. There are highlights, sidelights and also the visions from the experts.

In between the not-so-busy schedule of mine, I find time to remote through the different channels and a couple of days ago, I happened to stumble upon the match between India and New Zealand in the World Cup of 1999 in England. Geoff Allott the left-arm fast from New Zealand took advantage of the conditions and had Saurav Ganguly in a great deal of discomfort and finally yorked the batsman out.

Allott had a great World Cup with 20 wickets in the competition but that was not enough for his team. Shane Warne also took the same number of wickets in that tournament. Against Australia and Pakistan the finalists of the World Cup, Allott took 4 wickets each. Cricket as a team game can be very cruel in that great individual performances do not get the attention they deserve in view of the team’s lack of success.

Allott could not take his career to greater levels due to persistent injuries and finally in 2010, he decided to call it a day.

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