Characters in the World Cup cricket teams

Posted: March 30, 2007 in characters, cricket, heroes, world cup

Can a team win a big event like the World Cup in cricket, without having genuine heroes or characters?

Was the Indian team that won the World Cup in 1983 a team like that? Well, Kapil Dev was a character for sure. So, I would not call it a team without any heroes. But yes, other than Kapil, the rest of the team was pretty much, average chaps.

Pakistan as a World Cup winner, had of course, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, two amazing characters. Sri Lanka, in their win, had a Jayasuriya and an Aravinda D’Silva, not to speak of their most amazing captain ever, Ranatunga.

Which brings me to the current World Cup and the teams in the reckoning. Leaving Ireland and Bangladesh aside, lets examine the rest of the teams, and see if there are heroes or larger than life characters present, in these teams.

Australia of course, has Ponting. But they also have awesome heroes like Gilchrist and McGrath, and budding ones like Hussey and Clarke. And then there is Symonds.

So yes, Australia may only have an excess of them!

South African characters would include guys like Smith at the top, followed by Kallis, Gibbs, Pollock and Boucher. People with fan followings, people who are capable to turning things around on their own, guys who have done it few times, people with a certain style about them.

Which is why, in the above two teams, if one had to pick a single name each, it would have to be Ponting and Smith respectively. The style and aplomb with which they bat and lead their sides from the front qualifies them, for these unique positions.

Then coming to Sri Lanka. Certainly its got to be Murali. What a character.. he is an enigma of sorts, almost a magician like figure. A big wide smile each time he gets a wicket, or even when he takes a catch or fields well or throws his bat around to score some runs. Other names to be picked could include Sangakara, Malinga and Vaas. But Murali is streets ahead.

England has Flintoff and Peitersen. Both have a certain style and confidence to be the heroes of their teams, and aptly become the characters for England. Panesar is the only other name that comes to mind, but more so, because he is a Sikh, and stands out, and has that oriental spinning magic. But he has a long way to go.

The West Indies have Lara. Again, like in case of Sri Lanka, he is the one man who is streets ahead of all others. Quite like a Viv Richards before him, the absolute confidence justifies the tag for him. He can take on complete teams single handedly, and as long as he is on the crease, no matter if 9 wickets are down, the opposite team cannot heave a sigh of relief! Other characters in West Indies would include Gayle and perhaps, Chanderpaul. Bravo is an emerging one, and if he justifies the potential that he shows, he could be their future character!

That brings us to New Zealand. Where from actually this thought came to my mind, in the first place. I find that New Zealand as a team, does NOT have any such characters! Yes, guys like Oram, Mcmillan, Bond, Vettori, have flirted with the tag, but they still do not really ‘own’ the character tag! None of them. Least of all, their captain, Fleming. And yet, they could be the genuine dark horse of the World Cup, to challenge Australia, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

So, to repeat my question from the beginning of this post, “Can a team win a big event like the World Cup in cricket, without having genuine heroes or characters?”.
I am not sure. We will see if New Zealand gets there.. then, we will know the answer to this.

Oh, by the way, I do not want to talk about teams that are already eliminated, as to whether they had any characters or not. Which is why India and Pakistan are not even mentioned here.

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