Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Long-toothed horses still kick the hardest

Kumara Sangakkara puts his money on ageing greats conjuring up one final blast this World Cup before walking into the sunset.

A unique World Cup this turns out to be in that so many of the great men taken to be playing their last World Cup still carry the tag of 'Best Player of the team'. They do so on the back of solid performances rather than history. Look at Brain Lara and Inzamam-ul Haq: they are still the go-to men facing a steep chase and also the skippers of their teams.

Turn to Sanath Jayasuriya - he is another of those big-chase men and capable of bowling out his quota on any track. Invaluable. Ask Dhoni, if you must. Not for nothing do I love to call him the Gary Sobers of one-dayers.

Only Adam Gilchrist, with his waning form, faces serious competition as 'the player to watch' from his skipper's willow magic. But then such are the ways of Cricket Australia that this might as well be the 32 year old latter's final hurrah!

We turn to South Africa and there shines pure gold in the hair and cricketing form of Shaun Pollock. These days he bowls like a dream, bats for the team and catches like a scream. Hard to believe if you last saw him bowling off-spin in Sri Lanka, eh? Check here!

Think of these names once again: Sanath, Inzamam, Lara, Pollock, Gilchrist, Ponting. Now think of their shows in the year gone by. Don't you think they still laugh their way into any world XI?

And you really thought I missed out on India's Sach, didn't you? Well that's because I do not imagine this to be Tendulkar's last Cup at all! But then you again have a final-hurrah-seeking Ganguly-da pushing Sachin hard as the 'best man in blue' these days....

By now I expect you to have worked out that 'Old is Gold' was indeed the original (?) title of this post.

Postscript: Quite irrelevant to the topic, actually. There was a good amount of surprise involved in reading certain passages in that Kumara Sangakkara interview, especially when he says:

"I was pretty ordinary at both (batting & fielding), if I have to be honest, when I started. I had to work really hard. Guys like
Mahela Jayawardene have been exceptionally talented since they were young and I am not of that mould. It's been a lot of hard work.."

Try telling me you thought likewise about the silk-man...

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