Same Battlefield But Only a Few Veteran Soldiers
The time flies like a tracer bullet.
The 1999 World Cup doesn’t look that far when I recall it. The whole tournament is still fresh in my memories.
But when I see it as a tournament, which took place a good decade ago, I wonder how all these years have gone by so quickly. The years 1999 and 2009 have only one thing in common, and that is the ICC World Cup hosted by England, although one was of 50 over cricket and the other one is of 20 over.
Nevertheless, in both, 12 countries aim for the same trophy.
Most of the players who were featured in the 1999 World Cup are nowhere to be seen on the cricket field, at least not for playing.
Most of them are either coaching some national or International sides while others are linked to the game via commentating in cricket matches. Only a few players who played the 1999 World Cup in England are playing this T20 World Cup on the same soil.
To see the same commitment from them today as it was a decade ago is something very heartwarming. It takes me back to those days when I used to miss school in order to watch the World Cup.
Here, I would like to mention those players who are common to both 1999 and 2009 World Cups in England, and are the representatives of their respective countries in both the mega events.
They have three such players on their side.
Sanath Jayasuria, 39, is still one of the best in the business. Although he didn’t fire in the 1999 World Cup when the Sri Lankans were defending their title, but his presence has always boosted them even in this ongoing World Cup.
Muttiah Muralitharan, the spin wizard, has been around for a while now. He was as crucial to his team at that time as he is now.
Mahela Jayawerdene was not a permanent member of the squad at that time, but he is their main player in this World Cup. Sri Lanka will desperately need his experience at the top in tough English conditions and, so far, all of them have come good.
The victorious side of the 1999 World Cup had some great players. Fourteen of them do not play International cricket now.
Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, is the only player on the national side who played the 1999 World Cup. Ricky was still a young, promising batsman at that time and was amongst the leading run scorers, although he couldn’t manage to score any century.
He’ll be disappointed to be knocked out even before the super eight stage this time, considering he was a member of the successful World Cup squad here 10 years ago.
Surprisingly, there is no Indian who falls in this category.
Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid are still associated with the Indian team that played in the 1999 World Cup, but both of them do not feature in their T20 side.
Is the lack of experience in English conditions one of the causes of their premature world cup exit even though they were considered to be the favorites?
Kiwi has a history of an unstable side during the last few years with lots of players coming in and out the team. Daniel Vettori, the Kiwi captain, is the only player to have visited Britain along the national side 10 years ago.
Surprisingly, he didn’t get a single game to play. His experience of the conditions will still be helpful to lead his side in this tournament, although he has not been well in the last couple of weeks.
None of the late 90s Englishmen are playing in the 2009 World T20. Andrew Flintoff could have been one if he was fit to play the tournament. Nasser Hussain has taken up mike instead of a bat.
How quickly the things can change in a space of few years!
This is probably why they are considered the strongest contender to take the trophy home—South Africa has their three main players in this World T20 squad that played the last world cup in England.
Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs, and Mark Boucher, the main South African players, are well aware of the conditions and all of them are thought as the best in their department. The mixture of these veterans and some exciting young players is maintaining a solid combination throughout this tournament.
South Africa must not choke this time around because this trio will certainly have the memories of the sensational and disastrous semi-final against Australia on their minds (they tied against Australia and could not go through to the final due to less run rate).
The backbone of South Africa lies with this experienced trio, and that’s why South Africa is looking so dangerous.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the only West Indian player to have participated in both 1999 and 2009 World Cup. Along with Brain Lara last time, he was sharing the responsibility of holding the middle order together.
This time, he will have to play the role of senior anchor in the middle order with Ramnaresh Sarwan. Chanderpaul may not be tailor-made for this form of cricket, but he can certainly play an important role in the unpredictable West Indian batting lineup.
The runner-up team of the 1999 World Cup only has two players in this World T20.
Shahid Afridi (who plays more as a bowler now) and Abdul Razzaq (who played an important part both with bat and bowl during Pakistan’s success in the 1999 World Cup) are two players who will come in handy for Pakistan due to their experience.
Shoaib Akhter, who was originally named in the T20 squad, would have increased the list to three players, but he was dropped due to health problems. Only 11 players from world cricket are aiming for what they did a decade ago on the same soil for their respective countries.
There may be many new and fine soldiers in each regiment, but experience is always handy, especially if they have fought on the same battlefield before.
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