They were the 3 debutants that won their first ODI cap in World Cup Matches. In fact can you believe that our World Cup team had such great players like
- Sunil Valson (who features as an answer to a great trivia question - Name the only player in the 1983 Cricket squad who never played in the World Cup event / never got an international match in his career)
- Subroto Banerjee: 2 Matches in WC'92 & 6 ODI matches in his illustrious career
- Salil Ankola: Remembered forever for dropping Arjuna Ranatunga in the Ind-SL group match at Feroz Shah Kotla - his only WC match. He played a grand total of 20 ODIs and 1 test match. Now better known for his roles in Indian movies and television
- Aashish Kapoor: My childhood or whatever was left of it was spoilt when i witnessed a portly and slow Aashish Kapoor chasing the ball to the third man fence in the doomed Ind-SL Semifinal WC'96. Or was bowling the rank bad deliveries that the Sri Lankans cherised in the match or his golden duck during the batting collapse.
- Amay Khurasiya: Paid rich tributes to his cricketing idol - Sunil Valson, when he did not feature in a single '99 WC match inspite of being in the team.
- Nikhil Chopra: Another 'star' performer (not in studio!) of '99 WC squad. Failed to appear in any of the matches (Did we not play Kenya?)
- Parthiv Patel: A decent keeper more reputed (or ill-reputed) for appealing for LBW decisions on straight drives (no, i am kidding - but he appealed for everything else!). However he made Sunil Valson proud - made squad of 2003 WC but did not see the cricket field
- Ajit Agarkar: Of all the people on the list, this is the biggest surprise. Ajit Agarkar made it to the 2003 WC squad but did not play a single match (No Kenya? No Namibia? No Holland?)
Why did i put out the list? To prove 2 things:
(1): In no world cup did we have contributions from the full squad. In most of the world cups, we had players who did not play a single game or were the season flavors who got gettisoned after the World Cup (as listed above)
(2)It takes only 4-5 decent performances to win a cricket match and not all 11; forget all 15.
Some emperical evidence from last world Cup:
- Holland: Sachin - 50+; Mongia - 40+; Srinath & Kumble 4-for
- Australia: Lets forget this one. Mulligan
- Zimbabwe: Sachin: 50+; Dravid: 40+; Ganguly (yes!) - 3-for; Srinath, Zaheer & Bhajji - 2 for: This game was a real team effort
- Namibia: Tendulkar & Ganguly - 100+; Yuvraj: 4-for; Zaheer, Bhajji & Mongia - 2 for
- England: Tendulkar & Dravid - 50+; Kaif - 40+; Nehra: 6-for; Srinath: 2-for; Dravid- 3 catches; Sehwag - 3 catches (including a brilliant one of the dangerous Andrew Flintoff)
- Pakistan: Zaheer & Nehra - 2 for; Sachin & Yuvraj - 50+; Dravid - 40+
- Kenya (Super 6): Srinath & Bhajji - 2 for; Ganguly - 100+; Yuvraj - 50+
- Sri Lanka (Super 6): Sachin & Sehwag - 50+; Ganguly - 40+; Srinath & Nehra - 4 for; Zaheer - 2 for
- New Zealand (Super 6): Zaheer - 4 for; Bhajji - 2 for; Kaif & Dravid - 50+
- Kenya (Semi-Finals): Sachin-50+; Ganguly-100+; Zaheer - 3 for; Sachin & Nehra - 2 for
- Australia (Final): Mulligan. Did i already not have one? Forget it. This was a rank bad match for most involved - so lets remove it as well
In Summary: Sachin (7/9); Zaheer (6/9); Ganguly (5/9); Srinath (5/9); Dravid (4/9); Nehra (4/9); Bhajji (4/9); Yuvraj (3/9); Kaif (2/9); Sehwag (2/9); Mongia (2/9); Kumle (1/2)
So as you notice above - we had significant contributions from not more than 7 players in match (England) and if we remove catches - 6 (Zim & Namibia matches). This debunks the theory that we need all 11 players to fire on any given day. Yes! in a match like the finals - under normal circumstances, you need a core that fires and others contribute as opportunities presents itself.
In summary -
- I wish that either of Sachin or Dravid be the backbone of the scoring for the indian team and fire consistently
- I wish for 5+ good performances (total estimated: 11 = 3 (round) + 6 (Super 8)+ SF + F)from the following: Ganguly, Sachin/Dravid, Zaheer, Ajit Agarkar
- I wish for 5 good performances from: Yuvraj, Dhoni, Sehwag, Bhajji,
- I wish for 3-4 good performances from: Uthappa, Pathan, Sreesanth, Munaf
- Atleast 2 good performances from: Dinesh Karthik, Kumble
Thus - i think if the team plays at it best and gets beaten by a better team (ala WC'03) and not panic (ala WC'96) - i would be smiling at the end of the WC campaign - WC in hand or not!