The World Cup has been magnificent so far. Of course there has been some one-sided matches but even the big teams are being surprised. On an overall level, it looks like teams batting first and putting on a 300+ score are likely to win and those batting second, especially under lights have not had it easy. Cricket quality, as mentioned widely, has been mind-blowing from Chris Gayle’s (West Indies) 215 knock to Tim Southee’s (South Africa) 7-33 figures and I reckon the knock out stages will promise more good stuff.
The most recent blow was delivered to England by Bangladesh. Looking at England’s form from the start of the tournament, they were always in danger of getting knocked out, but the question was when & by whom? Credits to the Tigers, whom I thought bowled really well, having only posted 275 on a good batting surface in Adelaide. People always love an upset and that has certainly sparked the wide reception from fans around the globe. I’m happy for the Tigers, who have worked really hard to stay in the tournament. They are normally treated as minnows by the big test nations.
I want Downton & Moores sacked today & Kevin Pietersen restored to the team. This farce just reached its true, hideous nadir.#BringBackKP
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) March 9, 2015
England will definitely be disappointed, and it will always be a case of if’s and but’s after an exit from a major competition. The management and players will usually have to take some bullets as results speak louder than the team. Whether or not Moores retains his job, it really depends on the ECB, considering that this team is relatively new. If we were to analyze purely on the World Cup, I think they will need some restructuring. Some things have been said about the decision to drop Kevin Pietersen, but it’s a tricky one. I’m sure Moores would have wanted to take his best team to the World Cup, so I presume Kevin didn’t fit into his plans and their long-term plans.
Following the World Cup certainly made me ponder about Malaysian cricket. To be honest, given the proper cricket set-up and management, we are not far off in terms of running things as we are currently 23rd on the ICC rankings and we’re playing in the Division 3 of World Cricket League. That’s the World Cup qualifiers, in essence. However, it’s not going to be easier for us to make it to the World Cup, as the nearer you get to qualification, the tougher it becomes. A whole lot of things will be required, especially in terms of enhancement. It will also take time for a small cricketing nation like us to compete with the big guns.
To be frank, seeking sponsorship for sports in Malaysia has to be up there as one of the toughest jobs. In my opinion, we don’t embrace the sporting culture and as for cricket, this has probably been a major setback for decades now. The Youth and Sports ministry has certainly be supporting sports associations, but it’s mainly for the development of the game. But focusing on high level performance is a different thing and us not being able to deliver big results makes it harder to attract sponsorship or government funding. That being said, we’ve moved up the rankings by 20 spots over the last five years.
We also have talented players coming up through the system and it will be too much to list down every single one of them. If I have to pick, it’ll be two 16 year-olds from Kuala Lumpur; Hafiz and Virandeep Singh. The former is a fast bowler, while Viran is a good all-rounder and has a good cricket head on him. Kudos to KL Cricket for their development program.
The next World Cup will take place in 2019 and there is a strong proposal to make it a 10-team tournament. Honestly, Malaysia will have the slimmest of chances to qualify if that change does take place. There have been talks by various bodies to convince the ICC not to limit it to a 10-team tournament. In my opinion, it should never be restricted to 10 teams, as it defeats the purpose of spreading the game across the globe. This is cricket with boundaries.
As for the ongoing one, I’m expecting to see plenty of excitement coming through the next two weeks but my instincts tell me Australia will end up clinching it due to several reasons. They are playing at home with massive amounts of support, but at the same time, they have a well-balanced team as well. Over the years, Australia has had the highest percentage of victories in the World Cup and they’ve won the prestigious competition four times throughout the history. Like it or not, they are the team to beat in this edition.
Suhan Alagaratnam is a Malaysian cricketer who is well known for his impeccable batting skills, and is one of the nation’s highest ever run scorers with over 3000 runs. He is also a former captain of the national squad and has been part of it for over 10 years now.