In an unexpected twist, the script for the T20 World Cup was dynamically altered — or the script writer was asleep on the wheel — in a dramatic manner that sees an India-Pakistan final! Before the tournament had started, experts were talking of the following combinations for the final: Australia-England, Australia-SouthAfrica, SouthAfrica-England, Australia-NewZealand, SriLanka-England… Not many of the experts’ picks featured either Pakistan or India for the final! After all, here were two teams that were bundled out of the ODI World Cup in March-April 2007 in the very 1st stage itself!
The two Subcontinental powerhouses were in considerable disarray subsequent to that early-exit. Pakistan lost a coach. Although Greg Chappell didn’t suffer the same fate as the Pakistan coach, he too departed as India coach. The Pakistan cricket Board went about their repairs in a quiet and seemingly efficient manner. The dead wood were cleared out and some fresh faces/legs were brought in. Geoff Lawson was hired in as coach — a smart move. And a new captain was put in charge. But then, as is always the case with Pakistan cricket, just when things seem to go right, they don’t! A player smacked another player with his bat during practice and out went Shoaib Akhtar from the team! More enquiries. More navel gazing. More disarray. No one gave them a chance!
India, meanwhile, had lost its coach. And the BCCI bungled its way through its appointment of a team coach! What more do you expect of a cricket board that puts in a late advert for a coach with requests for applications to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org!! That’s right boRAd. And yes. They have specified a GMAIL account. Amidst this extreme aura of unprofessionalism, the team did well in England with a “74 years young” cricket manager. The team went to South Africa with a new captain, without a coach, with Lalchand Rajput as cricket manager and with a young and rather inexperienced team.
It perhaps just goes to show that T20 shortens the gap between the good teams and the weaker teams. This can only be good for world cricket. After all, I don’t think many people would be interested in a tournament where all Australia needed to do to win it was to turn up!
The finals should be a blast. It will be an advertiser’s dream as many millions will be glued to their TV sets in the Subcontinent. I just can’t wait for Monday!