Category Archives: Jayawardene

India’s worst World Cup moments

In an earlier article, Srikanth Mangalam wrote about his Greatest Indian Moments at the World Cup. But what about India’s worst moments? Here is my list in chronological order.

1975: Gavaskar’s 36* in 60 overs

In the first match of the first World Cup, India batting second needed 335 to win of 60 overs. India just managed 132, but it was the manner in which it was achieved that makes it rank as one of India’s worst World Cup moments. Sunil Gavaskar opened the batting and batted for the entire 60 overs making a paltry 36 off 174 balls – that is a strike rate of around 20! There was also a recent Cricinfo article about this farce.

1979: India’s 1979 World Cup campaign

Nothing ever gets written about this campaign. The reason: India lost all games, even the one they played against Sri Lanka – this was three years before Sri Lanka even became a test playing nation. The less said about this campaign, the better.

1987: India’s loss to England in semi-finals

India looked the best team in the tournament — until they played the semis. First they let Gooch literally sweep his way to a hundred and then let the English offspinner Hemmings take a four-for. The organizer’s dream of a India vs Pakistan final just wilted away (Pakistan lost the other semi-final against Australia)

1992: India’s 1992 World Cup campaign

This was a disaster all the way. They started by loosing the first match against England after looking good midway through the run chase, to then threw it all away. The second match against Sri Lanka was abandoned after playing just 2 balls. Then, India collapsed after a Mohammed Azharuddin runout against Australia and lost by 1 run. That was just the beginning: the disaster continued throughout the whole tournament and the only highlight was a win against eventual winner Pakistan. The other consolation win in the tournament was against a lowly Zimbabwe.

1996: India’s loss to Sri Lanka in the semi-finals 

Set to chase 251, India were 8 down for 120 after being 98 for 1 at one stage. The collapse occurred after Tendulkar was stumped for 65. The Eden Gardens crowd, disgusted at the collapse, started a mini riot and set the stands on fire! The match was stopped and the game was awarded to Sri Lanka. After the match fixing scandal episode, this probably ranks as India’s second lowest moment in cricketing history  – and I am not referring to the loss.

1999: India’s loss to Zimbabwe by 3 runs

With Tendulkar back in India after his father passed away, India could not chase down 252 after being 174 for 4 in the 33rd over. The loss eventually meant that Zimbabwe qualified for the Super Six Stage ahead of England and by the bizarre way in which the points were counted, India ended up in the last spot in the Super Sixes. If England had qualified, India could have gone into the semis as they had already beaten them in one of the Group matches!


A tale of captains…

I decided to have a look at the ODI and World Cup stats of the eight captains that are captaining the likely Super8 teams.

By the way, I have to acknowledge CricInfo for all the stats that I have compiled together — in this and previous articles. Where would we all be without this magnificent treasure-house of cricket data, information and knowledge?

First, their overall career ODI stats (organised in the decreasing order of batting average):

Name |M |Runs |HS |Avg |100s |50s |W |Best |BowlAv |

The first thing to note is that they are all batsmen. So comparing their bowling is hardly worth it. The only one from this list that does bowl — and that too, occassionally in ODIs — is Greame Smith. But it is hardly anything worthy of serious note. Smith and Vaughan are the relative fledgelings of the captains’ group — in terms of overall number of games played. It surprised me to see that Vaughan has only played 77 ODI games overall!

There appears to be a distinct clustering here. Ponting, Lara, Dravid and Inzamam belong to one cluster. They have batting averages around the 40s. Ponting and Lara have converted a lot more of their 50s into 100s. That could be explained by their position in the batting order as much as anything else. We observe that Dravid and Inzamam have a larger proportion of 50s against their names. However, their is not much between this group. With the exception of Ponting, whos is a mere 144 runs away, all of them have over 10,000 runs in the game! That is a sensational performance by any yardstick!

With an average close enough to 40, Greame Smith could claim that he belongs to this grouping. And perhaps he does. But I’d place him on his own. As far as I am concerned, the jury is out on him. This could be his World Cup. If it is, I would say that he belongs in the first grouping.

The remaining three captains (Fleming, Jayawardene and Vaughan) bring up the rear. In my view, Jayawardene has been a somewhat disappointing ODI player. He is a class act, but does not seem to have the wherewithal to convert his style and panache into high scores. He is one of the more frustrating players of our time. I thought Sri Lankan cricket missed a beat by not appointing Sangakkara as captain. How Jayawardene will turn out over the long run is anyones’ guess! But it sure is disappointing to see him in a clustering with Fleming and Vaughan. In my view, he is a better player than that and he is probably not as tactically-astute as Fleming or Vaughan.

Now for a look at the performance of the Super8 captains in World Cup games (again, organised in the decreasing order of batting average):

Name |M |Runs |HS |Avg |100s |50s |W |Best |BowlAv |

Again, it is amazing how far ahead Dravid is from the rest! There is daylight between his performances (in terms of batting average) and the rest! One could conclude that the big match brings out the best in him. And that is not entirely surprising, given his mental strength, discipline, self-belief and sheer determination.

The disappointments in this list are surely Inzamam and Jayawardene. Maybe this will be their World Cup. Who knows?

— Mohan