Though after having finally mourned over Pakistani team kicked out of the quarter final and relieved that India too was knocked out during the semis; we are in no mood for any jubilation and sad to say but we were surprised that Pakistan even managed to reach so far in the tournament.
Yet calm down folks, it’s a game and in a game only the best win and if truth be told ever since 1999 our cricket has been in a downward spiral with little effort by PCB to revive the glories of the Kaptaan Khan era.
This is a list of those giants who dominated the game in the last four decades of cricket world cup history.
1975: West Indies
Seeing the present state of the West Indian team it’s hard to imagine that only four decades ago they dominated the cricketing horizons. For this was an era of the likes of Clive Lloyd and Gary Sobers whose mere presence in the team was enough to strike fear into the hearts of the Kaali Aandhi opponents.
The blessed 70s was a time when the whole cricketing world looked to West Indies for the secrets of their success; sadly though and with all due respect to West Indies cricket fans it’s a long forgotten era now.
1979: West Indies
From the very beginning of the tournament West Indies were the favorites in the game nevertheless surprisingly they just lost with a narrow margin from Pakistan in the semis and shockingly even in 1979, Imran Khan despite being a bowler was one of the leading run scorers in the team.
However as future reveals Kaali Aandhi were to soon run out of luck once and for all!
Once again as a cricketing fan it’s hard to believe that only 36 years back these Kaali Aandhi giants, now a butt of jokes for the cricketing world; were considered invincible by all.
This world cup was a hard fought contest though West Indies once again entered the tournament as favorites, yet as destiny had it; in the end the Indian team under Kapil Dev finally managed to rescue the world from the Kaali Aandhi once and for all!
The first in the series of what would soon become a norm, Aussies finally managed to sneak in the cup after three consecutive losses in 75, 79 and 83.
As The Kaali Aandhi greats such as Clive Lloyd had resigned early on in the 80s, the tournament began without any clear favorites and at one time even the Pakistani team too seemed to be in the run yet it was Aussies under the leadership of Allan Border who would go on to finally grab the cup after a bitter match with England in the final.
How can we forget this for this was the time when the leadership of Kaptaan Khan finally turned around fortunes of the green shirts. Though starting off as underdogs having lost both of their first matches and even having been bowled out for 74 by England yet it was the leadership of Imran Khan that finally turned around the fortunes as the green shirts finally went on to win the world cup with a 22 run lead over England in the final.
1996: Sri Lanka
It was the coaching of Whatmore, captaincy of Ranatunga and the batting of Jasuriya which won the day for Sri Lanka in 96. This was the world cup when the Sri Lankan team for the first time introduced the concept of more than 300 runs in one innings and this in an era when even a total of 250 was considered grand.
It was this new introduction that would increase the popularity of cricket many fold in times to come and back than was responsible for Sri Lanka beating Austrailia by 7 wickets in the final. One can only imagine the anguish of it, if Austrailia had managed to win in 1996 too.
1999, 2003 and 2007: Australia
I won’t let you go through the torment of repeating these victories over and over again for this was a time of great sufferings for cricketing fans throughout the world (leaving aside Australia of course) and the Aussie factor was considered decisive in any tournament.
Nevertheless Pakistan should have won the 1999 world cup when having won almost 90% matches throughout the tournament one fails to fathom why Wasim Akram’s team was balled out for only 133 in the final.
In the end many believed it to be the leadership of two of the best cricketing captains ever Steve Waugh and Ricky pointing which ensured that Aussies dominated the cricketing world for 12 years (and we sadly had lost Kaptaan Khan by then). Though as time would prove it; maybe Aussies have a natural flair for cricket!
Though the world desperately prayed for a new world champion in 2011; nobody in Pakistan could have imagined that blue shirts of India would emerge victorious in the end. Though to be fair we lost the semi-final with them only due to a narrow margin of less than 30 runs. And if only Umar Gul hadn’t given away 27 runs in one over in the semi-final, who knows we might have won this contest.
Once again Aussies have managed to dominate the cricketing world this time. What’s important is that despite what everybody believed about the decline of the Australian team ever since Ricky pointing’s retirement, what this world cup shows, is that as long as you have got a good domestic cricketing structure, the players become irrelevant. Aussies don’t need to pray for leaders like Imran Khan or Clive Lloyd of West Indies to come and rescue their cricket for their domestic cricketing structure is good and competitive enough to produce the best! Hope you are reading this Mr. Shahryar.