World Cup Dream XI – One best player from each edition of the World Cup
The biggest tournament in cricket “ICC Cricket World Cup” is less than 50 days away. This is the 12th edition of the tournament which is jointly hosted by England and Wales. The tournament has always produced cricket of the highest level. From Windies dominating the tournament initially to Aussies winning the cup five times, it has certainly come a long way. The first World Cup was played in 1975 in England with eight teams participating in it. The next two editions were played in the same country with the 4th edition hosted by India and Pakistan. The overs were reduced from 60 to 50 overs in this edition. While West Indies were the world champions in 1975 and 1979, India surprisingly lifted the trophy in 1983. From then on until 1996 there were three different champions (1987 – Australia, 1991 – Pakistan, 1996 – Sri Lanka). The next three editions saw Australia dominate the world cricket winning three consecutive championships. The streak ended when Australia lost to India in the 2011 World Cup quarter-final. But they came back strong, winning the prestigious cup for the fifth time in 2015. Every edition produced a star player who was key to the team’s success. Let us pick one player from every edition and build a dream XI.
#Openers - Sachin Tendulkar (2003) and Adam Gilchrist (2007)
Sachin was playing his fourth World Cup and was in desperation to win it for his team. In spite of all the hard work he put in, the team failed to snatch the victory against the mighty Aussies in the final. Sachin was always the man of big tournaments. He was the leading run-getter in the 1996 World Cup scoring 523 runs. He had a wonderful tour in 2003 World Cup with scores of 152, 98, 97 and 50 versus Namibia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and England respectively. He recorded 673 runs in 11 games, which is a record for a single edition of the tournament. Besides this, he also holds the record of scoring the most number of centuries in the tournament’s history (6).
Australia continued their dominance in the 2007 World Cup. They won all the matches in the group stage and qualified to the super eight. They cruised into the semis winning seven out of seven matches at that stage. The semifinal was a cakewalk for this team. In the final, they went on to lift their 4th trophy after defeating Sri Lanka. Adam Gilchrist’s contribution was vital in team’s unbeaten run. He scored 453 runs in 11 matches including two fifties and a hundred. His hundred in the final will go down as one of the best knocks. He was equally effective with the gloves accounting to 17 dismissals. Adam Gilchrist was a very effective keeper as well as an amazing batsman.
#Middle Order: Viv Richards (1979), Clive Lloyd ( 1979), Aravinda De Silva (1996)
Widely regarded as one of the greatest ODI player of all time, Vivian Richards enjoyed an illustrious cricketing career. In 187 ODIs, he accumulated over 6700 runs with the bat and 118 wickets as an off-spinner. He played an important role in the 1975 World Cup victory with some brilliant effort on the field. But his performance in the 1979 final brought him glory. Batting first, Windies had a bad start losing 4 wickets with 99 on the board. Richards and Collis King put on 139 runs for the 5th wicket. Richards had contributed with an impressive 138 runs from just 157 balls. It was his aggressive style of batting that impressed the cricket fraternity.
Clive Lloyd is one of the most successful test captains of all time. Under his leadership, the team had a winning streak of 27 matches without a defeat. Lloyd led the squad for the first three tournaments winning the first two world cups and finishing second in 1983. He was a tall man who used to bat in the middle order and occasionally bowl medium pace. In the 1975 final against Australia, the West Indies found themselves in trouble at 50 for 3. Lloyd came into the center and smashed 102 runs in 88 balls taking his team to a respectable total. This proved to be a crucial innings which won them their maiden championship.
The 1996 World Cup was full of surprises and controversies. Due to security concerns, Australia and West Indies refused to play in Sri Lanka which resulted in the home team qualifying for the quarter-final without playing a game. They played England in the quarter final in which they emerged victorious by 8 wickets setting up the semifinal against India. Aravinda de Silva, who was a strong middle order batsman played a match winning knock of 66 off just 47 balls in that game. His performance earned him the ‘Player of the match’ award. Sri Lanka were to face Australia in the final. Batting first, the kangaroos put up 241 runs in 50 overs. Chasing, Sri Lanka were in deep trouble after they lost both the openers for 23 runs. Aravinda de Silva played the innings of his life scoring 107 off 124 balls that led to a World Cup victory to the team.
#6 All rounders - Yuvraj Singh (2011) and Lance Klusner (1999)
Yuvraj Singh was a player of big moments. He played a key role in team India’s success in the 2007 T20 World Cup. Yuvraj was out of form and was struggling to find his shape before the 2011 world cup started. He proved the critics wrong with his all-round ability. Not only was he a key middle order batsman, he was a very effective 5th bowling option who would provide you with important breakthroughs. He scored four fifties and a match winning hundred against West Indies in Chennai. His efforts with the ball earned him a fifer against Ireland in Bengaluru. He was awarded the ‘Player of the Tournament’ award for 462 runs and 15 wickets in that edition.
Lance Klusener was an exceptional player for the South Africa in the 1999 World Cup in England. His contribution led South Africa to the semi-final. He had taken 17 wickets and scored more than 250 runs until then. He had also won four Man of the Match awards out of nine matches played by South Africa. The semifinal was played against Australia in Edgbaston. Chasing 214, Klusener came to the middle when South Africa were 175 for 6 requiring 40 runs in five overs. Despite Lance Klusener’s heroics with the bat, South Africa failed to grab the victory with the 10th wicket falling when the scores were level. The tie meant Aussies qualified for the final. In spite of not making it to the final, his stellar all-round performance in that edition earned him the ‘Man of the Series’ award.
#9 Fast Bowlers - Mitchell Starc (2015), Kapil Dev (1983)
Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc was in red-hot form during the 2015 World Cup. The frontline pacer was at his best with a combination of pace and accuracy. He finished the tournament with 22 wickets at an incredible average of 10.18 and economy of 3.50s. His best figures of 6 for 28 came against the Kiwis in Auckland. He also took 2 for 20 from eight overs in the final. He was the X-factor for the success of Australian team throughout the tournament.
The Indian team came into the 1983 World Cup as underdogs. This team faced the mighty Windies and Australia in the group stage. To everyone’s surprise, India finished second with four wins and two losses in the group stage thereby making it to the knock-outs. This was indeed a breakthrough for Indian cricket. But the most talked event was that innings from Kapil Dev against Zimbabwe. India were in deep trouble with their top five back in the pavilion with just 17 on the board. The Indian captain, Kapil Dev came into the crease and played one of the finest knocks in Indian Cricket history scoring 175 runs in just 138 balls (4’s – 16, 6’s – 6). India eventually won the game by 31 runs. Fast forward to the final, the team faced two-time champions West Indies. Defending 183, chances of India’s victory looked bleak until Kapil caught Richards by running backwards. This proved to be the turning point of the match as India beat West Indies by 43 runs to win the tournament.
#11 Seamer and Spinner - Craig McDermott (1987), Mushtaq Ahemd (1992)
The 1987 World Cup was very different from the first three editions. It was the first time that the tournament was played away from England and the overs were reduced from 60 to 50. It was the first time in the history that the Windies failed to make it to the knock-outs. England and Australia were through to the semis where they faced India and Pakistan respectively. Batting first, Australia put up a decent total of 267 in the first semi-final. Craig McDermott, who led the Aussie bowling attack rattled the Pakistani line-up with his fifer as the hosts lost the match by 18 runs. In addition to this, he was also the most successful bowler of the tournament taking 18 wickets in 8 matches. His pace and length were pin-point accurate due to which he was so successful even on sub-continent pitches.
The 1992 World Cup saw Pakistan lift the trophy under Imran Khan’s captaincy. The team had a deadly bowling attack with the likes of Wasim, Waqar and Imran who cleaned up the batting lineup in no time. The spin department was led by Mushtaq Ahmed who was one of the best wrist spinners that Pakistan has produced. He picked 161 wickets in 144 ODIs he had played in. In the 1992 World Cup, he took 16 wickets in 9 matches becoming the second highest wicket taker of that edition. His figures of 2 for 40 in the semifinal and 3 for 41 in the final helped the team to get over the line.