In 1983, India had Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Roger Binny and Madan Lal who played a crucial role in winning them the title © Getty Images
In 1983, India had Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Roger Binny and Madan Lal who played a crucial role in winning them the title © Getty Images

 

By Vinay Anand

 

We often say the clichéd, ‘Cricket is a batsman’s game’. If this is true, then how is it that a team with the strong batting line-up fails to win a World Cup? Every team has some sort of batting to brag about, so what is the X-factor that a team has which goes on to become world champions? To an extent fielding, but more so it’s the bowling.

 

Take any World Cup as an example.

 

In 1975 and 1979, West Indies had the likes of Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Joel Garner to win them both the World Cups.

 

In 1983, India had Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Roger Binny and Madan Lal who played a crucial role in winning them the title.

 

Although many might argue that Australia’s batting won them the Cup in 1987, yet one cannot undermine the bowling performances of Craig McDermott, Bruce Reid, Tim May and Steve Waugh to help them win.

 

In 1992, it was Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Mushtaq Ahmed who won it for Pakistan.

 

In 1996, Sri Lanka had not just a lethal spin duo of Muttiah Muralitharan and Kumar Dharmasena, but also a strong pace spearhead in Chaminda Vaas.

 

In 1999, Australia had a potent bowling attack of Paul Reiffel, Glenn McGrath, Damien Fleming and Shane Warne to assist Steve Waugh in leading the team to World Cup glory in England.

 

Similarly in 2003, Ponting had riches in his bowling reserves with the likes of McGrath once again, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie and Brad Hogg to take 10 wickets in South African conditions.

 

And in 2007, Ponting once again led his team to the title with McGrath in his last World Cup and was in prime form, Brad Hogg yet again, Nathan Bracken and Shaun Tait whose pace stumped batsmen completely.

 

Hence I believe that this year, Australia and South Africa have the best chance of winning the competition. Australia yet again are blessed with a deadly pace trio of Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson.

 

South Africa, on the other hand, have Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Johan Botha and teams such as England and India have suffered against them.

 

Sri Lanka and Pakistan too have bowlers with a variety of skills under their possession. India needs to improve, and I do not see them win the World Cup this time too since the bowling has been questionable and in a tournament like this, there is no time for improvement.

 

If the team winning this World Cup wins it due to their batting largely, then I will be taken for a ride.

 

(Vinay Anand, 17, has an uncanny eye for detail. He revers cricket – looking beyond the glamour into the heart of the game where true passion, perseverance and grit meet. To him, there is no greater joy than coming closer to the sport while exploring its intricacies through his writing and treading ahead to establish himself as a writer and presenter)