Hardly ten months after Mahendra Singh Dhoni settled the previous edition with a triumphant twirl of the bat,board meetings,newsrooms and,in a far more telling way,selection committees world over,seem to have already mapped out their approach to Australia-New Zealand 2015. What this far-sightedness has done is to endanger the future of 30-plus cricketers.
On the sidelines of an event organised by the Victorian Government to secure the 2015 cricket World Cup final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG),former Australian player Dean Jones insisted that age need not be a deterrent. You can be 45 and still be doing the right things,so that is not a problem. But you absolutely have to work hard on your fitness and contribute to at least two facets of the game, says Jones.
He indicated that Cricket Australia,in staggering its priorities over the immediate future,has arrived at a workable compromise.
There will come a time when you will have to take stock (of the players and the performance),the end of 2013 perhaps. The selectors and the board will have to work with that (World Cup) agenda. Cricket Australia has set its targets; to win the Ashes (ten Tests across 2013-14) and around then,take a call and move forward to the World Cup, he says.
India,by choking their calender,he says,are missing a trick here. They are just playing too much cricket. Playing consistently across all formats then will be difficult. You will have to rotate players,but there is a science to it,you can’t do it blindly. If you bench someone who is doing well,it will upset the apple cart. They will have to sort out the calender soon.
All said,the numbers and fussy models will be plugged into a tournament whose structure dictates that several teams and their carefully laid out plans will come together to throw up one,and often,a surprise winner. It might also be worth remembering that Imran Khan was almost 40 in 92,a portly Arjuna Ranatunga 33 in 96 and Mahela Jayawardane,33,when he made the exquisite hundred in the final in 12 the first in a losing cause,to provide the exception to the exception.
SA win series after Kiwis implode
Auckland: South Africa battled to a thrilling three-run win over New Zealand to claim the Twenty20 series 2-1 after the Black Caps suffered a dramatic late batting collapse in Auckland on Wednesday.
New Zealand restricted South Africa to seven for 165 and went into the last two overs needing just 10 runs for victory,only to fall short after losing three wickets,including ducks for Nathan McCullum and Doug Bracewell.
Adding to the tension,James Franklin and Tim Southee both had chances to snatch victory at the death off the bowling off Marchant de Lange but could not connect bat with ball.
Brief scores: South Africa 165/7 (JP Duminy 38,H Amla 33; Southee 2/22) v New Zealand 162/7 (J Ryder 52,R Nicol 33; de Lange 2/36,Botha,2/20).