Players’ Take On Minnows




Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting

“At the end of the day, it would probably be a better tournament if there were fewer teams. The World Cup is the pinnacle of our sport,” Ponting added.

Former Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene agreed with Ponting that the smaller nations needed more opportunities. “Cricket is a global game and we need to try and make sure everyone plays and comes to that standard one day,” Jayawardene, who struck a quickfire 100 against Canada, said in comments reported by cricinfo.

England’s Strauss was more cautious than Ponting on the future of the minnows ahead of their opening clash against the Netherlands on Tuesday. “It’s easy to jump to that conclusion after seeing the games played yesterday (Sunday),” he said. “My view on this is let the tournament finish first and then draw any conclusions that need to be drawn.” England were beaten by the Netherlands in the 2009 World Twenty20 and narrowly won a warm-up match against Canada last week.

“Ireland (also in England’s group) and the Netherlands are two strong associate nations so they are certainly capable of causing a couple of upsets,” Strauss said.

Dutch captain Peter Borren called on his side to make a statement. “We need to prove ourselves on the field in a way that we can make our own statement with regard to what happens in the future of the 50-over World Cup. Everyone enjoys the underdog doing well and there have been instances of that throughout the World Cups. We’re hoping by pulling off the sort of results that have happened in the past we can answer that question on the field.”

Borren admitted that the 2009 World Twenty20 win had given the Netherlands confidence heading into Tuesday’s fixture. “The confidence in the team and the preparation we’ve had, it would be nice to pull off a victory again,” he said.

World Cup captains are split on the future of smaller teams at the showpiece event, with Australian skipper Ricky Ponting calling for an elite competition but England’s Andrew Strauss urging caution. The next World Cup in 2015 will feature just 10 teams, down from the current 14.

The International Cricket Council has not yet revealed the qualification process but the plans have infuriated the associate nations, represented at the ongoing World Cup by Canada, Ireland, Kenya and the Netherlands. They fear the competition will become solely the preserve of the Test sides.

At the same time as reducing the World Cup, the ICC is increasing the number of teams that play in the World Twenty20 to 16 from the current 12. Ponting said on Sunday that there was a balance to be struck between encouraging the growth of the game and improving the quality of the competition.

The debate was given added impetus by the one-sided nature of the two games on Sunday, which saw New Zealand hammer hapless Kenya by 10 wickets and joint hosts Sri Lanka romp to a 210-run win over Canada. “We understand the responsibility to keep the game growing. For that, you need to bring on some of these small nations into the world of cricket. We want to see the game develop and blossom around the world,” Ponting said.

“I have always been unsure if the World Cups and the Champions Trophy are the right place to do that. And I am not sure as to how much the teams actually learn when they get hammered in these contests.

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Gautham S.

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Hi Folks! This is Gautham from Madurai, Tamil Nadu. I'm 20 and doing my final year in Mechanical Engineering at Thiagarajar College of Engineering. I'm a self confessed Cricket lover and I have a great fervor towards writing about the game. In the generations I've come across, I've loved watching Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid bat. Besides writing, I have great interest in singing and I'm a great fan of Hariharan and A.R.Rahman sir. I would like to be remembered as one of the greatest sports journalists who changed the way their profession is perceived. I set myself performance goals and believe in giving a hundred percent in whatever I do. I thank God for giving me an opportunity to work with sports mirror so early in my career. I also thank my friends who made me believe in what I do and gave honest comments about my writing. God is great :)

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