Intensity of contests more than the numbers and names have a long lasting impacts on any tournaments in people memories.
One of the heated debates during the limited overs world cup is, “are these minnow teams worth enough to be allowed at a world event like this?“. If the argument of “globalization, emerging and new teams” adds support, then calls for lesser teams to increase the competitiveness and decrease the length of world cup are thrown whenever an one-sided matches involving minnows creeps up.
Firstly, i think there is ambiguity in the definition of minnow at cricket terms. Some may say, it is the ranking of a team and some other say, it is the strength of the team as per cricket knowledge decides whether a team is minnow or not. In dictionary, small is the meaning given for “minnow”. So, whenever you say a team as minnow, you are categorizing them as smaller teams according to either of the definition i just gave. Actually, all this terms are just for on-paper examination. When two teams out their playing cricket in the field, there is neither a small nor a big, only just two groups of 11 players trying to achieve their goal. Had you played cricket for long time, you can easily work it out with your experience. Because the randomness that exists in this game does crazy things during the match and makes you be aware that nothing is given for granted.
You would had seen a player with great technique hitting good and fast bowlers for cleaners but falling to rather gentle medium (slow) pace ball from a player, who is a batsmen at first choice for his team. Sachin Tendulkar, probably the best batsmen of modern era, when asked to name a bowler who troubled him most, he mentioned not Ambrose or McGrath or Donald but a gentle medium pace bowler, Hansie Cronje. If you categorize, Cronje is really a minnow bowler for Sachin right? But he isn’t. He is just another player who runs to bowl a ball for dismissing the opponent team batsmen. Even if you say Cronje is minnow bowler, then the duel between them was always exciting and as a fan watching it can feel inside that something going to happen at every moment.
Just think for a moment and say, did you enjoyed watching Afghanistan, Ireland and Bangladesh play in the ongoing world T20? If yes, then that’s it, case closed. All these big sports spectacles are to provide joy for both the participants and fans, who watch it. Take Olympics for example, India is a real minnow nation in the event but do they bring down the glory and pride occasions? No, they actually escalate it. The value of each medal is lot higher for Indians than to Americans or Chinese. The pride at stake is more than what some other peer nations could imagine. Every inch is hard earned and every joy that comes either in the form of medal or great performance will be etched in the memories of more than billion Indian people forever. The keenness for next Olympics stays on despite some awful performance last time with a hope for better run this time around.
Same is the case for teams such as Afghanistan. Its not even winning but a fight, being competitive and giving it all to take some joy of pride back home. Yes, the performance of Zimbabwe and Ireland is disappointing in the ongoing world T20 but its just that, they depend on the conditions more than what so called big teams like India do to produce good performance. The slow, low and turning surface are their alien condition. Had these matches been played in England or other suitable conditions, they certainly would have gave more headaches for opponents as the history suggests. Even England, the defending T20 champions, got dismantled by Indian team. There is absolutely no contest in the offer. Should I call them minnows? Should I shout for removal of England team from the world T20?
Every team, especially associate teams, earned their right to be playing at events like world T20. Had those associate teams toured and played in sub-continent more, they would have put up strong challenges. They are just raising now. They are like a child, inevitably falling down more often while learning to walk. They need to be guided and made to play more often at a place which throws up similar challenges. Its all together a different and ICC management issue but in no way, they bring down the might of events like world cup. I for one, certainly enjoyed watching Afghanistan players play more than my countrymen, India so for.
Tags: 2012, Afghanistan, Associate Teams, Australia, Bangladesh, Cricket, England, ICC, India, Ireland, Minnows, Netherland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sports, Sri Lanka, West Indies, World Cup, World T20, Zimbabwe