Filling in the shoes of the legends




Remember the West Indies team of the ‘70s and the early ‘80s? The team that the legendary Clive Lloyd led to two back to back World Cup wins and then a third consecutive final, only to be defeated by Kapil Dev’s India. Everyone remembers that side. Lloyd’s boys were almost unbeatable then. They West Indies pace bowling of that era were once in a lifetime treat. The West Indies domination soon ended when the cup winners from the ‘70s hung up their boots. The team still produced quality players like Ambrose and Walsh. Then there was the legend himself – Brian Lara. The team failed to reach the heights of their predecessors. They were still a strong side in International Cricket. After the 1979 World Cup their next major achievement was in 2004 when they won the Champions Trophy by defeating England in a tight match. The team recently lifted the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka. It took them 33 Years to achieve something that big. The West Indies team still doesn’t match up to the old one. They don’t have a pace bowling line up that anyone would fear. They don’t have the quality to win matches consistently and do well in Test Matches. Even after years after Lara, Walsh, Ambrose, Hooper and all left the team, they are still struggling to find a balance in the team.

Filling in the shoes of the legends

Filling in the shoes of the legends

Coming into the 21st Century there is the team that everyone remembers. The team that was undefeated for matches. The team that lifted three consecutive ICC Cricket World Cup. Australia.

The Australian supremacy had begun late in the 1990s when Steve Waugh was the captain. The team went on to famously win the 1999 World Cup after trashing Pakistan in the final. Steve Waugh, Mark Waugh, Glen McGrath, Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Damien Martin, Michael Bevan, Tom Moody and the list goes on.

The Aussies then went onto become the team to beat, the benchmark for all the other teams. Australia was the super power of cricket. They then defeated team India in the final of the 2003 World Cup to make it two in a row. Once again they were undefeated and they destroyed the opposition in the final. Hayden, Gilchrist, Ponting, Martin, Lee, McGrath, Warne, Gillespee were the big names then.

The only major slip up Australia had in the time period was the famous Ashes tournament of 2005. The series was evenly balanced and in the end England took the urn. Australia made up for the mistake. They took the urn back two years later at home and this time McGrath and Warne took the center stage and completed a 5-0 win. Revenge was sweet. The series saw Warne, McGrath and Langer wear the baggie cap for one last time.

Australia then started to slip. They failed to find a good replacement to Warne till date, McGrath was irreplaceable. They tried many duos for the opening pair. Then to add salt to the wounds Gilchrist and Hayden left. Australia now had to find a player to replace the best Keeper in the history of Cricket. Australia had lost the finest players the world had ever seen. They lost the World Cup in 2011 after losing out to India. They gave away the Ashes once again. Lee, Katich had all left. Australia till date have not been able to find a proper starting 11. They have quality players like Clarke, Hussey, Watson and all still left in the squad but once again the team is no match for the one that had left before them.

Now coming to this decade there is team India. India had trouble replacing the god of offside after his retirement. Many players took the spot but left sooner than they came. Then recently the wall – Rahul Dravid also announced his retirement and then Laxman followed. The fab four is no more only Sachin remains. There is no Kumble in the team that can inspire the bowling line up. There is no wall to withstand the toughest bowling. There is no Laxman to trouble the Aussies. There is no Ganguly to set the offside on fire. Now after the recent humiliation against England people realize that Dravid’s retirement was costly. Yet they ask for Sachin’s retirement.

To fill in the boots of the legends are difficult. West Indies and Australia have proved it and now India will have to go through the transformation phase as well. These people will have to leave at some point or the other and there is no way but to deal with it.

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