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Collective effort is the key

V.V. Subrahmanyam


  • Tendulkar scored 673 runs from 11 matches in 2003
  • Aravinda de Silva raised the level of his batting at the right time

    HYDERABAD: What separates West Indian opener Gordon Greenidge from the rest of the leading scorers in World Cup history like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Martin Crowe, Graham Gooch, David Gower and Glen Turner?

    Well, he happens to be the only one who figured in the team that eventually triumphed in the 1979 edition. A simple piece of statistic, which should reiterate the guiding principle — to win a World Cup it is not only individual brilliance that matters. Collective effort has been the key.

    Significantly, Tendulkar was the highest run-scorer in 2003 (673 runs from 11 matches at an average of 61.18) and in 1996 (523 from seven). He also happens to be the leading all-time scorer with 1732 runs from 33 matches.

    For the record, the leading scorers in the previous editions are: 1999 — Rahul Dravid (461 runs from eight matches), 1992 — Martin Crowe (NZ, 456, nine matches), 1987 — Graham Gooch (Eng, 471, eight matches), 1983 — David Gower (Eng, 384, seven matches), 1979 — Gordon Greenidge (WI, 253, four matches) and 1975 — Glen Turner (NZ, 333, four matches).

    Crucial role

    When the teams enter the 2007 edition, rated by many as an open one, it is not only the celebrated stars who may decide the fate of their teams, but also those bits-and-pieces cricketers.

    Significantly, all the centuries in the World Cup finals proved to be match-winning efforts and all of them have come from players who were mostly unobtrusive till then in the respective editions. Take Clive Lloyd's brilliant 102 against Australia in the 1975 final, Viv Richards's amazing 138 not out against England in the 1979 final, Aravinda de Silva's magnificent 107 against Australia in 1996 and Ricky Ponting's demolition of Indian attack in the 2003 final in South Africa with his majestic 140.

    Also some of them seemed to have reserved their best for the final. For instance, Lloyd scored only 56 runs in the previous four matches before that great `final' effort, Richards scored just 79 runs in the 1979 edition before the title clash, Aravinda de Silva raised the level of his batting at the right time — in the semifinal against India at Calcutta with a brilliant half-century, following it up with a century and three wickets in the final.

    The other interesting fact is that with the exception of the Arjuna Ranatunga-led Sri Lankans in 1996 and Steve Waugh's Aussies in 1999, no team has won the Cup, in eight editions, while chasing.

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