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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Column > Joel Saldanha

Dreaming 'bout the minnows!

March 08, 2007

Kenya's success in the 2003 World Cup has got me dreaming. I can hear Mike Haysman's booming voice. McGrath charging in, the Netherlands need six runs off the last ball, Ryan ten Doeschate steps back and� SIX! SIX! It's a SIX! Netherlands has won the 2007 World Cup, defeating Australia.

The baggy greens are stunned. Ricky Ponting's men are shaking their heads wondering how they lost to a country where hockey is the number one sport, and cricket is number 22, just behind cheerleading and scrabble.

A news reporter covers the celebration in Amsterdam: 'I've never seen anything like this. Everyone's dancing in the streets. The government has announced that the victorious players will be rewarded with new jobs. Yes, all of them will serve three years duty in Iraq.'

Such dreams seemed outrageous till Kenya reached the semi-finals four years ago. People believed that the minnows couldn't compete in the World Cup, that they were just invited to the finals to allow other teams to score big totals and players achieve personal milestones.

Without the minnows, spectators would have to settle for dull 180 to 200-run scores instead of the exciting 350-plus scores.

But Kenya proved everyone wrong. By reaching the semi-finals in 2003, they showed that the minnows don't have to be doormats. However, four years since, and everyone grumbling on how the minnows shouldn't be participating in the World Cup, what people don't realize is that the gap between the Test-playing nations and associate member countries is closing fast.

The small boys of cricket are improving all the time; even Bermuda are here to compete and not just cause fits of laughter.

People often seem to overlook the achievements of smaller teams; countries like Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Kenya have caused quite a few upsets in previous World Cups. The fastest World Cup century was scored by John Davidson of Canada, and in the last World Cup the most economical bowling figures belonged to Asif karim of Kenya.

Not everyone is against the participation of the minnows in the World Cup. Greg Chappell seems to think that they can help to achieve the 500-run mark in limited-overs cricket. Hayden has been heard mumbling something about becoming the first player to score 200 in a match and one captain is ecstatic as it ensures his team a chance to prove that they aren't chokers.

Whether the minnows deserve to be at the World Cup or not, you can't just help but dream.

'With this victory over Australia, the Netherlands have become the first team to break the 500-run total. Team captain Luuk van Troos has just received a congratulatory phone call from Indian coach Greg Chappell.'

The Cup: Complete Coverage

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