Sunday, February 16, 2003

Yesterday, my plans were to lie in until maybe ten am, and to turn on the teletext on the BBC with live updates of the India-Australia match. Then, I would get up, cook myself a nice English breakfast, and then head up to a nearby pub to watch the second half of the game. Sadly, however, by about 9.30 am, it was clear that there would be no point. India slumped to seven wickets for 80, and Australia was clearly going to win the match in a canter. And this is in fact what happened. India scored a pathetic 125 and Australia won by 9 wickets with 37.4 overs to spare. Som much for that, and I felt vaguely cheated. Still, Australia did play superbly, and they are now close to certain of a place in the second round of the tournament. Jason Gillespie was the star bowler, taking 3/13 off 10 overs. Brett Lee also took three wickets. Lee looks like hi might be the star of the tournament. Four years ago Shane Warne performed this role, and Lee rose ably to the job when Warne and McGrath were out injured in the recent VB series in Australia. He seems to be continuing now. This is excellent.

Later yesterday, I caught the end of the Kenya-Canada game. These are two of the humbler sides in the tournament, but unlike India and Australia, they managed to put on a very decent game of cricket. Canada scored a quite reasonable 197, and they had Kenya at 5/154 off 38.4 overs chasing this. As it happened, Kenya got the remaining runs relatively easily (although there was one dropped catch: things would have been interesting if the Canadians had taken it). However, the match was still in some doubt (although not that much) until the last over or two, and it seems a good time was had by all.

This was the first time I had actually watched Canada play in this tournament, and the striking thing about their team was just how subcontinental their team looked. Not knowing in advance what country they came from, one would almost have guessed that they were the Sri Lankan team. Looking closer, there were a few people of fairly obvious Carribean origin in the side, too. The last time Canada qualified for this tournament was in 1975. I suspect that that team would have practically been all white. However, things have changed. Clearly some cricketing infrastructure has endured in Canada (which is why we see a Canadian team and not a US team playing in the tournament, even though there are also many South Asian and Carribean immigrants to the USA) but lots of recent immigrants are now playing the game there.

Theother thing that was apparent was just how much they were enjoying themselves. Clearly they were delighted to be playing in the tournament, and to have beaten Bangladesh and made a fight out of the game with Kenya. Some people have criticised the presence of the weaker sides in this tournament, but I really do not go along with this. Just being there seems a big deal to them, and this was great to see.

No comments:

Blog Archive