The one international match that was to be played between Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the last week was washed out, and so this week’s accolade will be for those who played in the Champions League that finished in South Africa last Sunday.
The trophy and two and half million dollars were claimed by the Sydney team, who were quite clearly the best team in the competition. They had a terrific batting line-up and in the bowling department too they were well served by the pace of Starc, Cummins and Hazelwood and the medium pace of Henriques, who proved to be the all rounder of the tournament too.
Any worries that Shane Watson's absence from the knockout stages was dispelled soon enough and once they had won a close semi finals there was no stopping them. The South African media had been scathing as well as sarcastic about the Indian Premier League teams performance suggesting the glamour boys did not have it in them to adjust to the bounce and pace of the pitches in South Africa.
They forgot that it was an IPL franchise that had won the tournament in South Africa two years back and going by that argument about pitches both the South African franchises should have been in the finals and they should have won the trophy too. If only cricket was played according to stereotype then it would be so easy to predict, but then unless one has been in the heat of the battle and knows what it takes to walk the talk it is just easy to talk and talk.
The South Africans are the number one Test team in the world and deservedly so, but that is in bilateral contests. When it comes to multi-team contests they choke and fold up and do so even on home turf as was seen in the 2003 ICC World Cup and the Champions League in 2010 and this year.
It might do the South African media a lot of good if they used all their word strength to clear the gullet of their teams than get in the throats of others who have won championships everywhere, but like all humans can stumble too.
The Champions League is a format which helps a lot of players from all over the world to capture the attention of the cricket lovers and show what they are made of to those outside their countries.
An IPL and big bash contract is also not too far away when they perform well and there is the handsome appearance money to the teams too apart from the prize money that they win. It is a terrific platform and many have gone further in the sport after a good Champions League outing.
Michael Lumb could be one such for he was simply outstanding in the finals where he won the game off his own bat and in doing so also won the golden bat award for the highest aggregate in the tournament. It won’t be a surprise if he features in an IPL team soon as also some others like Henry Davids, David Wiese and Aaron Phangiso to name a few, who did well in the tournament.
For his superb batting throughout the event, but especially in the finals Michael Lumb is the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.
Professional Management Group