Why Shahrukh picked ten Doeschate

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 15, 2011 11:17 hrs

Guess who has the best bowling ODI career strike rate in the history of the game? It's Ryan ten Doeschate of Netherlands at 26.5, ahead of Ajantha Mendis and Shaun Tait. But wasn't he the same batsman who scored a century against England to take his team to a very competitive 292? Spot on.  

OK, now guess his career ODI batting average. It's a phenomenal 71, way ahead of anyone else from the Test-playing nations. That too at an impressive strike rate of 88.

The World Cup is 'fixed'

It's safe to say that ten Doeschate is the most successful all-rounder in the ODI format for anyone who has played less than 30 matches.  

His century against England a few days back wasn't his first brush with glory. In a warm-up game in the 2007 WC, he got a 5-wicket haul against India with the scalps of Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. He also played an integral part in England's shock defeat in a T20 match in 2009.

And you wondered why Shahrukh Khan picked him up for the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL4!

Of course his stats may drastically go up or down after Friday's match with Bangladesh, thanks to a low base of matches to calculate.

Interestingly, Bermuda's Lionel Cann has the highest ODI career strike rate for batsman at 117. In second place is Yusuf Pathan's 114.5.

10, 12 or 14?

While individual players from minnow countries are doing well, the minnows themselves are not, apart from giving a few shock defeats here and there. Can you imagine a minnow nation ever defeating India in a bilateral series? That's something even Bangladesh doesn't do.  

So in a way, the ICC's decision to bring down the number of teams in the 2015 WC to 10 may make sense after all. We can have a shorter tournament with more meaningful matches.

In the football World Cup, things get critical right from the very first match. One would appreciate such action in cricket too. Including 12-14 teams has usually led to long and boring World Cups.   

It's still a wide open Cup

On the eve of the 2007 World Cup, Australia are both Test and ODI champions. T20 hadn't taken hold yet. The Aussies were rank favourites and won convincingly too. This time there seems to be no clear favourite. Australia are ODI champions. India are Test champions. England are T20 champions.

Sri Lanka is the only team to have won on the sub-continent as co-hosts. You can never count Pakistan out. Also, South Africa still remains the best team never to have won a World Cup. The knock-out format of this tournament is such that you can't completely rule out the West Indies, New Zealand and Bangladesh. On their good day, they might knock out any other team.

A hat-trick start

Most betting sites put India as firm favourites. We have begun well with three straight crushing victories (including the warm-up games). After the loss in South Africa, we seem to be peaking at the right time. But the most heartening factor is the way the pitches are behaving. Spin will be a big factor throughout.

We may not have a Dale Steyn or a Brett Lee, but our batsmen and spinners can well bring the Cup home. As for the World Cup host team jinx, MS Dhoni's team has broken enough jinxes to worry about that.      

Some things do get worse

While there's more money and more technology in cricket, there are some things that seem to be getting worse. That is mainly for the viewers and spectators, allegedly the most important stakeholders of the game.

For TV viewers, there were always ads between overs. Then the ads got longer and commentators' comments got cut. After that we had ads between balls and finally computer-generated ads on the pitch itself!

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(Wonder if Ricky Ponting wanted to see a replay of his run-out and instead saw too many pesky ads, leading him to hit the screen!)

What about live spectators? With so many passes and free tickets given, the number of tickets for sale is quite less. The queues are long and at times it's practically impossible to book online, thanks to website crashes.

Once at the stadium, there's the tight security along with traffic and parking woes.

And the money still keeps flowing into cricket!

The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger