The World XI
With the World XI all set to take on Australia in
the inaugural Super Series matches at Melbourne and
Sydney, it is interesting to peep into details of
previous international games involving 'World XIs'.
Sir Garfield Sobers
*Lord's, 1965: A 70 overs-a-side match between
England and a World XI. England batted first and
were restricted to 175 with Garfield Sobers, the
legendary all-rounder, taking five wickets for just
22 runs. The World XI replied with 178-1 with
Conrad Hunte remaining unbeaten on 88. Mansoor Ali
Khan Pataudi, the reigning Indian skipper, was
vice-captain of the World XI.
*Lord's, 1966: A 50-over encounter between England
and a World XI. England batted first again, and
scored 201-7. The World XI was bowled out for 119.
* Lord's, 1966: A 50-over game between the West
Indies and a World XI. The West Indies batted first
and scored 254-7, with Hunte making 57 and Seymour
Nurse 88. The World XI was restricted to 236-8.
Wesley Hall took four wickets.
* Lord's, 1967: Two one-day games: In the first
match, England XI scored 144 with Sobers claiming
three for 13. The World XI won by eight wickets
with South African Eddie Barlow making an unbeaten
74. The second game was played between a World XI
and Pakistan. The World XI batted first and scored
223-6 off 50 overs, with Rohan Kanhai (88) and
Sobers (72 not out) being the top-scorers. Pakistan
could muster only 179-9 from their allotted overs.
* 1970 - England v/s World XI South Africa's
sickening Apartheid policy led to the cancellation
of its cricket team's tour of England in the summer
of 1970. A World XI was then put together under the
captaincy of Garfield Sobers. It won the
five-'Test' series 4-0.
* 1971-72 - Australia v/s World XI South Africa's
tour of Australia in 1971-72 was also cancelled for
political reasons. Sir Donald Bradman, then
Chairman of the Australian Cricket Board, persuaded
Sobers to assume charge of another World XI that
played Australia in a series of five 'Tests'. World
XI won 4-1.
*Karachi 1970-71: Pakistan v/s World XI Pakistan XI
won this game by a whopping 226 runs. Brief scores:
Pakistan XI 373-6 declared (Mushtaq Mohammad -103*,
Shafqat Rana - 117) and 320-6 declared (Saeed Ahmed
- 119, Pat Pocock 3- 55) beat World XI 184 (Saeed
Ahmed 3-42) and 283 (Sarfraz Nawaz 5-65).
*Australia, 1977-79: Kerry Packer's World Series
Cricket 'Revolution' involved as many as fifty
cricketers from all over the world, including
Australians, West Indians, Englishmen, Pakistanis
and South Africans. The two seasons of World Series
Cricket featured as many as sixteen 'Super Tests'
between Australian, West Indian and 'World' teams.
Lord's, 1987: MCC v/s World XI A five-day game was
organized at Lord's in 1987 to commemorate the
Bicentenary of the MCC, the oldest cricket club in
the world. Both sides featured an assortment of
players from different countries. Brief scores: MCC
XI 455-5 declared and 318-3 declared (Gordon
Greenidge - 122, Graham Gooch - 117 and Mike
Gatting - 179) and World XI 421-7d (Sunil Gavaskar
- 188) and 13-1. The match ended in a draw with
rain washing out the last day's play.
* Lord's, 1998: One-day game - MCC v/s World XI:
Both sides again featured players from different
countries. Sachin Tendulkar captained the World XI.
The game was played for the Princess of Wales
(Diana) Memorial Fund, on Dr. W.G. Grace's 150th
birth anniversary. The game fetched around 5,20,000
Pounds. MCC XI batted first and scored 261-4 off 50
overs with Shivnavine Chanderpaul making an
unbeaten 127. The World XI was superbly guided by
Tendulkar, who made a swashbuckling 125, and
Aravinda De Silva, who scored 82. World XI won by
six wickets with 39 balls to spare .
* Dhaka, 2000 : One-day game - Asia v/s World: A
keenly contested game, it was part of the ICC's
worldwide 'Cricket Week' Celebrations. Asia batted
first and amassed 320-9 off 50 overs. Australian
Michael Bevan then batted exceedingly well to bring
the World XI to the brink of a sensational win. He
was on strike off the last ball, with World XI
needing six to win. He got a boundary, and returned
to the pavilion with 185 runs to his name. Asia
thus won by one run.
* Melbourne, 10th January 2005: Asia v/s World -
Tsunami Relief Fund match The World and Asian sides
were led by Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly
respectively. World XI elected to bat after winning
the toss and scored a monumental 344-8 off the
allotted 50 overs. Ponting scored a brilliant 115.
Asia were bowled out for 232 in just under 40 overs
with Rahul Dravid top-scoring with 75.
* Lord's, 14th June 2005:
Another Tsunami Relief game between an MCC XI
and an International XI.
Most of the batsmen currently ruling the roost in
one-day cricket possess all the shots in the book.
Hence, the 'outfielders' also have to stay focussed.
One of the best ways of boosting the confidence of
your teammates is to save a boundary or take a
Fielders in positions like backward point, short
mid-wicket and short extra-cover should be 'alive'
all the time, for it is their job to swoop on the
ball and make the batsmen think twice before
tapping the ball and running. These fielders have
to be agile enough to intercept cuts and drives,
which are the scoring shots of most top batsmen.
Jonty Rhodes, Ricky Ponting, Yuvraj Singh and
Mohammed Kaif are some of the best fielding
exponents in these positions.
Batting in one-dayers is also more taxing than in
first-class matches. Yes, the batsmen thrive in
one-day games on the sub-continent, with the
wickets tailormade for them. But nothing comes easy
at the highest level.
Running between the wickets is an aspect of batting
whose importance is unmatched in one-dayers. It is
not easy to find the boundary consistently once the
fielding restrictions have been lifted. What does
the batting side do in such a situation? This stage
calls for consolidation, by taking singles and
twos, and ensuring that the scoring rate remains
healthy. Singles can be as effective as fours and
sixes. Every batting side should remember that even
if it scores a single off every ball of a 50-over
game, it will still reach 300, an imposing total by
all means! Taking singles and twos consistently
keeps the fielders on their toes, and people who
are made to concentrate for such a long period of
time are prone to making mistakes, like conceding
extra runs and overthrows.
Effective running between the wickets enables a
batting side to seize the initiative. Skilful
rotation of the strike affects the rhythm of the
bowlers and unsettles them. If a right-hander and
left-hander are batting together, the constant
switching of the strike means that the bowlers have
to alter their line. If a tall batsman is in the
middle with a short one, the bowlers have to keep
altering their length. In both cases, the bowlers
are unable to get into a groove. As the pundits
always emphasise, running between the wickets is
all about communication and judgement. The longer a
partnership lasts, the better is the calling.
Batting also becomes much simpler.