Lloyds’ West Indians were best in World Cup: WV Raman

Batting for associate nations in the World Cup, former India batsman said here that “in the current edition and the next, we will see a lot of good cricket played by teams from the Associate nations with full member nations having to really fight hard”.

Raman was addressing CCI’s Legends Club on Wednesday evening to mark the birth centenary of former India captain Vijay Hazare. “The full nations (Test nations) will not any more take things for granted. This is the start of us having to see the unknown names, a lot of talent that we don’t get to see regularly,” Raman said. Raman spoke on Four Decades of World Cup, articulating each 10-year-period in an enthralling manner. The 49-year-old who played 11 Tests and 27 ODIs between 1988 and 1997, said that the World Cup this decade “gave a chance for Associate nations to make their presence felt, to stake a claim to be part of international cricket on a regular basis”. “World Cup gives a platform for nations that go through a lot of turmoil, a classic example being Afghanistan.

It gives them a lot of dignity, a proper perspective of their country to the rest of the world, an opportunity to express themselves. We can’t even imagine one per cent of what they have to overcome.” Summarising each decade of the World Cup, Raman said the “World Cup in the 1970s made a lot of islands in the Caribbean come together as a single unit and fight for their dreams. Clive Lloyd’s men felt they were ambassadors for their respective islands individually and collectively, and played for the pride of their race. That made them excel as well as they did. “The 1980s gave a lot of inspiration and confidence to India, and helped in the resurgence of Australia under Allan Border, both nations very passionate about cricket.

The 1990s gave a great boost for countries that were going through rough times (Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and also sent a strong statement that the sub-continent nations be taken very seriously. It also saw innovations coming in, Wasim Akram showing us that reverse swing could be done even with a white ball and under lights. “When you come to the millennium, you talk about players’ behaviour being regulated and keeping away a lot of unwanted elements from the game in terms of Anti-Corruption and Security Unit guys coming in, necessitated due to various reasons.”

Raman singled out Lloyd’s World Cup teams that won the first two editions as the best among all the sides. “The way they played all those years, they dominated in all formats. Australia won three titles in a row, that’s fine but one difference between Australia and West Indies is that Lloyd’s men were never beaten while Aussies always lost games even though they won the series.”

The current Tamil Nadu Ranji team coach said that the standardisation of the pitches was one of the reasons for teams scoring in excess of 300 consistently in the current World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. “Standardisation of pitches by the ICC happened some time ago. When you came to the sub-continent, you got dustbowls and quality of matches swung like a yo-yo. You needed tracks that had some consistency,” he said. Raman also said that the current rules in which only four fielders were allowed outside the 30-yard circle “is not good enough”.

“You need spinners to play a major part in cricket,” he said. Asked why there were no genuine all-round performances in the ongoing World Cup, Raman felt “the teams go by the Twenty20 format”. “T20 is over a short period of time. Five or six deliveries and one or two wickets will change the entire course of the game. Fifty overs in comparison is still a long duration and for someone to bowl 10 overs and also score 40-50 runs takes an extra bit of skill,” he said.