This World Cup is going to be robbed of a lot of its
glamour if injuries to so many of the top players
prevent them from participating.
Hardest hit appears to be Australia and that is no
surprise considering the grueling schedule the team
has been through. One must really ask if the
ChappellHadlee series of three matches was necessary
at this stage.
Captain Ricky Ponting is resting in Sydney with a bad
back and ace all-rounder Andrew Symonds is doubtful at
this stage. Then the sudden training accident injury
to Brett Lee has put their preparations on the back
foot while Michael Clarke too has been sent home to
rest an injured hip.
To add to their woes, Friday saw the first time in 36
years that the world champions of 1987, 1999 and 2003
have suffered a 10-wicket defeat, that too at the
hands of New Zealand who have been having a tough time
Pakistan too are facing a cupboard full of problem in
relation to form, fitness, drugs scares, arguments,
all the usual ingredients that have gone
in to make cricket in Pakistan both infuriating and
intriguing. The constant rumours swirling round the
eligibility of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif can
hardly be good for team morale.
India have decided to rest Sachin Tendulkar for
Saturdays ODI against Sri Lanka as he is nursing a
sore back, though they are no indications that it is
serious. He probably just desperately needs a rest.
Irfan Pathan has had some niggle or the other too for
the past one week while Yuvraj Singhs recovery from
the training injury he suffered last October does not
appear to be complete.
Jacob Oram has been in tremendous form for New Zealand
and his finger injurysuffered in the Fridays match
at Wellingtonis another major concern.
It is bad enough that the enormous workload of
international matches is having such a deleterious
effect on the players bodies (and probably their
minds as well).
But the spate of training mishaps must really put a
question mark on the methods employed by the coaches,
physios and trainers and Shane Warne is right to point
this out in regard to his bete noir, Aussie coach John
The World Cup though remains world crickets premier
event with or without these injured players. The
bi-annual Champions Trophy is no match for it and
neither will be the inaugural Twenty/20 World Cup
being staged with obscene haste by the ICC in South
Africa this September.