With the ODI World Cup over for another four years, it is now time for all and sundry to wade into debate about the players, matches and moments of the tournament.
Every news outlet has been spouting their team of the tournament from Cricinfo to the BBC to the ICC themselves. These are pretty facile exercises at the best of times, but in this World Cup in particular, it seems a redundant job. It is clear to even the casual observer who 7 or 8 of the men in the ‘team of the tournament’ should be.
But I am not immune to wanting to cast my eye over the plethora of cricket we have been treated to over the past six weeks. However, instead of an XI comprising the best talents of the World Cup, I give you my ‘underperformed XI’. These aren’t necessarily the worst or most hopeless players at the tournament, rather those who arrived with a big reputation or in good form, only to fail to live up to expectations.
Aaron Finch – 280 runs @35.00
At first glance, Finch’s run tally and average looks respectable enough. But when you consider that he scored 135 of his runs in the opening match against England (and he was dropped early on…), his record isn’t as impressive. Finch came in the tournament as half of a fantastically exciting opening partnership, by the end of it he was struggling to justify his selection.
Tamim Iqbal – 154 runs @ 25.66
In what was one of Bangladesh’s more successful World Cup’s, as they edged out England to secure a quarterfinal birth, one of their star players was often dreadfully below his best. Tamim has the ability to take apart nearly any ODI attack in the world, but in this World Cup he looked short of form and confidence. Only managing one half century, against Scotland, and failing to pass 25 on any other occasion
Quinton de Kock – 145 runs @ 20.71
Prior to the World Cup, de Kock has made 6 centuries in just 36 matches. He was lauded as part of a South African side finally ready to cast off it’s World Cup hoodoo. Unfortunately for the Proteas, he failed to find his feet during his side’s run to the semi final. He failed to make it into double figures in half of his eight innings, and while his 78* in the quarter final was impressive, it only served to exemplify how poor the rest of his World Cup was.
Lendl Simmons – 173 runs @ 34.60
Although Simmons is not one a renowned world beater in ODI cricket, over the past few years he has begun to look more and more assured within the West Indies batting line-up. This World Cup should have been a chance for him to move out of the shadows of Samuels and Gayle, however, after a good hundred versus Ireland his next four innings yielded just 71 runs. Against South Africa, New Zealand and India, he managed just 21 runs in three knocks.
Eoin Morgan (C) – 90 runs @ 18.00
An easy selection for the ‘underperformed’ team – as skipper too. Morgan is still deemed by many to be England’s finest One-Day player, and came into the World Cup talking of being aggressive and taking the game to the opposition. What he delivered was not only few runs from his own bat, but also a frankly dismal display from his England side. If I’m looking for someone to lead from the front, and fail to meet expectation in this side, then Morgan has to be the leader.
Ravindra Jadeja – 57 runs @ 14.25, 9 wickets @ 39.66
The man who many Indian supporters see as one of their star players. Jadeja is a man whose reputation far outweighs both his skill and returns. Quite how he manages to continue to warrant selection is beyond me. His batting over the last six weeks has been pretty atrocious, as he failed to pass 23 in the entire tournament. His bowling has also been pretty ineffectual, whilst not getting hammered to all parts, Jadeja’s average is just that… average.
Shahid Afridi – 116 runs @ 23.20, 2 wickets @141.00
Was Afridi selected on form or skill, or sentimentality? It appears that imay have been the latter, the ageing leg spinning all rounder’s best days are now well and truly behind him. With the bat, Afridi failed to capitalise on the small starts he continually made, being dismissed in the twenties in four of his six innings. With the ball opposition batsmen blunted him all too easily. In 2011 he took a hatful of wickets, in 2015 he simply wiled away for no return.
Luke Ronchi (WK) – 73 runs @ 12.16
Not somebody you would immediately expect to be labelled as underperforming. Firstly because he was part of the superb New Zealand side which made it to the final, and secondly because there wasn’t much expected from him in the first place. But less than a month before the tournament started Ronchi blasted Sri Lanka for 170 in just 99 deliveries. He should have been in the form of his life. However, his batting returns were paltry at best, after scoring 29* in the opening match, he failed to reach double figures in any of his 6 subsequent innings.
Stuart Broad – 4 wickets @ 63.50
Widely considered one of the best Test bowlers in the world, Broad should have been looking for a huge World Cup. He fared well on last year’s Ashes trip, and alongside his England colleagues, has enjoyed a protracted period of ODI cricket in reparation for the World Cup. Despite bowling well in the opener at the MCG, and giving Australia a scare, Broad was hugely disappointing for the rest of his stay Down Under.
Lasith Malinga – 12 wickets @ 29.50
Bear with me on this one. Those stats are okay aren’t they? For almost any other bowler they would represent an acceptable few week’s work. But for a player who was considered the finest death bowler in the world and also one of the hardest to face, his returns represent a huge underperformance. It was visibly noticeable that Malinga was not the bowler he once was, the snap in the action wasn’t there, the searing yorker went awry and there was a hint of a paunch. His World Cup ended as he was roundly hammered out of the attack by Australia in the quarterfinals, being taken for 43 in his 6 overs.
James Anderson – 5 wickets @ 49.00
Completing this XI, and bringing England’s representatives up to three, is one of the greatest seam bowlers in the world. Or at least he has been for the past five years. There has been evidence over the last few months, strengthened by this World Cup performance, that age is catching up with Anderson. His wicketless outings against both co-hosts were particularly disappointing, as England fell to big defeats in both matches, and set the tone for their campaign.