The Cricket World Cup 2003 – all the dramas, the tears and the rain

The Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2003 will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. The official opening was brilliant, even the US CNN dubbed it a spectacular opening.

Then followed the drama. England refused to play in Zimbabwe claiming that a letter written by the "sons and daughters" of Zimbabwe was a clear indication that their security concerns over playing in Zimbabwe were genuine.

Not wanting to be outdone, New Zealand also came with their own excuse as to why they could not play in Kenya .

Disappointed by the fact that they did not get a life threatening letter from the "sons and daughters" of Kenya , they came up with a tired American angle – they feared terrorists were hiding somewhere in Kenya .

Australia also refused to play in Zimbabwe , but they changed their minds at the 11th hour. They played and won. And the "sons and daughters" of Zimbabwe never even raised a finger against the players.

Both Kenya and Zimbabwe were awarded four points when their opponents did not show. Then Shane Warne, one of Australia 's key players, was sent packing for failing a doping test. As the cricket theatre players increased, a Durban radio station presenter was suspended for a week for making unwelcome remarks about Sri Lankans after rain caused a tie with the Proteas.

This was a cruel end to SA's campaign in the Group B game and the end of SA's World Cup. Deepening the CWC circus, two of Zimbabwe 's cricket players, Henry Olongo and Andy Flower, wore black armbands in protest against human rights abuse in Zimbabwe .

And the SA team was not unaffected by all the drama – Herschelle Gibbs, the man who 'forgot to cheat' in the Cronje match-fixing scandal, criticised and questioned the capacity of Protea captain, Shaun Pollock.

Hansie Cronje was a better leader, said Gibbs, Cronje could have steered them to victory. Nobody ever thought that Zimbabwe and Kenya would make it to the Super Six, though neither team played in the final.

Meanwhile, I would like to congratulate the CWC 2003 champions – Australia . They are fast becoming the 'Brazilians' of international cricket. They produced a brilliant performance throughout and they did not have to look to someone who has departed for inspiration.

The Proteas must never again depend on the rain for victory or favours. They must work hard for it. The rain did punish us but the Proteas never won against world class teams.

It was devastating to see the tearful Shaun Pollock helplessly covering his face with his hands. This was a sign that our guys were knocked out.

What is the Aussies' secret? Back home they study video clips of their opponents' previous games constantly.

They spot their strengths and weaknesses and make a meal out of that. In today's modern sports, technology plays a major role in a team's success.

The Aussies made history by becoming the first team to win the CWC three times in a row. The next CWC will be hosted by the West Indies .

This nation expects the Proteas to be crowned champions. Having learnt a few lessons from their previous outings, I strongly believe that they will bring home the cup next time around.


Numsa News