January 31, 2011

Pop and fizzle

Players who shone at the World Cup, but only briefly

Collis King
Few people ever upstaged Viv Richards at the crease, especially if he scored a superb unbeaten century... but King managed it in the 1979 World Cup final against England, smashing 86 from 66 balls, with 58 in boundaries, and dominating a partnership of 139 with the Master Blaster. With Richards going on to make 138 not out, West Indies amassed a huge total, and England fell well short. King seemed to have announced himself on the biggest stage of all - but he never reached such heights again, and his international career was over little more than a year later.

John Davison
Few people had heard of Davison when he bristled out to open Canada's innings against West Indies in the 2003 World Cup. More knew him, though, by the time he had blasted six sixes in a 67-ball century (the fastest in the World Cup at the time; since pipped by Matthew Hayden by one ball) to shock Brian Lara's side. But Davison didn't get much support - his eventual 111 was more than half the total of 202 - and Lara himself tucked in with 73 from 40 balls as the West Indians put the Canadian upstarts in their place with nearly 30 overs to spare.

Winston Davis
The toothpick-slim West Indian fast bowler Davis played five World Cup matches, all in 1983, and finished with eight wickets. Nothing remarkable there - except all but one of the wickets came in the same game, his first, when he demolished Australia at Headingley with 7 for 51. The next four matches brought him 1 for 155, and he was dropped before the final. Davis was unlucky to have had to compete with several other fine fast bowlers for a West Indian place - and his ill luck continued later, as in 1998 he was paralysed after falling out of a tree.

Trevor Chappell
He might be the least celebrated of the three Chappell brothers but Trevor managed one considerable feat neither Ian nor Greg did - a World Cup century. It came in his first match, too, against India at Trent Bridge in 1983. Chappell made 110, to set up a big total and a comfortable victory over the eventual champions: he'd never made more than 16 in 16 previous ODIs. But his three remaining innings in that World Cup produced only 29 runs, and he never played for Australia again.

Tariq Iqbal
One of the memorable moments of Kenya's shock victory over West Indies in Pune in the 1996 World Cup was the dismissal of Brian Lara, who might otherwise have stopped the rot as his side sank to embarrassing defeat. Kenya's bespectacled wicketkeeper Iqbal had had trouble locating the middle of his gloves when collecting the ball, and did so again when Lara edged him what should have been a regulation catch. But the ball stuck between Iqbal's ample thighs, and after an anxious wait he retrieved it and threw it skywards. The slide continued, and West Indies were soon all out for 93. Iqbal, however, didn't play again.

Craig Wishart
Few batsmen have started their World Cup careers more stridently than the Zimbabwean Wishart, who hammered 172 not out in Harare in 2003. But the opposition was lowly Namibia, playing their first official one-day international, and Wishart had more trouble against better bowling - he couldn't get past 43 in his other seven matches.

Harrup Park, Mackay
The citizens of Mackay, on the Queensland coast about 600 miles north of Brisbane, had been eagerly looking forward to Harrup Park's first (and still only) one-day international, the match between India and Sri Lanka in the 1992 World Cup. But it was the dampest of squibs: rain delayed the start for five hours, then returned after two deliveries of the opening over. To be strictly accurate, this was a two-hit wonder - Krishnamachari Srikkanth blocked the first ball, and took a single off the second. Wisden observed that "the only entertainment was afforded by the aerobic dancing of the Indian players seeking exercise at the lunch interval."

Imran Nazir
Big-hitting Nazir has had a stop-go international career for Pakistan, stretching back to 1999. But he has played in only one World Cup, in the West Indies in 2007. He made 6 and 24 in his first two innings, then - as the side tried to come to terms with the death of their coach, Bob Woolmer - Nazir belted eight sixes and 14 fours in his 160 against Zimbabwe. But it was too late: the surprise defeat to Ireland in their previous game had already sent Pakistan crashing out of the tournament.

Gary Gilmour
The well-built allrounder Gilmour didn't feature in Australia's group games in the first World Cup in 1975, but was drafted in for the semi-final against England at Headingley because it looked as if the conditions might suit his left-arm swing. And how: he took the first six wickets as England tumbled to 36 for 6. They recovered slightly to 93 all out, and then reduced Australia to 39 for 6 themselves. But thoughts of an astonishing England victory were dashed by... Gilmour the batsman, who scored 28 not out from No. 8. Rarely has a Man-of-the-Match award needed less thought. Gilmour went on to take five wickets in the final at Lord's, but West Indies came out on top that time. He played only one more ODI.

Feiko Kloppenburg
Kloppenburg, from Haarlem, had his moment in the sun in Bloemfontein in 2003, when he and Klaas-Jan van Noortwijk put on 228 in the Netherlands' victory over fellow minnows Namibia. Kloppenburg made 121: his highest score in his other five matches had been 18. Neither he nor van Noortwijk ever played another official one-day international, so their names nestle alongside slightly better-known ones like Dennis Amiss and Desmond Haynes on the list of those to have scored hundreds in their final ODI.

Nathan Astle
Astle, a relative newcomer to New Zealand's team at the start of the 1996 World Cup, looked like a man to watch when he carted England for 101 in the first match, in Ahmedabad. But his remaining innings in that tournament were 0, 1, 2, 6 and 1. He had another nightmare in the 1999 World Cup in England - 79 runs at 8.77 - before doing slightly better in South Africa in 2002-03, with an unbeaten century against Zimbabwe to set alongside three more ducks.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Cricinfo Guide to International Cricket 2011