Okay..So we are seeing the last stand of several greats lke Lara,Sachin,McGrath,Inzi,Pollock,Jaisurya,Dravid etc. in this World Cup.
This leads me to think of the 90ies when we had these men in the peak of their forms. Generally, there is a tendency to romanticize the past. So, as a boy growing up, I always thought of the late seventies to mid Eighties as the Golden era of cricket with the Chappels and the Lillees and the Bothams and the Richards..The Sunnies and the Kapils,Imran and Javed etc..
But Im slowly rethinking my views..In the ninties, I had the fortune of seeing the Akram swing with pace,Waqars legendary yorkers ,Donald with his searing pace,Lara on song,Sachin and his consistency,Inzi at his lazy best,Jaisurya in his belligerent mood,Murali spinning on glass,Shane Warne and his balls of the century(no pun intended),McGrath with his legendary accuracy,Ponting explosion,Ambrose at his meanest ,Chris Cairns and his awesome talents,Jonty Rhodes flying thru the air ,Pollock and his consistency,Kallis at his dogged best ,Gilchrist redefining the WK role etc..Many of them at their peaks in the 90ies. Many of the names mentioned above would stand up well against names from any era. I may have missed some names above but you understand my point..
Just looking at the new generation of players from WI,Ind,Pak,Aus,SL..I wonder how long it will be before we see players of this class..All legends in their own right..
We have had two best spinners in Warne and Murali playing together..Not to mention the second run like Kumble,Saqlain,Vettori etc..
Legends like Lara,Sachin,Ponting play together in the same era..All three of them firmly entrenched in the legends column ,not to mention the second run like Inzi,Dravid,Hayden,Aravinda(who many reckon was as good as Ponting,Lara or Sachin at his peak) etc..
Some brilliant allrounders like Cairns,Pollock,Kallis..Solid tough Players like Steve Waugh or Dravid..Guys like Jaisurya who redefined the ODI game..Andy Flower who was a giant among batsmen in a weak team and kept wickets to boot..
Fast bowlers like Akram,Ambrose,Waqar,McGrath,Allan Donald. Guys like Jonty Rhodes and Gilchrist who have changed the very definition of their roles and set new standards.
I sometimes wonder if we have sold this current generation of cricketers a bit short due to the romanticization of the past..We cud cobble up a X1 from the names I have mentioned and form a cricket team that probably can stand up to any side in any era. My point is not to betitle the past..I still feel that the eighties era had some brilliant cricketers and their performances and charisma are definitely romanticized in my psyche.
But we will feel the same in maybe around 20 years about the players in the ninties.We will have to wait about 10 years to see another new set of legends appear but right now, lets enjoy the last of some of these legends who are still playing. Lets applaud a Lara flash or a Sachin straight drive or a Ponting Pull or a McGrath over because it will be a while before we see the likes of them again.
We maybe the seeing the final flourish of a Golden Era in Cricket.