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The Importance of Being a World Cup Winner

bagapath

International Captain
Imran Khan is probably the greatest cricketer that ever lived. Top 5 fast bowler. Possibly top 3. Very decent middle/ lower order batsman. Succeeded all over the world over a long and storied career. Never ever gave up at any given situation. Stood up to the very best and almost always won every head-to-head battle.

If you think that is not enough to be called the greatest ever, then I hope you at least agree with me that apart from Bradman and Sobers one cannot rank anyone above him casually.

And when we rank cricketers we usually consider their test careers. (Will anyone ever have the balls to say Bevan was a superior cricketer compared to Border based on their ODI stats?)

Now... I know how big the 1992 World Cup win was for Pakistan. It was just amazing how they came back from behind - they were on the verge of elimination - to win the tournament.

But I never bought the "cornered tigers" bull****. I have written before that I am not a fan of Imran's style of captaincy. Autocratic leadership works only when the team members are not focused, not educated and not disciplined. He was the right man at the right time for the right country for the right bunch of people. He would not have been able to get his way with that style of leadership over the 80s WIndies or the 00s Indians. (Could've worked with the 2010's WIndies) But that argument is for another day.

Botham and Imran were among the four great all rounders of the 80s. As it stands, for posterity, Imran's reputation is that of a great great cricketer. Botham's is that of a once-upon-a-time great cricketer who ended up as a mediocrity.

My point is this: Had England won the final against Pakistan, would we be remembering Botham with more fondness and respect and Imran's captaincy with less respect (even though his test series wins in England and India and not losing to Windies are big deals)?

The fact that Pakistan won that one big game.... has that added more to the legend of Imran and eaten away from Botham's share of eternal glory? Those two reverse swinging deliveries from Akram, have they added too much luster to the "cornered tigers" schoolboy crap?

Earlier in the tournament, Botham bowled a gem to Sachin to get him in the group game. He performed a miracle against Australia (4 wickets and a 50). Had he repeated such a feat in the finals, he might have become the man of the tournament. If that had happened, would we be celebrating him on par with Imran and praising Gooch for the "cornered lions" speech he gave before the finals to his team?

How important is it to have a World Cup winner's medal to determine a cricketer's overall legacy?
 

hendrix

Hall of Fame Member
Imran's career was basically done by that point and I personally place no credence on that WC win.

As you mention, the team could have been knocked out and that has very little to do with leadership and a lot to do with how well your team and how well the opposition team plays.
 

smalishah84

The Tiger King
My point is this: Had England won the final against Pakistan, would we be remembering Botham with more fondness and respect and Imran's captaincy with less respect (even though his test series wins in England and India and not losing to Windies are big deals)?

The fact that Pakistan won that one big game.... has that added more to the legend of Imran and eaten away from Botham's share of eternal glory? Those two reverse swinging deliveries from Akram, have they added too much luster to the "cornered tigers" schoolboy crap?

Earlier in the tournament, Botham bowled a gem to Sachin to get him in the group game. He performed a miracle against Australia (4 wickets and a 50). Had he repeated such a feat in the finals, he might have become the man of the tournament. If that had happened, would we be celebrating him on par with Imran and praising Gooch for the "cornered lions" speech he gave before the finals to his team?

How important is it to have a World Cup winner's medal to determine a cricketer's overall legacy?
I think it definitely adds to your "greatness" if you have played a pivotal role in helping your side win the world cup but it isn't really the biggest defining moment of your career. Over the course of their careers Botham had fallen by the way side halfway through his career. Winning the 1992 world cup for his side would have perhaps redeemed a little bit of his legacy but not quite as much. After all, as yiu yourself say, that it is test match exploits that are usually remembered in assessing cricketers and Botham falls short in that regard.

But I think your point is valid from Imran's point of view. Had Pakistan not won the 1992 world cup, his lasting memories in the public's eye would have been a defeated and fallen cricketer who had once reached the pinnacle of his sport but couldn't really sustain it for as long as the public wanted.
 

smalishah84

The Tiger King
Imran's career was basically done by that point and I personally place no credence on that WC win.

As you mention, the team could have been knocked out and that has very little to do with leadership and a lot to do with how well your team and how well the opposition team plays.
Quite difficult to agree with you here especially when all the squad members from the 1992 wc tell you that it was really his leadership that got them through.
 

longranger

U19 Cricketer
Interesting point you made about Botham and how a few people remember him as ending in mediocrity. It could be argued that Botham's peak was in the early 1980s and he gradually decline over time, including becoming 'beefier' and slowing down his bowling. It could be an aesthetic point, but an older Imran Khan still appeared fitter and more in control of his game than Botham.

That being said, your real question is how important it is to have a World Cup winner's medal for the overall legacy. I think it's quite important in the modern era. Fans expect Test superiority to carry in to a World Cup which does to a large extent explain why the great Australian test side also won the 1999, 2003 and 2007 World Cups. Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne are better for winning the World Cup multiple times.

Similarly, it's proved to be the defining point for many great cricketers - Tendulkar and the Indian team of Sehwag, Yuvraj etc got international legitimacy as one of the greatest ODI sides for the 2011 win. Heroics of Jayasuriya, De Silva and Ranatunga similarly recognized in 1996. The only argument you can have regarding a great team to have not won a World Cup is South Africa, with great players like Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Graeme Smith, etc. My only answer to that is a that a truly great team would have the ability to win a high pressure knock-out game and 'deliver'.
 
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Jono

Virat Kohli (c)
cornered tigers t-shirt is the greatest thing ever, you all need to shut up asap.
 

SuperMurali

School Boy/Girl Captain
It doesn't make or break a legacy. I don't think people are going to think Sree was a great player because he played in a winning world cup team. But it adds legitimacy to their career, It takes away the question marks surrounding that player. it's like the final piece of the puzzle; the cherry on top etc.
 

Xuhaib

International Coach
I don't think even Imran thought that adding a world cup medal would increase his cricketing legacy if he did he would not have retired after 1987 semi final loss.The only reason he played till 92 was because his close aides advised him that in order to get the initial funding going for the cancer hospital he has to do something special for the nation and that special was winning the Cup
 

bagapath

International Captain
No xuhaib I am not saying he played on for more glory. I am asking us how do we remember the players of the past and how much of an impact a WC win adds to their legacy

The following players have mighty reputations despite no WC winner's medals

Lara
Kallis
Dravid
Hadlee
Ambrose
Lillee

A million Sreesanths and Kaluwitharanas can't match even one of them, I know.

The question I am asking is:

If in the 1992 final, had England won the game with Botham scoring a 40 ball 70 with 8 fours and 3 sixes. And gotten the wickets of Miandad, Imran and Inzamam for 10-2-27-3. And taken two catches on top of that....

It would still be just a one match performance. Imran and Ian Botham combined have played in 500+ matches for their countries. Taken 1000+ wickets. Scored more than fifty 50+ scores. They are capable of such a performance on any given day... But, would that one performance in a WC final have changed their historical standing? Would we have called Beefy the best of the four allrounders if this had happened? How much of my Imran love (or everyone's) is hinging on that WC win?

A different way of asking the question is this: If SL wins this WC will we be calling Sangakara the greatest modern bat? Considering he is already in the discussion and justifiably so, will such an event make him a clear winner?
 

RossTaylorsBox

International Captain
The question I am asking is:

If in the 1992 final, had England won the game with Botham scoring a 40 ball 70 with 8 fours and 3 sixes. And gotten the wickets of Miandad, Imran and Inzamam for 10-2-27-3. And taken two catches on top of that....

It would still be just a one match performance. Imran and Ian Botham combined have played in 500+ matches for their countries. Taken 1000+ wickets. Scored more than fifty 50+ scores. They are capable of such a performance on any given day... But, would that one performance in a WC final have changed their historical standing? Would we have called Beefy the best of the four allrounders if this had happened? How much of my Imran love (or everyone's) is hinging on that WC win?
I think it depends not only on what value you place on the World Cup but how much you believe that stepping up to win a specific game is a quality needed to be a great player. Personally I feel it is. Although there's an argument that ODIs are a format where everyone has a chance to win on their day, a player who is able to put in clutch performances when it counts (like a final) should be held in high regard.
 

bagapath

International Captain
in most all time XIs chosen by experts, akram makes it to the final team ahead of mcgrath or ambrose. if his batting ability makes the difference then hadlee should be considered ahead of him. but that doesnt happen ever. i am assuming akram's exploits in the 1992 final gives him an extra inch to sneak in ahead of mcgrath and ambrose who, in my opinion, are even greater than akram purely as seamers. so i am wondering if spectacular success in WC final does add an extra sheen to a great player's legacy.
 
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zorax

likes this
I think Wasim sneaks in for his ability to produce unplayable deliveries at any stage of the innings. His legacy is partly because he could bowl jaffas more frequently than any other quick bowler in the history of the game.

But the WC win is definitely a big part of Imran's legacy IMO.
 

marc71178

Eyes not spreadsheets
Quite difficult to agree with you here especially when all the squad members from the 1992 wc tell you that it was really his leadership that got them through.
To be fair, without the rain in the England group game they were out - don't see how his leadership helps there?
 

Top_Cat

Request Your Custom Title Now!
Yeah and they actually lost more games after that one to teams they should have beaten too. The inconsistent form of SA + OZ being so, so bad kept Pakistan in the semi-final race right up until their match against NZ. That they then dudded one of the form teams by heaps was a shocking result. Imran's captaincy kicked-in from that game, for mine.
 
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smalishah84

The Tiger King
To be fair, without the rain in the England group game they were out - don't see how his leadership helps there?
To have lost a game so badly the team needed a real morale booster. And IIRC Imran wasn't playing in the initial part of the world cup was he? I believe he was injured against WI (and did he play in that England match)?

Exclusive | One moment in Perth changed our lives: Aaqib Javed - Pakistan - DAWN.COM

The right mental approach is vital. A coach, manager, captain or even any other senior player can be the pivotal person. For us, it was Imran Khan. It was all him. The ‘92 World Cup belonged to him and his mind-set. It was his brainchild. If it weren’t for him there’s no way we could have even thought about winning, let alone reach the final.
Inzy has recently written a similar article

Yeah and they actually lost more games after that one to teams they should have beaten too. The inconsistent form of SA + OZ being so, so bad kept Pakistan in the semi-final race right up until their match against NZ. That they then dudded one of the form teams by heaps was a shocking result. Imran's captaincy kicked-in from that game, for mine.
Imran's captaincy came into his own from the match against Australia really.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vm7zttyW9n4

The match against SA should have been Pakistan's though had it not been for that rain forsaken rule. They benefitted from it against England but they also lost because of it to South Africa. That Pakistan SA match should have been Pakistan's if only the rain hadn't made a mockery of the target.
 

Pratters

Cricket, Lovely Cricket
Very interesting topic bagapath.

A World Cup adds to the legacy of a player, far more than it should. If a player has a career legacy rating of 100, a world cup win adds, say 5 instead of adding 2 points, say. Tests still play the biggest part in the legacy of a player. Botham won the world cup for his team, we would be considering Botham far greater. However, I doubt that we would consider Botham ahead of Imran still.
 

zorax

likes this
Nah **** all the diplomatic BS. World Cups are huge. Massive part of a player's ODI legacy IMO.

If you want to be considered an ODI ATG, perform in World Cups. Even better, win a World Cup. Even better, captain the winning side in the World Cup from an impossible position, and be an incredible source on inspiration and strength to the entire squad and all the fans watching.

Imran Khan WAG. If Botham did all that, he would definitely be more of an ODI ATG than Imran.
 

Pratters

Cricket, Lovely Cricket
Nah **** all the diplomatic BS. World Cups are huge. Massive part of a player's ODI legacy IMO.

If you want to be considered an ODI ATG, perform in World Cups. Even better, win a World Cup. Even better, captain the winning side in the World Cup from an impossible position, and be an incredible source on inspiration and strength to the entire squad and all the fans watching.
No one has argued against all this, tbh.

Imran Khan WAG. If Botham did all that, he would definitely be more of an ODI ATG than Imran.
I doubt this. Botham had a lesser career compared to Imran and I doubt the world cup win would make people rate him ahead of Imran.
 

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