Australia not England are Defending World Cup Champions

Kapil Dev on the Lords pavilion lifting the Prudential Trophy

Ondrive with SHAM SAMAROO

(September 2023) — I will be in India during the World Cup and will be “Keeping You In Touch” with the sights, sounds, and all the action in The West Indian.

Yes, you heard me correctly. Australia are the defending ODI champions. Starboy disagrees: “Sham, you can chat whaever BS yuh like, but the record book seh England won the 2019 World Cup”. Take a chill pill Starboy when big man talking. The record book does not always tell the whole story. If it did, Chanderpaul would be a better batsman than Kanhai. And if you believe that, then you ought to have your head checked. I was taking a big chance talking to Starboy like that because Starboy is a baaad man!

“True that Sham”, said Starboy. “Channapaul kyaan put on Kanhai dutty boots when he tek um off. Except fe dem doetish Shiv fans, like the ones who steal cricket books and end up in jail. But, ah still doant buy yuh chat Sham”, concluded Starboy. OK Starboy, let’s go to the video tape. In the 2019 finals, the scores were level after overtime, and England were gifted the WC Trophy. What was the reason for such a decision? Get this. England hit more boundaries than New Zealand. Say what? Mind you, the scores were tied. Only politicians come up with such rules to eliminate their competition. Let’s see how ridiculous that rule was. It would be the same as if scores were tied in game 7 of the NBA finals, and the champion was declared the team that had more three-pointers; or MLB declaring the World Series champs to be the team that hit the most homeruns. Do you get my drift? I done. Over to you, Starboy.

Starboy get bex: “So Sham, how deh hell yuh think the ICC shudda decide the 2019 winner?” Very simple, just like they do in every other sport, play another super over. The NBA plays additional minutes; MLB, extra innings; and FIFA, the penalty shoot-out. It’s elementary Starboy! Alternatively, the ICC could have declared New Zealand and England joint winners and they would be defending co-champions. The ICC has since recognized their error. That is why for the World Test Championship earlier this summer they stipulated that if the game ended in a tie (or a draw) both teams would be declared co-champions. And that is as it should have been in 2019. The only fair thing to do now is to recognize the Aussies who last won it in 2015 as defending champions. .

In sports England are credited with two bogus world cup titles – cricket in 2019 and football in 66 (you can read up on that fiasco). Like Brazil in football, Australia are five-time world champions. Next up, India (83 and 2011) and West Indies (75 and 79) are two-time winners. A visibly angry Starboy, still smarting from the earlier beat down, shouted: “Brazil deh pon s***t”. Brazil followin dat eeydiot Vinícius Junior and his buddy, Neymar, the biggest loser”. I thought that was Hillary, I joked. But Starboy was not in the mood. He continued: “Neymar and Venicius using the race card – a very profitable credit card these days”. I don’t follow you Starboy. “Pay attention teacher boy, I know yuh not too bright”, replied Starboy. “When I wuz in Guyana ah always hear men in GT chatting: “bwoi I don’t want to guh America. America is racist. But guess what Sham, ah the US embassy pon Main Street he a come from. He just get a no-ball”. Starboy was feeling his political oats but I quickly turned the conversation back to cricket.

Starboy, do you remember West Indies going for a three-peat in 1983? I was in Russia at the time and didn’t see it. But at 2 in the morning, the Indian fans were banging on my dorm room wildly celebrating. All week the West Indian students kept ribbing them how India did not stand a chance. But who can forget that catch by Kapil Dev to send back Viv. My cousin Richard later told me that Kapil Dev kept waving off his teammate who was closer to the ball at backward square. “Mine, mine”, Kapil shouted. The WC back then was a 60-over affair, but a rampaging Viv was in T20 mode (7×4 in a 27 ball 33). Viv was in a hurry-up mood. Gavaskar’s wife, like everyone else at Lords, thought so too. Sandeep Patil who was fielding at square leg said later: “Pammi (Gavaskar’s wife) was sitting in the players’ families’ enclosure behind me. She shouted at me to pass on a message to Sunil to meet her in about 15 minutes”. Oh dear, faint heart never wins tight games!

To this day, disgruntled fans still bellyache about it being a fluke. Nonsense! India had already defeated WI once in the tournament. They also had wins against Australia and England. Before that, a year earlier in an ODI in Berbice India thrashed the mighty WI. And two years after that WC triumph, India easily won the 1985 B&H Cup in Australia: A tournament in which all the test teams competed. India were undefeated in the tournament and cruised to a comprehensive 8-wicket win in the finals. Fluke? I think not.
Next stop, India 2023: Can England finally win one for real? Or will the kangaroos hop to six titles? Can India or West Indies make it a three-peat? Ops, I forgot, West Indies did not qualify! Starboy had the last word: “West Indies deh pon s***t. Remember to catch all the action live from the Motherland in The West Indian.


The views expressed in this column are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the THE WEST INDIAN.