Sydney, Mar 31(ANI): The achievements of Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Shahid Afridi and Jesse Ryder, among others in the ongoing World Cup on the Indian sub-continent, has proven that it has been a good tournament for the mavericks, noted cricket columnist Peter Roebuck has said.
"Someone looking remarkably like Jesse Ryder batted capably for the Kiwis, and fielded superbly at backward point. Shahid Afridi has worked wonders for Pakistan, Zaheer has been his country's best bowler and an Irish outfit consisting entirely of mavericks surpassed itself. Yuvraj Singh, too, has forsaken the high life and turned himself into a formidable foe," Roebuck wrote in his syndicated column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
"It all adds to the fun of a fine event. Perhaps, though it is also instructive. Sport cannot be confined to a book. Sportsmen, too, tend to be adventurous types. Cut them some slack. Anyhow it's not the start that counts, it's the finish," he added.
Roebuck also reckons that the Sri Lankan team led by Kumar Sangakkara deserves to be in the final, as they "field the most original and entertaining team".
"Sri Lanka's attack tells the story. As far as can be told it consists of one chap with a haystack on his head and apparently intent on reviving round arm, another fellow with an innocent expression and an ability to flick the ball like a counter on a board, and an ancient tweaker with a freakish action. Could they have survived in a less imaginative location?" Roebuck wrote.
"Yet Lasith Malinga has been the third best speedster in the tournament, behind Umar Gul and possibly Zaheer Khan. Fellows with unkempt hair of alarming hue tend to get a raw deal. But sport has a beautiful democracy about it, concentrates on performance not presentation. Malinga hurls himself around in the field, practises his yorkers endlessly and is wholehearted and brave enough to seek wickets not containment."
"He is an excellent bowler whose slingy action means that he releases the ball from over middle stump and he has a bumper and slower ball to his repertoire. Above all, he is the best powerplay bowler around," he added.
Roebuck further highlighted that the Sri Lankan management had saved off-spinner Ajantha Mendis for the final stages of the six-week tournament.
"He has not played much in the past few months. Realising that it takes time for opponents to get used to him, the Lankan think-tank denied them that opportunity. Now, like Ravichandran Ashwin, his equally fearless Indian counterpart, he takes the new ball, willingly operates in the powerplay and usually picks up a few wickets. Like the Australians, the Lankans put a high premium on wicket-takers," Roebuck wrote.
The noted cricket columnist also described opening batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan as an audacious and inventive opener.
"Dilshan's past is not that of the typical librarian but in this tournament has batted with inspired responsibility, daring to play his shots and yet not taking foolish risks. He gives the innings its early injection and then settles till it is safely under way. Besides, he fields like a demon and bowls handy off-breaks. Like Malinga, he does not leave the tough jobs to others and, like him, he'd secure a place in a composite side," Roebuck wrote.
Sri Lanka will face India in the final of the tournament at Mumbai's Wankhede Satdium on Saturday. (ANI)