Winning the World Cup is not the ultimate triumph
In sports, as in life, there are some milestones and there is a zenith. The Cricket World Cup is considered to be the ultimate prize in cricket and winning it is regarded as a premium that is matchless.
It is one of the biggest sporting events in the World and playing in the tournament is a test of a player's metal. However, stamping a player or a team as successful or unsuccessful based on the World Cup is unjust.
The fascinating World Cup
The cricket World Cup was inaugurated to lead cricket's transition from the traditional format of test cricket into a more casual and fan-oriented limited overs game. The first edition of the World Cup was held in England in the summer of 1975 and it featured eight teams. The West Indies won it comprehensively.
The tournament has built a monumental legacy ever since and it has changed along with the game. It has given fans some unforgettable moments that will be etched in their memories forever.
Heroes are born in the cricket World Cup and it is a dream of every cricketer to be a part of the prestigious tournament. But, World Cup is not the only crest in cricket and a team or a player do not become lesser by not winning it.
It provides eternal and a long-lasting gratification to everyone but it also overshadows other feats that are achieved through a lot more effort and a lot more skill.
But there is much more to commemorate in cricket.
There are facets of the game that do not get the admiration that they deserve. A number of bilateral series throughout the year produce high-quality cricket and hence they deserve our accolade.
It is a majestic sight to behold when two teams throw punches at each other, match after match, knowing each other's strengths and weaknesses.
Test cricket, the longest and the oldest format of the game, is a true test of one's temperament and skills. It is the format that differentiates mediocrity and excellence in the sport. But Test cricket at some places is fighting to stay relevant while in the ideal scenario, it should be acknowledged by all.
Domination and excellence over a long period of time and in different conditions is rare and so, achievements of the players in the longest format should never be underestimated.
Form plays a crucial role
The build-up to the World Cup is colossal. Teams put a lot of effort and resources to build a squad suitable to win the cup. But in the World Cup, they only have to play a handful of matches.
While winning the cricket World Cup is quite an achievement, it should not be rated above all. If a team has a few good days in the tournament in which it gathers momentum and the players are in good form, it can win the World Cup.
It is highly unfair to rate a cricketer as good or bad on the basis of his performances in the World Cup. A team cannot be labeled as champions, just on the basis of its performance in a single tournament.
There are players who have never played in the World Cup but are still regarded as legends of the game. The prime example is that of VVS Laxman.
If you play well in one discrete environment, you can win the World Cup.
The Cricket World Cup is a global tournament that gives an opportunity to every major cricketing nation to host it. The nature of pitches and the weather conditions are specific for a particular country.
If a team plays well or gets accustomed to pitches in one discrete, it has a huge advantage over the others. So, winners of the world cup should not be regarded as world-beaters.
India and Australia were the hosts of the last two editions of the cricket World Cup and they both ended up as winners of the tournament.
Shortly after, Indian toured England and got thrashed on their home soil. Australia, too, were annihilated in the sub-continent shortly after winning the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
The ultimate glory
The Australian side of the early 2000's will always be regarded as worthy champions because they were superior in every condition they played in.
They were dominant in all the formats and set a benchmark for the entire cricketing world. They had all the bases covered and had genuine match winners in their ranks - the likes of Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, and Glenn McGrath, just to name a few.
The ultimate glory belongs to those who dominate, who prove their metal in hostile situations and who sustain pressure for a longer period of time and come out on top and so, it is they who should be regarded as champions.
As far as others are concerned, the winners' tag will do.