FIFA World Cup 2014 fever has gripped the whole world since June 12, 2014. From young to old, everyone is following the World Cup with zeal and only talk about the on-going tournament and who will reign supreme in Brazil. Even the biggest Tennis Grand Slam Tournament of the year, Wimbledon, has been overshadowed by football World Cup.
One event which I hope does not get eclipsed by the World Cup is cricket match between MCC XI and Rest of the World XI on July 5, 2014 at Lord’s cricket stadium. For cricket lovers, particularly Pakistani cricket fans who have been starving for cricket for past few months, it is a star studded even not to be missed.
The match is a part of bicentenary celebrations at Lord’s i.e. celebration of 200 years of cricket at Lord’s. The game is to be played as a fifty over contest between a Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) side and Rest of the World side, with both teams comprising some of the former legends of the game as well as current stars.
The captains of the two teams are particularly eye-catching, two of the greatest on field rivals in cricket. MCC XI will be led by leading Test run scorer of all time, the Maestro Sachin Tendulkar. On the other hand Rest of the World XI will be led by one of the greatest bowlers of all time, the Spin Doctor Shane Warne. In late nineties and early twenties, one on one contest between Sachin and Warne was the sight every cricket fan used to relish watching.
The event is being eagerly anticipated by cricket fans around the world, with the match being a unique chance to watch the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara play together versus the genius of Shane Warne and Muttiah Murlidharan. The match boasts of a total Test experience of 1,764 caps – MCC XI with 937 and Rest of World XI with 827 Test appearances respectively. Representation of each country in this game will be as follows: Australia:6; India:4; Pakistan: 3; England:3; West Indies:3; SriLanka:1; New Zealand:1 and Bangladesh:1.
Let’s have a look at the two teams who will compete with each other in this mouth-watering contest:
The side is packed with some great legend and stars of the game. The team will be led by Sachin Tendulkar who will have fellow legends like Brian Lara, Rahul Dravid and Shivnarine Chanderpaul for company – a batting line up one can only dream of. Australia’s one day and T20 sensation Aaron Finch will provide fire power to this batting line up by opening the innings.
There can be no doubt that on paper, the MCC XI batting line-up remains superior, however, make no mistake about their bowling line up. The pace battery of the team includes the speedster Brett Lee, the express Shaun Tait and the Gulldozer Umer Gul. All of them are excellent and effective one-day pace bowlers. And to bamboozle the batsmen with spin, Saeed Ajmal and Daniel Vettori will provide the x-factor. Frustrating back injury had kept Vettori out of the New Zealand squad for quite some time. However, the magician Saeed Ajmal is bamboozling the batsmen all around the world with his armoury of spin variations.
Former England wicket keeper, Chris Read, will perform the duties with gloves. All in all the MCC XI is a very well balance side. Here is list of complete team of MCC XI:
MCC XI: Sachin Tendulkar (IND) (capt), Saeed Ajmal (PAK), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (W.I), Rahul Dravid (IND), Aaron Finch (AUS), Umar Gul (PAK), Brian Lara (W.I), Brett Lee (AUS), Chris Read (ENG), Shaun Tait (AUS), Daniel Vettori (NZ).
Rest of the World XI
An equally star studded team will be led by Sharne Warne, perhaps the best captain Australia never had. Warne is the bowler with the second most Test wickets in the history of the game but fear not – the man leading the charge may well be turning the ball the same way but from the other end. Yes, Sri Lankan spin genius Muttiah Muralitharan will be bowling in tandem with the Australian legend as the Rest of the World look to knock out their hosts with a spin bowling master class. The two spin greats will be supported by two very potent pacers: Peter Siddle and Tino Best.
The batting line up of Rest of World is full of fire power. With the bat, the Rest of the World brags the likes of wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist, swashbuckling former Indian opener Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen, who will be eager to serve up a reminder of the talent England are missing out on. Bangladesh’s very talented batsman Tamim Iqbal will further consolidate the batting line up. Paul Collingwood with his all-round skill of batting, bowling provides perfect balance to the side.
But hold on, that’s not all. The Rest of World XI has also got one star player, the crowd puller, the fans’ favourite, Boom Boom Afridi. The firepower of Shahid Afridi will be a perfect impetus to the contest. Here is list of complete team of Rest of World:
REST OF THE WORLD XI: Shaune Warne (AUS) (capt), Shahid Afridi (PAK), Tino Best (W.I), Paul Collingwood (ENG), Adam Gilchrist (AUS), Tamim Iqbal (BAN), Muttiah Muralitharan (S.L), Kevin Pietersen (ENG), Virender Sehwag (INDI), Peter Siddle (AUS), Yuvraj Singh (IND).
It promises to be a fantastic day of cricket, turning Lord’s into memory lane. Although the day clashes with the quarter finals of FIFA World Cup, but I hope no cricket fan will afford to miss out watching this contest.
Ahead of the game, fans from across the world are supporting their favourite team with either #teamsachin or #teamshane on social media. Who are you supporting?