We had a go at naming a composite Associates/Zimbabwe XIearlier in the tournament, which we posted with especially poor timing just hours before Kevin O’Brien committed GBH on the England bowlers in Bangalore.
This XI is different. It is a team of unlikely heroes (and an even more unlikely and much less heroic 12th man) who have mostly starred for the Associates during the World Cup and shown exactly why their presence in the ICC’s premier limited overs tournament should be absolutely mandatory. There are a couple of ringers in there too from full members, but neither would look out of place in an Associate side.
They came, they saw, they mostly didn’t conquer, but they added fun and colour to an otherwise tedious and elongated opening group phase.
Hiral Patel (Canada) – Faced with the heavy artillery of Tait, Lee and Johnson, 19 year old Patel came out with all guns blazing to compile an exhilarating 37 ball 50. The kind of guy who'd happily take a bullet for you.
Paul Stirling (Ireland) – Not only impressed with a 70-ball hundred against The Netherlands and his useful off-breaks, but also has the best jingle on Test Match Sofa. That alone earns him hero status.
Ashish Bagai (Canada)– Looked reasonable with the gloves, but it was his batting that really impressed with 225 runs at 45 including 84 against New Zealand and 64 not out against Kenya to earn his side their solitary win.
Ryan ten Doeschate (Netherlands)– The man they call “Ten inches” started the tournament with an unlikely ODI average in the high sixties and amazingly maintained it with a truly marvelous hundred against England. Also scored a ton against Ireland and finished with 307 runs at 61.40.
Collins Obuya (Kenya) – A really unlikely story. Impressed as a young leg-spinner in Kenya’s march to the semi-finals in 2003, and then reinvented himself as a top order batsman after getting the yips. Scored 242 runs at 60.50 despite playing in the worst side in the tournament and the fact that he finished on 98 not out against Australia, if anything, makes his story more heroic.
Kevin O’Brien (Ireland)– Came to the crease against England as a fat bloke with pink hair and then proceeded to morph into the bastard child of Gary Sobers and Viv Richards with his memorable never-to-be-forgotten 50 ball hundred. Surely, the IPL awaits.
Peter Borren (Netherlands)– If there is ever a remake of Robocop, Borren should be cast in the title role as he looks one mean and moody geezer. We daren’t leave him out, would you?
Darren Sammy (West Indies) – We like Sammy at The Reverse Sweep – he is definitely the coolest and most relaxed skipper at the World Cup. But let’s face it if he wasn’t captain, he wouldn’t be in the side. But Sammy doesn’t care and happily opens the bowling and promotes himself up the order. And we love that.
James Tredwell (England)– England’s erstwhile drinks waiter was pitched into battle in the do or die conflict with the West Indies and promptly proved that he could do more than mix a mean gin and tonic by snaring the rampaging Chris Gayle with his fifth ball – his first ODI wicket – and grabbing three more wickets thereafter.
Harvir Baidwan (Canada) – His 13 wickets in the tournament place him joint 3rd on the leading wicket takers list. That warrants selection alone. The fact that he got Shane Watson out in the nineties seals it.
Nehamiah Odhiambo (Kenya)– Murali is known for his winning smile, but it is easy to grin when you can tease and torment batsmen at will. Odhiambo only has a modicum of Murali’s talent, but if anything has an even bigger smile. He made us smile too when he got Shane Watson's wicket and Michael Clarke out in the nineties in the game against Australia.
12th Man – Kevin Pietersen (England)– Despite a long term of duty and several war wounds, Pietersen bravely pitched up at the World Cup and battled through England’s first four matches. Finally, with Andy Flower’s praises ringing in his ear, KP went home early for an emergency operation and some deserved convalescence. The wimp.
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