Minnows capable of World Cup heroics

NEW DELHI, February 17, 2011 (AFP) – 8.2-6-7-3. Those are not the bowling figures of Australian leg-spin wizard Shane Warne or Pakistani fast bowling great Wasim Akram, but of a one-time tennis player in a World Cup match. Kenyan left-arm spinner Aasif Karim, who also represented his country in the Davis Cup, was 39 when he caught the eye with those 50 magical deliveries, tying famed Australian batsmen into knots in Durban in 2003.

He had quit cricket after the 1999 World Cup in England but returned for the next edition in South Africa, showing what players from non-Test playing nations were capable of at cricket’s showpiece event.

Karim’s victims included Australian captain Ricky Ponting, Darren Lehmann and Brad Hogg. He did not taste success after his heroics, going wicketless against India in the next game, which turned out to be his last one-day match.

Players from so-called minnows may quake at the prospect of facing thunderbolts from pacemen Dale Steyn and Brett Lee or bowling to Sachin Tendulkar and Kevin Pietersen but they can produce fireworks of their own.

Previous World Cups are full of examples of players from smaller sides who have enjoyed a rare moment in the sun such as Canadian John Daviso