A random selection of arbitrary World Cup 2011 awards...
The Kipling 'If...' Trophy
After the semi-final win over Pakistan, Dhoni gave a remarkable interview in which he described how he'd had nothing to eat until he reached the ground because the hotel that the team were staying in was now hosting ICC/BCCI/government guests and they weren't able to serve him breakfast. Dhoni was absolutely calm about this, even though it's an almost perfect example, in miniature, of every committee that's ever run any sort of cricket throughout the history of the game. The real sign of a good leader is that they never pass pressure downwards - this is Dhoni's great skill as a captain. It's hard to think of anyone who could have borne so much expectation with such ease. In comparison to the off-field stuff, the game itself must be an escape. He sauntered out ahead of Yuvraj in the final like a man walking up his garden path after a hard day at work, ready to relax at last.
Best display of human fallibility
Every player has had days like Sachin did in the final, striking everything out of the middle of the bat and then inexplicably feathering a wide one. Many of his hundreds would have started less well than that 18 in Mumbai, and yet he may come to see his dismissal as a curious kind of blessing. Had he scored a century, he might have had to lay down his bat and ascend through the clouds immediately, because his legend would have blotted out the rest of his life. As it is, the failure was almost Bradmanesque, and the weight of runs earlier in the tournament entirely outweighed it.
And there we were thinking he was the sulky, spoilt one...
500 runs, 8 wickets, killer beard - didn't even need to get out the Dilscoop.
Easiest on the eye
A rapier amongst the broadswords
Most surprising out-batting of Sachin Tendulkar
For one innings only...
Prophet in his own land
422 runs at 60.28, 5x50, strike rate above Bell, Haddin, Misbah, Kallis and Ponting, fifth in the ICC ODI rankings. 'He was batting like a schoolboy' - Mark Butcher and Bob Willis
Three fast bowlers, one spinner. 'They [India] will be answering all the questions... on the surface, about their line-up...'
'There's been no tap on the shoulder'.
Best 'fuck you' hundred
All talking done with the bat...
Best Associates player
Ryan Ten Doeschate
307 runs at 61.40, 2x100. You sure he's not English...?
The number of World Cup matches Shaun Tait had to play before he got a bat. Australia's recent history is contained within that number somewhere...
The 50-over game
Any format that can contain an innings as subtle as Mahela's in its biggest game must have something going for it. Now, if we could only play a bit less of it...
'After this match, we will all be old men...' On Pakistan's youngsters before the India semi-final
Now, when does the IPL start...?