**This article has been cross-posted at The Big Tip**
Back in 1998 or thereabout, when ESPN, The worldwide leader in sports, was launching its website, it recruited sports writers and bloggers to enrich the website’s content. While doing so, it secured the services of a sports blogger Bill Simmons who called himself “The Boston Sports Guy“. Bill (or the sportsguy as he is known now) wrote and interpreted the sports scene in an overwhelmingly Boston sports fan point of view. I have been a big fan of his writing and to this day, still read his columns on ESPN.
He had many running features in his columns, such as “The Reggie Cleveland All Stars” (For athletes with black sounding names but are actually white), “Diane Lane All Stars” (For ladies who seem to get hotter as they get older, named for the Hollywood Actress Diane Lane), Tyson Zone (Nothing a person does, no matter how outrageous it is, does not surpise you!) etc. He also had a hypothesized many theories including the one he calls as, and my favorite, “The Ewing Theory“.
The Ewing theory is named after the former NCAA Basketball great (from Georgetown University) and New York Knicks superstar, Patrick Ewing – voted as one of the 50 greatest basketball player of all time. The theory was proposed by Simmons, with help from one of his friends, because in their observations, Ewing’s teams (both at Georgetown University and New York Knicks) “inexplicably played better when Ewing was either injured or missing extended stretches because of foul trouble.” This theory, was proved beyond doubt (in their minds, anyway) when, during the 1999 NBA playoffs, Ewing went down with an injury and the Knicks made it all the way to the NBA finals.
Recently, I was in the Georgetown university area, which reminded me of Patrick Ewing and the Ewing Theory. That’s when it struck me the Ewing Theory potential of Sachin Tendulkar to Indian cricket team. Come to think of it, he is a very appropriate candidate for the Ewing Theory. He has long played and served Indian cricket with great distinction for the last 20 years, but the team has not won the big prize – The World Cup. He has been the member of the Indian team for the 1992, 1996, 1999, 2003 and 2007 world cup tournaments, but the best finish was the “runner up” in 2003 and semifinals in 1996.
The Indian team, won the inagural version of the Twenty20 World cup that took place in South Arica in 2007. And you guessed it – Sachin Tendulkar was not part of that squad. If this were to be true, then, the Indian team does not stand a chance in the 2011 World cup. It is generally assumed by fans of Indian cricket that Tendulkar will retire from the ODI format after the 2011 World cup and continue playing the tradiotnal format of the game, Test matches. He already has retired from Twenty20 Internationals in 2007 and only plays T20 for his IPL franchise – Mumbai Indians. It is interesting to note here that the Mumbai Indians have not won the IPL either in their 3 years of existence, with Sachin in the side. The plot thickens, doesn’t it? They romped through the league stage of the third edition of the IPL tournament in 2010 as the best team in the league, only to lose to the Chennai Super Kings in the finals.
If you think I am not a Tendulkar fan and I am blaspheming the GOD, please hold your horses! I want to let you know that I am one of the staunchest supporters of the man. I have thorughly enjoyed every single moment of his cricketing career donning India colors in the last 20 years but sometimes, things are not just meant to be. Tendulkar is also fighting another statistic, when he is trying to win the world cup next year (jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh). No host team has ever won the event starting from 1975. (I shall call this deduction, The Host HexTM.)
The first three editions (1975, 1979, 1983) of the world cup were held in England (England bore the brunt of the host jinx and finally seem to have broken the hex by winning something of note this year). In 1992, Australia and New Zealand hosted the WC tournament. Australia did not even make the semifinals. New Zealand crushed their opponents with innovative approach to the game and redifining the way an ODI match was approached, only to lose a Pakistan team that huffing ad puffing its way through the tournament. In 1996, when the WC was jointly hosted in the Indian subcontinent, the hosts didn’t win either. (Before you jump on me saying Sri Lanka won the WC in 1996, note that the semifinals and finals were held in India and Pakistan, respectively, So there.) Similarly, the hosts did not win in 1999 (England), 2003 (South Africa) and in 2007 ( West Indies).
So here is your Big Tip: If you are betting person, Do not put your money on India to win the world cup in 2011. The evidence is overwhelmingly against India – The Ewing Theory and The Host HexTM. It would also serve you better if you do not put your money on Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, not that Bangladesh had any chance to win the WC to begin with! (Thanks for making me see the light, Bill.)