Concluding our tournament reviews, here is an assessment of how the winners did.
The pre-tournament favourites proved triumphant, their batting strength simply proving overwhelming, even when their two star batsmen made a combined 18 runs in the final. Sachin Tendulkar scored more runs than any other Indian by a distance, but this side does not lean on him as previous ones did. India’s bowling and fielding were considerably weaker, but the excellence of Zaheer Khan, aided by Yuvraj Singh’s surprising 15 wickets, prevented this from costing India. They were highly worthy winners.
Hard to look beyond Tendulkar, but Yuvraj’s performances were so brilliant you have to. He averaged 90 with the bat, with four half-centuries, including a match-winning one against Australia, and a century against Australia. Yuvraj’s bowling was almost as important, and his two-wicket hauls in the last three games, prevented the lack of five bowlers from hindering India.
Yusuf Pathan entered the tournament amid much hype, having just hit a 70-ball 105, with eight sixes, against South Africa. But his power lacked any selectivity in the World Cup. An average of less than 15 before being dropped was the miserable result.
Gary Kirsten will be hard to replace as coach, but with MS Dhoni so formidable as a captain, expect good results for India to continue. They will need to be sagacious managing the workloads of players, something they have done superbly with Tendulkar of late.