Sep 10: Toronto, an exclusive battlefield for Indo-Pak cricket since 1996, will witness yet another giant in action this season. The West Indies will clash with India (Sept 11,12 and 14) and Pakistan (Sept 16,18 and 19) to lend a refreshing image to the Toronto Series.
In fact, any cricket in Toronto this season was ruled out following the Kargil issue. The organisers took a lightning decision to ensure a cricket atmosphere in Toronto. Thus emerged these two three-match Series to satiate the needs of the cricket lovers there.Apart from the cricket fans in Toronto, the millions of cricket-watchers in India, Pakistan and the West Indies are bound to follow these six matches with greater keenness than in the earlier seasons.
The current One Day International (ODI) cricket season is only two Cups old. In Sri Lanka, the home team won a tri-nation Series (India and Australia were the other nations) on the last day of August. Then, in Singapore the West Indies outplayed Zimbabwe and India for a tri-nation Cup on Sept 9.If India and the West Indies had suffered badly in the World Cup 99 in May-June, then Pakistan tumbled from glory to dust in that Summit of Cricket.
After dominating the preliminary rounds and winning just one match (against Zimbabwe) in the Super Six, Pakistan went to the final. Australia showed its place in what turned out to be a miserable one-side final ever. Thus all the former World champions like India, the West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were driven to despair at the World Cup 99.
Only Australia, the 1987 champion, rose from a world of uncertainty to the title triumph.Interestingly enough, the opening weeks of the current season are involving all the World champions. That must be considered as a pleasant surprise for the cricket addicts. Sri Lanka, a freshly-formed combination under the leadership of Sanath Jayasuriya, won back the hearts of the Sri Lanka cricket lovers with a convincing eight-wicket win over Australia in the Cup final (Aug 31). Then the West Indies, longing to regain its lost glory, pocketed the Singapore Challenge Cup.