24 September 2010
CWC 150+ Club - Glenn Turner
Turner slammed a historic 171 in the very first day of ICC Cricket World Cup, 1975
Glenn Turner topped the batting charts in the ICC Cricket World Cup 1975.
The champion West Indies side, the pulsating final at Lord's on the longest day of the English summer are some of the memories still fresh in minds of many. But for one New Zealand batsman, Glenn Turner, the tournament marked an affirmation of his abilities as he towered the champions of that era by a long margin.
He was in such a rampant form that it needed New Zealand's loss in the semi-final to halt his march. As it turned out Turner even then outscored everyone else in the tournament by making 333 runs from just four games. On the very first day of ICC Cricket World Cup on 7 June, 1975 at the Edgbaston, Turner slammed a historic 171 not out against a combined side of East Africa to set high standards for the future of One-Day International cricket.
Now 35 years on, Turner has happy memories recollecting the knock against East Africa. "We were at Edgbaston, where I had played a lot of cricket. I used to play for Worcestershire, 30 miles down the road. But we would play two first-class games in a year against Warwickshire. It was always a very good pitch. So we had anticipated that we should get a good total and we did," recalled Turner.
The 1975, 1979 and 1983 editions of ICC Cricket World Cups were played over 60 overs. Turner played out the entire quota of 60 overs to notch up his 201-ball unbeaten innings. Does he ever rue missing out on a double hundred? "I did not think about the 200 because we ran out of time. I never really fancied my chances," informed Turner.
Infact the former New Zealand captain puts it down to lack of experience. "Then we had no idea about the one-day game. Now they play so much more, there are field restrictions and they have brought in the rope a bit. All this helps to make the batsmen score runs. The batsmen are a lot more aggressive these days, unlike in our times."
The knock itself had a special significance for Turner because it was by far the highest score in One-Day Internationals for a long time. The knock may have come against a lower-ranked side, but Turner valued it a lot.
" It was the first game at the World Cup for us. There is always this slight fear when you play one of the lesser teams. You always want to do well against them and never get into a situation where they surprise you," reckoned Turner.
As much as the East Africa innings ranks high in terms of number of runs, Turner derives self- satisfaction from a hundred he scored a week later against India.
"The knock against India was probably even more significant because it meant we went into the second round. We were chasing 230 in one of those close run chases. We paced ourselves very well and got there with an over and a ball to spare. It was an important game for us to win. India had a skillful spin bowling attack, so it was satisfying," recalled Turner.
The ICC Cricket World Cup in 1975 was a landmark event for the sport and for the players concerned. The teams had something new to play for and a world champion emerged from amongst them.
"Before the 1975 World Cup you never really had a feeling of what it was like at a world event. We also did not have the rankings system then for Tests or One-Day Internationals," reminisced Turner.
At the time, Turner himself did not get overawed by the platform having played a lot of cricket in English county circuit. "In a sense I did not feel the moment was too much of a pressure because I had been playing in England since 1967. I was at the Worcestershire since 1968 having qualified residentially by playing second XIs. I had spent quite a bit of time in England. Therefore the newness, excitement was not there for me," informed Turner.
The former New Zealand opener informed that one-day cricket changed his approach towards cricket as a whole. He moved from being the conservative batsman to an effervescent performer who liked to wow the crowds.
"I enjoyed one day cricket, more than the longer version. In the three-day matches, the then captains did not make declarations and it ended up becoming a dreary affair. Limited-over games pushed things for everybody. I actually started translating the form I had in the one-dayers into the three-day matches. I started scoring at a similar rate. We used to play 40 over games every weekend in England and I got more enthusiastic about the three-day format as I played on."
Over the years the ICC Cricket World Cup has gained significance and Turner finds the growth in its profile interesting. "The tournament did have the significance in 1975, but in more recent times it has grown. It doesn't replace the Test matches. But teams plan a lot better these days for the ICC Cricket World Cups. They have games leading into it and the programmes are modified to build up for the tournament," opined Turner.
Since he retired, Turner has been coach of the New Zealand in two different stints. Turner coached the New Zealand team at the ICC Cricket World Cup 1996. Led by Lee Germon, New Zealand lost in the quarter-finals to Australia at Chennai.
But Turner picked up a few pointers from the tournament which he is hoping to feed the current lot as well. "The day games started as early as 9.30 am and there was a lot of dew. We started off with a win in a day game against England. The night games also had the same factor. In the Australia game we just could not grip the ball because it was very wet and we lost as we could not defend a huge score."
Turner is currently the selector of the national team and will be using all his experience to help Daniel Vettori and company. "We have been trying to get one or two new players involved so that they get some cricket under their belt,. The difficulty we face like other countries is that of injuries. It can play havoc with the best laid plans. We have planned well with our itinerary leading into the big event, so that might help," opined Turner.
Turner's advice to the New Zealand side is to look to maximise scoring against the spinners. "It is important to play with confidence and urgency. You have got to watch the conditions in India and play in a way that you don't stagnate. Turn over the strike. You can't be a block slogger as in either block or slog. In trying to clear the fence, sometimes everyone neglects the singles. Most full blooded shots go to the sweeper. The batsmen need to manipulate, chip into the space, keep the rate ticking over, so that you get a minimum number of runs per over. That's my key advice to them."
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 marks yet another attempt by New Zealand to shed the tag of being underachievers. The New Zealand team has made it to five semi-finals, but never really progressed further than that.
Turner is keen that the current bunch goes one better than most New Zealand sides of the past. "It is almost as though there is a conservatism that comes into us when we reach the semi-finals. We are almost too cautious not to give a bad performance. We always seem to err on the side of safety, which isn't to win the games. I believe for some time now, New Zealand need to be more confident in major games. At times we have relied on opposition not playing well by putting in a mediocre performance. That has held us back over a long period of time," opined Turner.
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