FirstStep.co.za's article of 2007!  
 
Investing your time in knowledge is an awesome strength and tool to have. But what happens when you combine strengths, i.e., brains and brawn?
It’s cricket World Cup time and we salute three contributors that helped shape the game through the use of knowledge gained from either education or experience combined with the muscle of cricket to achieve monumental and memorable success.
 
The “tactician”- Imran Khan, read for an undergraduate degree in economics at Oxford University, Keble College. Khan captained Pakistan to their first and only cricket world cup tournament victory in 1992. A true athlete, Khan commanded respect as a leader from his team and as a dashing adversary from his opponents. Having reached the twilight of his career, it was his cricketing experience and education that brought about a unified victory from an extremely young Pakistani team. Using his all-round skills as a bowler and a batsman, he made sure his opposition never saw anything like this new spirited Pakistani team. He created a new era for Pakistan cricket and opened up the world to a faster, more fluent limited overs game.

The “scientist”- Bob Woolmer, who passed away tragically a few weeks ago, is an obvious loss to the game of cricket. Woolmer's visionary exploits as a coach impacted on both professional and amateur players the world over. He set new coaching trends and standards, creating bench marks in what seemed to be a sport that was becoming stagnant. He was the quintessential combination of knowledge (ignited by experience) and talent (brought on by teams and individuals).
 
His use of technology to gain the upper hand on opponents was the stepping stone for coaching world wide. Feeding off the ongoing developments of the technology age, Woolmer believed in scientifically breaking down an opponent to the points of his weaknesses and then exploiting them during the game. His scientific thought processes have catapulted cricket coaching into an ever improving format. He became a legend before his time and his death brings about a shocking reality that these days cricket is much more than just a game.
 
The “visionary”- Kerry Packer, the man who brought colour, flair and of course entertainment to the game that was once dominated by white flannels and slow over rates. Packer combined his knowledge of the media industry with his passion for cricket to revolutionise the game.
 
Packer developed the World Series Cricket tournament which was backed by his Media Company. He paid players from all around the world to play on his privatised cricket show. It was a cricketing coup! Without his input the popularity of the day and night game and the use of coloured clothing would never have catalysed the limited overs game. He made cricket more commercial and provided a career in the industry for professional sportsmen by compensating them with lucrative salaries.
 
After the loss of major superstars to Packers World Series, the International Cricket Council folded and embraced the legitimacy of the World Series. A true puppeteer it may seem but it took one man to make the world see what can really be done with the game of cricket!
 
Three people who have created milestones in the game of cricket! We salute their use of knowledge and cricket genius to keep an ancient game alive in the modern era!