Anyone (if at all), who's a regular at this blog - Nah, me not shifting domain from tech to sports and cricket, but the postings here would comprise of tech stuff along with sports et al. Organize the stuff that you are interested in using the labels. Thanks.
With the Cup being exactly a couple of months away, and such a lot of hoopla goin' on with the 30 men provisional squads being announced every other day by various teams across the world (what the heck, they r just.. what, 13, yeah - countin' the teams like Bermuda, et al), much comes to mind as to who's gonna take the sweepstakes. A common unbiased proposition would be the Aussies for sure, with the kind of cricket they have played, elevating the game to an entire different level.
But then one day cricket is like sweepstakes, ain't it? Things do go wrong at times, though only 'at times'.
Aussies - Mate, they are the best. I have no doubts at all, that Hayden and GilChrist are gonna open, and with the exception of Damien Martyn their batting order looks pretty much the same as they were in 2003. Well, but for Mr. Cricket a.k.a Michael Hussey. Now I don't need to say much about him. With a stunning average of 77 odd in 46 games, I am not sure that Martyn is gonna be missed. There might be some talks of getting in Phil Jacques to open, but I really don't think he can replace Matt Hayden right now. The bowling department, well nothing needs to be said 'bout Glen McGrath, a proven genius with the red/white cherry. But for me the trump card's gonna be Stuart Clark and Nathan Bracken. Clark might show an avg of 33 odd in ODIs, but make no mistake, at times the line and length with the ability to pitch the bowl on the seam - that he has displayed in the middle overs would probably prove very crucial when the batsmen are looking to accelerate.
Nathan Bracken has been a revelation, especially with his ability to run the fingers on the ball with the wicket keeper standing up. The lanky left armer has a brilliant average of 20.33 in ODIs, at a strike rate of 27. A slight tweak back into memory lane should play this fact - he took 5 for 67, in which the South Africans chased 434.
POINTS - 9.5/10 -- wouldn't be ethical to give 10/10
Sri Lankans - The lions are roaring again. They were all gone for no money a couple of yrs back but then have since shown tremendous resilience under Mahela Jayawardene. A 5 nil drubbing for England in the away series marked the beginning of the purple patch for them. I still feel they were a little complacent in the Champions Trophy, but they they would have learnt it by now. A great showing in New Zealand in both the tests and ODIs should augur well for them. The batting is exemplary with the top order comprising of Sanath Jayasuriya, Tharanga and the super sublime Sangakkara. The way Jayasuriya has rocked back into form probably should be seen by our own Master Blaster. Tharanga has been getting increasingly solid with every outing.
Sangakkara for me is probably the most elegant batsman in contemporary cricket. Left handers have this tendency of being elegant, but this bloke takes it to a new level. The bowling with Vaas and Murali is probably the most lethal combination right now. Add to that Lasitha Malinga, well his slings are giving problems a plenty to the batsmen.
POINTS - 8.0/10 - The reason why I feel SL is gonna do well, is coz of the nature of Carribean
wickets. Slow and low bounce, well what else do they need?
South Africans - It looks as though they have taken over the tag of being 'unpredictable' from Pakistan. In the home series against Australia, they once shot the might champions for 93, and then chased a mammoth 434 in that incredible match. Worthy at the cup, one might say. But a sad display in the series against Australia down-under didn't do them any good. And if anyone's saying that their 4-0 drubbing of the Indians should put them under serious contention - I am still not sure. With a fragile batting order at the top (read Gibbs, Smith), it will be huge test for Jacques Kallis to carry SA in almost every match. The trump card in this team for me is A B DeVilliers - a class act, who's probably a touch short in temperament. A couple of words from Michael Bevan would probably do him a world of good. Needless to say, his fielding abilities are probably a touch higher than most australians, if not all. Moreover, the Africans have to think about how to get their 30 overs bowled without conceding too many. Yeah, I took the other 20 from Ntini and Pollock out. But I have my reservations against the likes of Nel and co. - am not sure but the likes of Ponting and GilChrist would probably be touch too good for them.
POINTS - 7/10
Indians - I have no clue about them. The team's in a critical state right now, but history says that India has done well in the world cup whenever they have been in mess just before it. Interesting, huh? Well have a look at the '83 Cup and the '03 Cup. The wickets should suit them, but then the 1-4 drubbing earlier this year against the regrouping West Indies was unnecessary.
Tendulkar looks pretty much out of sorts, but we still bank on him to come out well in the big league. Dravid looks a bit tattered too and the bruises of South Africa tour will haunt him for a while. The team is still isn't sure about their batting order, with the likelyhood of Sehwag playing and doin' well being a complicated mathematical equation, the result of which somehow always tends to zero. Ganguly makes a comeback, but that doesn't solve a lot of questions. Middle order is also fragile with Dhoni not havin' the best of years with the bat. Yuvraj Singh was in sublime form early last year, but that still remains to be seen as to how will he cope up with the rigours of international cricket after his injury. Bowling also looks pretty critical, but with the re-emergence of Zaheer Khan, there might be a bit of hope.
POINTS - 6/10 - Arguably the most versatile, talented team on the circuit, it still remains to be seen if they can get their act together. The pitches should suit them and going with a bit of history, a 6 pointer shouldn't be unjustified.