Another Cricket World Cup comes to the fans, and the Indian team is going to Australia with that ridiculous and selfish motto “We won’t give it back!” as if it has been made the private property of BCCI after stealing it from someone else. This is the season of those fake patriots and new age nationalists who are going to temporarily love their country until this tournament is over. This is also the season of the abusers who are waiting to abuse the players from other countries and some of them might have even got a whole book of abuse ready for the process. Not having a look here means no patriotism and so I will have a look at the chances here.
1. Australia: The bigger one among the hosts missed out on making a four out of four because the last World Cup was held in the sub continent. This competition at their place makes things so easy for them, as we have seen how well they did in the last tournament involving three teams in total. They have fine batting power, deadly bowling and the strength of some of the best all-rounders. When you look at the Australian team, you can say that this is an excellent group of players, something that you never expected when players like Gilchrist, Hayden and Ponting were gone. They might also be having a strong emotional side this time due to the comrade that they lost. Steven Smith will be the key, and even when he is not, there will be someone else on fire – if one man won’t score a century, another one will.
2. India: With an amazing partnership from Dhoni and Srinivasan alienating most of the educated Indian cricket fans, the team still have so much firepower with the batting even as flat-track bullies in the team cannot be trusted. But the batting should click heavily at some point. By avoiding the services of Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh, the experience factor disappeared and so did a lot of fans. Another big mistake was committed by not including Robin Uthappa and Varun Aaron. But still with BCCI controlling most the ICC and as most of the cricket fans are in India, some special treatment should be given to the Indian team or team BCCI. If you look at the points table, India can easily finish second in their group and Sri Lanka third in theirs, thus making sure that India won’t have to defeat a good non-Asian team till semi-finals – that is a relatively easy path.
3. South Africa: With the official chokers tag, they have somehow managed to loss all the matches which they should have won. With always having a nice team, they have never been to the final and it is a shame. But, things can change this time. AB de Villiers will be a big problem for the opposition and the key player along with Hashim Amla, as the rest of the teams will have to wait an eternity to have both of these players out of form. But it is also a batting line-up that can go deeper, and then there is Dale Steyn and team that can boast of being one of the best bowling line-ups of this World Cup. This might be their time – they should be ready. They can only be given the third best chance due to their history and reputation.
4. New Zealand: Here is another team which has played too many semi-finals, but the engine stops there. Well, even Kenya has been to the semi-finals of a World Cup. This time, they also come to the World Cup as co-hosts, and this is a situation which they should use to their best advantage. The neve-ending form of the young star Kane Williamson and the experienced Ross Taylor can bring fear into the minds of the opposition. Then, everyone also know what Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson are capable of – total annihilation. With no shortage of the all-round skills and the bowling that can use the conditions well, the black caps should consider this their best chance ever.
5. Sri Lanka: For Sri Lanka, the young captain and the nice finisher Angelo Mathews will be the key along with the experienced Sangakkara-Jayawardane-Dilshan combination and the Malinga power. The middle order might be depending too much on Sangakkara and Jayawardane, but they should deliver enough. When there is the need, Thisira Perera should fire too. People are surely going to under-estimate this team, and it is going to be their strengths. They have been finalists for too many occasions, and it is time that they clinch a World Cup. I hope they make use of the opportunity this time – they have been one of my favourite teams.
6. England and Pakistan: Along with England, I was going to put West Indies here, and then I looked at that team, suddenly shifting to Pakistan. They also have a slight chance here, and for that Shahid Afridi has to play a big role along with the talented youngsters. It surely has a better chance than a remotely possible Gayle Storm. England can do well at these conditions as they have proved, but nothing much can be said. About United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Afghanistan, Scotland, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, I have no idea why they are playing other than to increase the total number of teams and to give runs to the major teams. But I hope these teams prove me wrong, especially Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Ireland.
*The images used in this blog post are from the official Facebook Page of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.