ICC World Cup 2011 - Part 1
Every cricketing nation would want its hands around the golden trophy. For the past twelve years the trophy has been down under, beyond anyone else's reach. Now is the best chance for the rest of the teams to grab it from them. It is not going to be an easy task. With the newcomers promising to upset the promising teams, we can hope for a roller coaster ride. The first of the biggest upsets came in a world cup came in 1983 when India beat the West Indies. Since then cricket had a new era where anyone can win the world cup till the 1999 world cup. Since the '99 WC Australians have never let go of the trophy. All credit must go to them for taking the bar to a new level altogether. For twelve years they've looked invincible. Now there is a ray of hope for the other teams as well. The big boys of Australia will not be playing this time, but the new fellas can be a handful on their day. Playing in the subcontinent will bring their memories of a world cup where the Sri Lankans beat them hands down. At the moment almost the test playing nations including Bangladesh seem to be competing pretty closely, although I doubt whether Bangladesh can lift the trophy.
Good pitches can bring the difference between the teams even closer. The team that bowls and fields will obviously have the upper hand in this tournament. The present England team looks the best since the inception of the concept of WC. If it can get its act together, this can be their first time. New Zealand have been out of form for a long term but the black caps can turn it around on their day. Sri Lanka have played good cricket in the recent past and this being Murali's last would want it to go out with the trophy. Pakistan like always can never be predicted and it is upto their senior players, read Afridi, Razzaq and Akthar, and the way they help the youngsters, They definitely are world beaters but are not consistent. West Indies, only a shadow of their past, now have a pretty decent team. If Pollard, Gayle and Bravo can be consistent, they might make it.
South Africa have been playing extremely well and their fielding will be their biggest advantage. They would want to grab their first WC and erase all the bitter Kangaroo bites of the '99 WC. They haven't tasted much success in the World Cups and would desperately want to kiss the golden trophy.
Having all said and done, in my opinion the world cup is up for grabs for the Indians. India's bowling will be a huge worry for them and will depend heavily on Zaheer and Harbhajan. India's advantage lies in their batting and home pitches. If the Indian top order recover in time then the Sehwag Sachin duo can blast any team out of the WC but this will need the backing of their bowlers and their fielders. India's recent find Yusuf will give Pollard a run for his money. It will be interesting to see who hits the most number of sixes. Sachin would want the ICC WC 2011 to stay with him in India.
The talking point of the world cup is that except Pakistan none of the teams have more than two match winning bowlers. So this world cup will depend on the bowling and fielding capabilities more than anything else. The problem with Pakistan is their team politics and inconsistency. India will have home advantage and an astonishing line up of stroke players and it is all theirs to chase the WC dream of a billion fans. Once again this cannot be done without good bowling and fielding.
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