The 12th edition of Crickets mega event ICC World Cup 2019 takes off in the mother country of Cricket England and Wales in about a week’s time. Billions of adoring cricket admirers across the cricket world is already caught up with cricket fever.
Franchise based T20 cricket and media made cricket a global event. Experts, analysts, former players are discussing about the prospects of every team. Will the reigning champions Australia (Crickets Brazil) make it HEXA, can the mother country host England prove lucky for the first time? Can India with strongest team in their history repeat the feat of Kapil’s great team of 193? Can South Africa erase its status of Choker Whether new generation West Indies can bring back the memories of their Golden past? Few even talk about unpredictable genius Pakistan making its charismatic Prime Minister Imran Khan proud again.
Bangladesh is tagged as dark horse of tournament. New Zealand even cannot be counted off. Actually 6-7 teams in this world cup are evenly balanced for making the tournament most competitive even contest. English weather in May June is far more comfortable for all teams especially the teams from South Asia. ICC is expected to produce sporting wickets giving even chances to quality batsmen and bowlers. Every one is looking forward to mouth watering contests.
Not to be compared with soccer yet cricket is the second religion in South Asian Countries India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Alongside these four SAARC countries, Afghanistan has also joined the 10 nations' tournament. Hence the euphoria in South Asia is seen to believe. Australia, England, South Africa, New Zealand are the other five teams participating in the tournament.
Off the past thirteen occasions Australia won it five times, West Indies twice (the first two when it used to played in whites and known as Prudential World Cup), India won twice, Pakistan and Sri Lanka won once. England, South Africa, New Zealand and Bangladesh never won it. Afghanistan is participating for the second time. They have some impact players and expected to make few surprises.
World Cup Finals
Countries Final Winner Loser
Australia 7 1987,1999, 2003, 2007, 2015 1975,1986
India 3 1983, 2011 1987
West Indies 3 1975, 1979 1983
Sri Lanka 3 1996 2007, 2011
Pakistan 2 1992 1999
England 3 ……… 1979, 1987, 1992
New Zealand 1 ……… 2015
Australia in cricket like Brazil in soccer has won the world cup 5 times out of 7 finals it appeared. Australia possess a very strong all round team and is among the favorites for the top honors yet again. Very strong India won the cup twice appearing in the final on three occasions. According to many India is considered the strongest team of the tournament. The golden generation of West Indies Cricket won the first two version of the cricket world cup. Since losing surprisingly in the final of third world cup in 1983 West Indies cricket dipped low.
This time they had to appear in the qualifying tournament. Possessing some very high quality impact players West Indies may cause few upsets in this year’s tournament. Sri Lanka had some wonderful cricketers in the past. Appearing in three finals they won at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore in 1996, but lost to Australia in 2007 and 2011. Imran Khan’s cornered tigers Pakistan won it in 1992 at MCG beating England. But a very strong Pakistan lost the final at Lords in 1999 against Australia. Mother country England hosted the world cup 4 times in the past, appeared in the finals three times but lost every time. New Zealand lost to Australia in the final at MCG in 2015. Surprisingly very strong South Africa always promising to dig deep failed to appear in any final.
Appearing for the first time in 1999, Bangladesh surprised many beating strong Pakistan. In 2007 they knocked out strong India and won against South Africa. The four movers and shakers of 2011 Mashrafe, Tamim, Shakib and Mushfique are still playing and would be a reason for Bangladesh being considered the dark horse of the tournament. Afghanistan in recent times made giant strides. Few world class players like Rashid Khan, Mujibur Rahaman and Mohammad Nabi rocks T20 franchise cricket round the world; they are expected to cause few upsets.
ICC Ranking (ODI)
Ranks Team Points
South Africa 115
New Zealand 113
West Indies 77
Sri Lanka 76
Ranking often prove misleading. Host England, reigning champion Australia, strong India are expected to move into top four playing business as usual cricket. 10 teams would play against one another in initial round and top four will appear in the semi finals. Teams playing consistent quality cricket would go through.
Many think that the championship that eluded them so far may embrace them this time. Their recent performance against Pakistan gave strong warning to others that English batsmen are at the peak of their carrier. Root, Curran, Roy, Morgan, Bairstow, Buttler, Stokes, Moeen Ali can blast any attack on their known surfaces. They can chase even 400 with their explosive top order, blasters at middle and late order. They also have good enough pace attack and spinners. Plunket, Wood, Woakes know at what length to bowl on English wicket, Stokes, Woakes and Moeen are good all rounders. Adil Rashid and Moeen are good spinners.
English Squad: Eoin Morgan , Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dowson, Liam Plunket, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.
India with strong batting and great bowling attack, very crafty all rounder is another team which will make another crack for the top honor. Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli , Rahul ,Kartik are class acts , Vijay Shankar, H Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav and Jadeja have useful all round abilities . One MS Dhoni can turn the tide. Bhubaneswar, Sami and Bumrah would prove penetrative with pace bowling, Chahal, Jadeja and Jadhav would play the tricks with the spins. But the only problem of India may be adjusting quickly to English condition coming fresh from hot humid Indian condition. But all were involved playing very competitive IPL. It is to be seen whether VK led India can match great Kapil Dev’s feat in 1983.
Indian Squad: Viral Kohli (capt), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav.
As Brazil remains favorite for winning soccer world cup any time, so does Australia in cricket. Both have won it 5 times. Both appear in HEXA mission. Following scandals in South Africa tour leading to suspension of Smith, Warner and Bankcroft Australian cricket dipped for a while. But the team having great depth and diversity bounced back beating India in India and Pakistan in their adopted home in UAE.
Warner and Smith are back in the squad, Australia again looking great again for the championship. Warner and Smith were in usual flamboyant form in IPL. They were looking good in warm up matches against Kiwis in Brisbane too. Captain Flinch and top order batsman Usman Khawaja are also in great nick. World is aware of the potential of Maxwell, Stoninis and Marsh. In Starc, Cummins, Coulter–Nile, Richardson and Behrendorf Australia possibly possess the best pace attack at the moment. Zampa and Lyon are also above average spinners. Australia looks set to defend it title and earn HEXA.
Australian Squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Teams those are tipped to join the top three are Pakistan, New Zealand, and South Africa. Many consider Bangladesh having the most experienced team in the world cup as dark horse of the tournament. Cannot rule out the possibility of always unpredictable West Indies also. We will discuss other teams in a second write up.
BDST: 1716 HRS, MAY 22, 2019