Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cricket World Cup 2015 Preview - Part 1

Hardly 3 days left to the beginning of another edition of Cricket World Cup (CWC). Almost after 23 years, the WC is returning to Australia/New Zealand soils. I fondly remember the 1992 edition of WC, the first time a CWC was played in colored clothes. As a matter of fact, I still feel the jerseys designed during the 1992 edition are the best so far. It would have been fantastic, if the current WC is also played in the same format as the 1992 edition with the same jersey template except for different colors adopted by teams currently. Back then, 9 teams played against each other one time. The top 4 qualified for Semi Finals. And, India did not make it. India had a horrid WC’92 except for beating Pakistan. Javed Mianded mocking Kiran More was a funny incident.

Other memories include, Ajay Jadeja running forward, bending down to snap a low one near ankles was a visual treat. Indians were not great fielders those days and India largely fielded a very young side then. Mark Greatbatch as pinch hitting opener for New Zealand was a huge success. For the first time I witnessed a spinner (Dipak Patel) bowling with the new ball. India tried pinch hitter by sending Kapil Dev to open the batting with Srikanth. That move backfired though. Also Jonty Rhodes running out of Inzamam was classic. And of course nobody can forget the infamous England win over South Africa on D/L method. It was a pity South Africa lost the match when rain intervened and D/L target read 22 runs of 1 ball as final equation. That South Africa exit felt very painful at that time. And then they went onto become chokers is a different story.

So, CWC in Australia/New Zealand certainly brings back fond memories of the earlier edition. Memories are always fond, for now we will move on. 

Most of the teams are currently working out combinations both in the warm up matches and also in recently played ODIs prior to WC.

From my perspective let’s see what are everyone chances.


India is probably the most advantageous side after the hosts Australia and New Zealand. They have been playing here for the past 2 months or so, certainly well acclimatized to conditions. Also there is not too much of face change between the Test and ODI side, which means they are much settled squad. In terms of India’s chances, I will be elated if India could even make it to the Semi Finals. I’ve no idea why selectors are backing Dhawan this far. It would have made more sense to have in-form Vijay over Dhawan in the side and Yuvraj over Jadeja (considering Yuvi has been doing reasonably well in the ongoing Ranji season). But then, it is difficult to pick selectors brains. At the outset, it looks like Rohit and Rahane will open and Dhawan deserves axe. Kohli should/will go back to his No.3 slot. In the warm up match over Afghanistan, India played Raina at 4. It looked good ploy with a left hander coming at 4 especially, if Dhawan not playing. Rayudu could fit at No.5, while Dhoni, Jadeja/Axar, Ashwin, Binny/Bhuvi, Yadav, Shami/Mohit to follow. The World is looking forward to Kohli, but I strongly punt on Rohit Sharma to rock and roll this WC.

India is positioned in Pool B alongside South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan, UAE, Ireland and Zimbabwe. India is expected to come second or third in the group. They would prefer to come second as they could avoid facing Australia/New Zealand in the QF. In that event of India coming second in the pool means India is likely to take on Sri Lanka or England depending on who finishes 3 in the other pool. If India plays Sri Lanka in QF, then it is advantage India. If India faces England, then the recent outings against England in the tri-series don’t augur well.

By any means, I don’t see this Indian team having enough ammo to get past SF. Thanks to the resources of the bowling department, certainly not very convincing for a cup winning side. Also prefer to see a strong match winning candidate like Yuvraj/Sehwag at No.4. Dhoni can step in at No.4 and take that role, but then India will lack a finisher. Guys like Jadeja and Binny dont have that caliber to be a finisher in these Australian conditions.

Personally I would rejoice if India gets past QF. If India fails to make it to QF, Dhoni retires from all forms of cricket.

PS: This blog was started during 2011 WC. We survived 4 years now. 


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