Cricket World Cup 2011 which is going to held in Cricket Crazy Sub – Continent is just around the corner and every team is about to ready to have their best shot at the title and at least 8 out of 9 Test Playing Nations would love to have their hand after 12 long years, because since 1999 its been Australia all the way. So let’s talk briefly about all the possible candidates for the World Cup.
Players to watch out for: Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson, Brett Lee and Cameron White
The mighty Australians will start another World Cup defense on 21st February against Zimbabwe. The Australian team much like any other team is suffering from injury problems and miss the likes of Hussey and Hauritz who could not make it to last 15 due to injury problems. Captain Ricky Ponting and Deputy Michal Clark have been out of form lately but just clicked at the right time during the warm-up matches. Australia has the services of amazing pace attack including Lee, Tait, Bollinger and Johnson. In the form Shane Watson they have one of the leading Batting All-Rounder in their team. Australia has a serious problem in their spin department with just one regular spinner Jason Kareza in their ranks. Their lower order lacks stability with the absence of MR. Cricket Michal Hussey, and that’s why Cameron White has more responsibility than ever before, but by any means that does not mean he is not capable to deal with it, time and again he showed the world what he is capable of. All in all a decent batting line up, amazing pace attack, ordinary spin department and as usual great in the fielding, Australia might find it hard to win it as easily as they did in the past 2 World Cups.
Players to watch out for: Shakib-Al-Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Ashraful and Abdur Razzak
The Bengal Tigers finally have a very good chance of stealing the big stage. With their ever so dependable Captain Shakib-ul-Hassan, good spin department and a good form in their home country in the recent past give their fans something good to hope for. They might not be the one who can Win the World Cup, or have a serious shot at the title but they are for sure someone who can spoil the party for others. The explosive players like Tamim Iqbal, Muhammad Ashraful and Junaid Siddique, reliable players like Shakib-Al-Hassan and Shehriar nafees, a good fielding side, a very good spin department though lack in the pace department gives Bangladesh a real chance to surprise teams at the World.
Players to watch out for: Graeme Swan, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Peterson and James Anderson
The ashes winners, the T-20 World Champions are one of the hot favorite teams to arrive in the World Cup. Though they had a pretty torrid time in the One-Day series after the ashes win, still they are one of the strongest teams to arrive in the World Cup due to their brilliant display in the limited over version over the past 12 months. Exclusion of Eoin Morgan due to fracture is no doubt a big loss to England’s cause but with the likes of Strauss, Trott, Bell and Kevin Peterson all in pretty decent form, All Rounder’s like Bresnan, Yardy, Collingwood and Luke Wright, Spin Maestro like Swan who is probably the best spinner in the world right now, good seem attack including Broad, Anderson and Shehzad who have the ability to take wickets at crucial time surely gives England more than just a chance to Win their first ICC WORLD CUP giving they will stay injury free throughout the tournament.
Players to watch out for: Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Yusuf Pathan, Zaheer Khan
The no.1 Test team of the World, undoubtedly the strongest Batting Line-up in the World. Some say they are too strong that they find it too hard to even select their playing 11. India nearly has everything covered according to their prospective but somehow I disagree with that. India have a serious problem with their bowling department because one would find it difficult to find a genuine match winner apart from Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan, though their this deficiency have always been covered by great leadership qualities of Dhoni, amazing Batting line-up that includes the likes of Sachin, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan, Raina and Kolhli, and amazing management that includes a great Cricketing brain of Gary Kirsten. As a cricket follower I would love to see other bowlers like Munaf Patel, Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla and Ravichandran Arshiwin to put their hand up and make India a complete team and it would not be a great surprise if India will be a crowned Champion after 2nd April 2011.
Players to watch out for: Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills
The Black Caps are going through one of the bad patch of their Cricketing history. Even still Black Caps have some potential match winners with the likes of Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder, experience players like Scott Styris, Jacob Oram, a very intelligent Captain in the face of Daniel Vettori who is one world-class spinner as everyone knows about it. Their bowling apartment do lack some genuine match winners but its decent enough for One-Day side with the likes of experienced Kyle Mills, youngsters like Tim Southee and Hamish Bennett, and a pretty decent spinners in the face of Vettori and Nathan McCullum. Their team management is new in their ranks but not short of any experience with the services of World Cup Finalist coach John Wright and a bowling coach in the face of veteran South African Bowler Alan Donald. In all, no one is rating Black Caps as one of the contenders for the title but they surely have the fire power to unsettle some of the big guns to become a big surprise for everyone.
Players to watch out for: Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Misbah-ul-Haq and Ahmad Shehzad
The Un-Predictable, Controversy Favorite, and exciting team to watch for. Pakistan have everything that it takes for someone to be a fan of Pakistan team. One can expect them to be an absolute Champion one day, and then the other day they can lose to a non-test playing nation. It’s even a surprise for most people how can Pakistan team looks like one of the most balanced team in the Tournament after what ever happened to them over the past 12 months. Even after the absence of 4 of their main players, 3 due to ban’s from ICC after the spot fixing scandal and 1 because of non-clearance from the PCB, they still look on the paper as one of the most strongest teams in the tournament. They are the perfect balance of youth and experience who have the ability to win any match. The pacers like Shoaib, Wahab Riaz and Umer Gul have the ability to dismiss any batting line up in the world. Spin department is full of variety with the likes of full time spinners like Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman, Spin explosive all-rounders like Shahid Afridi and Muhammad Hafeez, have the services of some of the cleanest hitters in the World Cricket with the likes of Abdur Razzaq, Umer Akmal, Kamran Akmal and Ahmad Shehzad while Misbah and Younis Khan provide stability to the unit. All in all one dangerous bunch of players who if play as a unit, then they can surely turn in to a serious contender for the title.
Republic of South Africa:
Players to watch out for: Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Ab De-Villiers, and Dale Steyn
The famous tag of “CHOKERS” is with South African team ever since they came back to the International Cricket in 1990’s. They have a bad history of choking at the wrong time and at every big stage. Even then on the paper South Africa is one of the 3 most top favorite teams to lift the World Cup and that is just due to their near Perfect team. They have every department covered with excellence, with the likes of the leader Graeme Smith, De-Villiers, Jp Duminy, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis make their batting look as strong as any other team. Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Tsotsbe, and Wayne Parnell make them one of the best pace attack in the tournament if not the best. Joan Botha, Robin Peterson, and Imran Tahir complete a very good spin department as well. They are undoubtedly one of the strongest fielding side in the tournament. In short, South Africa have everything at their disposal that is required to be a World Champion, but only time will tell if they will be successful in removing the “CHOKERS” tag this time or not.
Players to watch out for: Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga, Kumar Sangakara and Muralitharan
The 1996 Champions, Sri Lankan team is for me the most balanced team in this tournament but not many people will agree with me. They have all the essence that is required to be the Champion of Champions. Be it the most amazing mind in cricket of Captain and former captain, Sangakara and Jayawardene, or be at the explosive style of batsmen likes of Dilshan and Kapugedera. Be it the spin master class of Murli, Mendis and Herath or be it the most lethal new ball and old ball bowlers in the face of Kulusekra and Malinga. Be it the reliability of Samaraweera and Chamara Silva or be it one of the top all-rounder in the game like Angelo Mathews. All in all, there is no doubt that Sri Lanka have all it takes to be up there at the top on 2nd of April with the trophy in their hands and at least I am sure not many people will be shocked about it.
Players to watch out for: Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kemar Roch and Pollard
Apart from the Black Caps, West Indies do also have one of the weakest team in the tournament but due to their rich history no one will want to count them out. They surely have a pretty decent side that can upset one on a given day but they lack the fire power to go all the way and lift the trophy. Likes of Gayle, Bravo, Chanderpaul, Pollard, Roch are a bunch of good players and potentially match winners as well, but their recent history does not show much hopes for their fans. They have to play as a unit to get any success and their Captain Sammy has to lead from the front to get the team united and make them fight for everything.
In the end after talking about all the major teams of the tournament, I can easily say that this World Cup will be one of the most open World Cup at least in the past decade with nearly 6-7 test playing nations have a chance to win the World Cup which is very healthy for the sports itself. Though the format is long and it is as such that it surely minimized the chance for any new comers to go through the quarter finals, but it also ensures the fans that the later stages of the tournament will have intense battle between the big guns of the tournament which is going to keep the interest of the cricket lovers all over the world.