As most die- hard Cricket fans cast their eyes upon the upcoming World Cup, The bookies too are probably licking their lips in anticipation of the prospect. They too must be finding it hard to decide as to whom they will put their money on and for some well their eyes are seeing opportunities elsewhere maybe on less ostentatious details that will occur at games that are between the minnows which this time around include the likes of Netherlands, Ireland, Canada and Kenya who will once again be trying to rid themselves of the ” whipping boys” title that non test playing nations are imbued in. My caveat to the big teams would in retrospect be what Ireland did to Pakistan in the last installment. The memory of that tournament conjures up memories of the death of Bob Woolmer the morning after that seismic loss. The ignominious match fixing and bookies not ruining another tournament is what ICC head Haroon Lorgat and his colleagues are probably worried about but its not as if the ICC are in cahoots with these people which brings one to this sad but true conclusion that it could once again rear its ugly head. Needless to say though Ireland did not make any further upsets in that tournament, Except maybe to the viewers because of their outlandish celebrations that would transpire after getting a wicket.
On the 19th of February another tournament is coming to a sub-continent town and will showcase possibly the most adoring fans of the game. This tournament though has been touted as a 3-game tournament in that it will emulate the 1996 tournament one would be forgiven for thinking it’s less about skill and consistency and more of luck on the day unlike the Super Eight tournaments of 1999, 2003 and 2007.Most of the cricketing world though is probably elated that the equipollent Aussies are nowhere as pernicious as they were in 2007 and 2003. Teams will be hoping Michael “Pup” Clarke and his boys can have an off day very early in the tournament and be ousted, this underestimating of the Aussies though could be everyone else’s downfall. Should the Aussies have an early exit this would probably leave India, England, South Africa and Sri Lanka ready to hoist the trophy. The sub-continent which is a spinner’s haven has been the subject of many conversations and it has been quite a focal point when it comes to team selections. You will remember that Sri Lanka won it the last time it was held in the sub-continent with Sanath Jayasuriya being Man of the Series Sri Lanka should also fancy their chances as they have been in good form.Their bowling attack did not have the most fear inducing bowlers and they were sufficient. This means that a make shift spinner can be dangerous in the conditions this is why sub-continent teams stand in very high stead of being the ultimate victors come the 2nd of April.
Locally we know how Imraan Tahir has been on the tip of everyone’s lips as to when will he get his debut as he could be a very critical part of the Proteas as his experience especially in the sub-continent could succor South Africa’s cause for their maiden winning of the World Cup. Whether his services will be implemented in the warm up games against the Windies and Aussies is still quite an enigma. This has been quite a thorny issue and to an extent what could be unfavourable to him would be Graeme Smith unique alacrity to his inclusion saying that he is not necessarily the panacea to South Africa’s spin bowler woes.
Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and Pakistan make the rest of the teams. These teams are the mediocre ones who to some extent could cause a few upsets on their day, The Black Caps are a shadow of the team they were under Stephen Fleming and they have plummeted to a calibre of mediocrity especially now after their 11 game losing streak. The winners of the 92 World Cup Pakistan are far from the days of Javed Miandad and Imraan Kahn. They are quite under par and are going through a phase of re-building as the match-fixing gangrene has been dented their immensley