Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Season Finale

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Over the next 7 weeks, cricket will allow it most traditional format to take center stage. Staggered over those weeks will be 2 series that will have all the "context" traditionalists crave for.  At the end of it there may well be a new Ashes winner and a new champion for Test cricket. And even if the trophies don't change hands there will be much to celebrate.

4 of the top 5 teams will compete in 8 mouth watering tests. 3 of those tests, in climax, will be over the holidays in parallel. Sri Lanka at number 3 has long been a one trick pony and unless they learn to win consistently without Murali, their matches will fail to invoke global interest.

For Australia, a team that has been on the decline and yet not embarked on a full scale rebuilding, a lot is at stake. Failing to regain the ashes will potentially mean full scale remodeling. Winning the Ashes will mean career extensions and legacy enhancements to an ageing batting lineup and an ageing captain. But its hard to see how Australia will win, even when conventional wisdom is never to doubt Australia in Australia.

England's build up to the Ashes has been picture perfect. Their away record, a criticism usually reserved for India, is not. With just 2 series wins away from home in the past 5 years in New Zealand and Bangladesh, holding on to the Ashes will require a combination of English resolve, Australian under performance, good weather and luck.

South Africa are a team forever flirting with greatness but turning in "cold feats" at the very last step. They will have to win big against India, something that is not entirely beyond them to claim the champion spot. Their racial history seldom allows them to compete with the best X1 but even so, of the 4 teams they have the resources to come out on top. They, along with England have the best fast bowling resources, a spinner that troubles Sachin Tendulkar and a batting line up with the ability and hunger that can match India's

India's rise to the top has been steady. It is no secret that Australia sudden decline and South Africa's inability to win at home has contributed much towards India gaining the top spot. Yet prejudiced opinions, question the ICC ranking instead. India in the last decade has only found South Africa hard to beat consistently. In that sense, South Africa is India's "Final Frontier". India are well positioned to exploit South Africa's recent weakness at home. Holding on to the number one spot even after failing to conquer the final frontier (which is possible) will be hollow.

Once the adults have made the major decisions, the stage can be opened up for the entertainers to decide the ODI and IPL champs


Vidooshak said...

Nicely set up. I can't wait for things to get started.

Vidooshak said...

Well Siddle just crushed England's spirit. It's looking like it's going to be 5-0 again...What bowling!!