Saturday, February 5, 2011

World Cup Game Changers

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This has been a dull couple of weeks cricket-wise. A few ODI series winding down, but none really indicating anything more than what's already known. Australia refuses to be written off. They have combined well against England. The latter are the strangest team of the lot. They are T20 Champions and just thrashed Australia in the Ashes. But they appear to be an ODI dud. It's hard to imagine England suddenly becoming ODI World Cup contenders.

Australia's game changer is Brett Lee. Even though Shane Watson is going to be the bulwark of the team, Lee's experience of the Indian conditions, plus his obvious enjoyment when playing in front of Indian spectators makes him a serious threat to opposing teams. Steve Waugh identifies him as the key to Australia's fortunes and I agree.

England's game changer is Pietersen. Unfortunately, he's not turning it on off late and that's got to hurt England's chances as well as the spectators. Pietersen on song is devastating and spectacular to watch. For the World Cup's sake, I hope he fires a few times.

Pakistan will depend on Abdul Razzaq to turn games on their head. They are by far the most dangerous team in the tournament. They have always played ODIs very well in India and there is no reason to believe that they can be walked over. They have good sub-continental warriors in Tanvir, Gul, Afridi and Razzaq in their side.

Sri Lanka's key is going to be Angelo Matthews. He is a superb all round talent and will be key to their fortunes.

Dwayne Bravo will be important for the West Indies. He has good temperament, but still needs a big stage to fully emerge. There have been pockets of brilliance from him, but too often he has not followed up with consistent performances. This world cup can be his claim to greatness.

New Zealand unfortunately have no one they can count on. Despite Vettori, Ryder, Taylor and McCullum being in the side, I can't see them doing anything spectacular on a consistent basis.

For South Africa, it's got to be ABDV. This a rock solid team, but needs someone who can burst open the game at its seams. AB is in good form and has played tremendous cricket lately.

And finally for India, I nominate Gautam Gambhir. No good reason. Just gut feel. Gambhir has got to deliver in game after game if India are to win this World Cup.


Govind Raj said...

Good post.

Being played in the later half of a long winter in India, Dale Steyn will be the man for Saffers.

Morgan will be the key to England's fortunes.

After a dismal series in India, Ross Taylor will be keen to prove he what can be. I believe it will be a gross mistake to write off Kiwis.

Any one of their chosen 11 can change the game for Pakistan. But in the current form he is in and with his dedication to see a better future for Pak Cricket, it could be Misbah.


Like it or not, India will depend on the oldest man in their team. He will not go without a last blast !

Freehit said...

For Australia, Shane Watson could also be the X-factor.

For India, my gut feeling is Zaheer Khan, but my mind says Virender Sehwag.

I agree with Matthews, Pietersen and Steyn though.

Tees Maar Khan said...

For India, Yusuf will be the x-factor. He will need to perform when the opening falters.

Golandaaz said...

For India, I think it will be Yuvraj Singh. Both with the bat and the ball.

I also think West Indies are a team to watch. I think they will cause some significant upsets both in the group stage and in the knock out stages.

If their spinners come good they can upset all pre tournament calculations