Saturday, March 26, 2011

Juicy Semi-Final Line ups

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The monetary health of cricket has been assured by this World Cup. What better semi-final line up than the three power-houses of the sub-continent to line up in the semi-finals. An India Pakistan semi-final or final is the dream of TV broadcasters world wide. Move over superbowl, an Indo-Pak semi-final or final is the ultimate. Should Sri Lanka get past New Zealand, a sub-continental team is assured of winning the World Cup. This is stating the obvious and I assure didn't take any genius on my part to figure out. The reason I even say it is because the death of the ODIs is now delayed. Golandaaz and I were both not huge fans of ODIs due to their becoming stale. But this world cup has definitely re-energized the format. However, sundry bilateral series still have no worth.

Coming to the games themselves, Sri Lanka's emphatic defeat of England was definitely an upset. While SL winning itself may not have been one, the manner of victory definitely is one. England fast depletion of first choice players showed in their inability to revive their innings or inflict any early damage on the Sri Lanka batsmen. Yardy would have been useful on this wicket and was missed. England's batting resembled New Zealand's yesterday. Trott hung in there gallantly and weathered difficult conditions for English batsmen. Sri Lanka has top class spinners who became extremely hard to get away on that wicket. While one could argue that the victory was "fixed" due to the conditions heavily favoring the home team, it's clear that England would not have been competitive anywhere else either except perhaps on a pure featherbed. Losing the firepower provided by Pietersen and Broad was going to be hard to overcome. The bowling was out of sorts without Broad's passion and the batting didn't really rise up to the level of "threatening". Neither Bopara nor Morgan were able to genuine break free.

Sri Lanka have secured home advantage for their game versus New Zealand, who under coach Wright seem to have figured something out. New Zealand has always been a good team despite not having super-stars. Right through the Hadlee, Martin Crowe era, there were very strong role players in Chatfield, Coney, Andrew Jones and Wright himself. This team has the most number of useful allrounders. None of them may rise to the skill level of Chris Cairns or Shane Watson, but on their day, they can excel in one of the two departments. Combine this with the team's fielding skills and New Zealand are very dangerous. What their wins against Pakistan and South Africa have shown is that they need one of their top line batsmen to dig in. In Ryder, Taylor, Guptill and McCullum, they have the capability. Hopefully, they have seen the light given how Ryder's innings pretty much dictated the course of the match.

Sri Lanka though will find it hard to apply their formula in Mumbai. Even though, they have played a game at Mumbai and won, it's difficult to see it succeed against Pakistan or India. But that preview will have to wait.

One must ask why English cricketers are more prone than others to reaction to stress. I don't blame the victims, but I definitely believe that it's harder to be an English celebrity than in any other place, given the culture. India is a hard place to grow up and one is toughened early and often. In England (and I'm no expert), it appears that the move to the limelight is very, very tough. My sympathies for Yardy, Trescothik and others who have had this happen.


Golandaaz said...

Vidoo, its not that England cricketers are more prone to these things. Its just that in the subcontinent we aren't even prepared to acknowledge that such things can happen to cricketers. I am sure Indian cricketers too succumb to these illnesses. We just call it lack of drive or didn't have what it takes to make it and move on to the next rising star.

Vidooshak said...

Or we call "lack of drive" and "inability to cope" an illness. I'm not sure which.