Thursday, 8 March 2007

World Cup 2007: Hopes And Expectations

I have lost count on the number of times I have been asked to predict the winner of the 2007 World Cup. Frankly, it looks like the most open event after the 1992 edition held in the Antipodes. Even then, Australia were tipped to retain their crown on current form and home advantage, but the hosts’ curse did not let go of its grip and the champions suffered.

On paper it looks like any of the top eight teams have a decent chance of laying hands on that exotic piece of silverware. But among the teams tipped to take the crown I would vouch for India to come up trumps. Patriotism might only be a part of the reason.

Frankly speaking, the expectations on India are not high if one goes by logical reasoning. So, what gives India a good chance in the ninth edition?

The wickets the teams are going to encounter in the Caribbean and the conditions to prevail is something Team India would feel more at home than any other country barring of course the host.

Anil and Harbhajan give the attack much-required balance. The biggest fallout could be the way the new ball is handled. Runs could leak when the ball is hard, and that could prove seminal in the final analysis. But if the seamers can strike a decent rhythm, India could well push every side to the wall.

Hardly do bowlers win over-specific cricket. India can be rest assured they have one of the strongest batting line-ups and, more importantly, one that is falling in place at the right moment to get the job done for them. A famous cricket writer-friend of mine called the WC squad the Desi version of dad’s army. He is right, without a trace of doubt, but the truth is the reserve tank did not promise enough runs and wickets at the grandest stage for the team to leave shores with fresher and fitter legs.

For the first time after 1999, Australia are not starting as outright favourites. The chinks were there for everyone to see, but to expose them, it needed a resurgent England and then New Zealand. Many have even put their money on the Proteas, but much like the Kiwis, they will find the going tough once the wickets start getting slower with more cricket played on them.

Given the team balance, conditions in the West Indies and the law of averages, I am afraid the most ‘open’ of all World Cups could well find its way to India. Well, the team that is going to represent you, me and the entire country is likely to hold aloft the trophy that has found only a singular owner till date. Mind you, it is not only my heart but also my head that says INDIA


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Many thanks to all those who’ve commented! Abhijit, I agree it’s a pity that Powar was excluded. Let’s not forget that Harbhajan’s call-up was a certainty, and that Powar’s exclusion is due to Kumble, and not Bhajji. He’s a good bowler who has unfortunately lost out to Kumble’s seniority and vast experience in international cricket. Bhupesh, the Aussies do have some fine qualities that make them the most threatening team. I see the Aussies as a team that can adapt the circumstances to suit their game: they don’t change their game and are always aggressive in all aspects of it. Their excellent system of nurturing young talent will always give Australia the upper hand in any tournament.

And frankly speaking, Srikar, I think VVS Laxman’s fielding capabilities were a big reason for his exclusion from this squad, as well as the particular conditions of this tournament. If the World Cup was being held in South Africa or Australia he would have been a surefire entrant.

17 comments:

vinay said...

I think the Indian Spinners will play a big part in winning the worlcup considering the conditions in WI.

vinay said...

I would like to say this is a superb blog , kuddos to Mr.Srikanth.

jay said...

While I agree with you on India being one of the pre-tournament favorites, most of the time fortunes change as the tournament progresses. I think the super eight round will clearly show who the favorites are!

abhishek bhatnagar said...

Well i just hope they win this time....my best wishes are with them.

cgull said...

Krish, it will be a great world cup, hope there are no rains, then there will be an exciting contests. I think Australia will win, as they say in US, unless somebody takes away the cup, they are the World Champions.

Anonymous said...

Krish,
This is what the more than a billion people residing in India want. But as Jay says, fortunes changes as the tournament progresses! Lets hope that our tigers satify the hunger of the billion people they are representing.

Peter said...

Australia went throught the same agony we went through when we toured Newzealand prior to the last world cup...It only made our boys more determined to get our hands on the 'silverware'before symonds single handedly destroyed that dream.
Here's wishing the boys good luck this time around...
Hope they dont come back as the (Grand)Dad's army.

Saju said...

Krish...
Your head has done well in the past when it comes to predictions! Hope this time you are right!

abhijit said...

Well. I don't see Harbhajan as good partner to Kumble. Powar could have been better option. While Kumble will check the run flow wih his teasing leg cutters, Powar could have picked up wickets with flight an authentic off spin bowling. Even keeping Shrisanth ou for Powar was good option. I feel team management will regret three decisions. 1. Inclusiion of sehwag as opener(he shud be there but at no 6 like symonds). 2. exclusion of Powar 3. Inclusion of srisanth nothing but unwanted fast bowler. Lack of temparament will against top class batsmans.

Bhupesh said...

Well analyzed Krish...While I dont give any chances for Proteas, I feel Black caps have a better chance. West Indies grounds are small and the Kiwi sloggers would love it, they also bat very deep.
Though its the most open World cup but I cant help saying that Aussies have the best team to adapt at very situation.

Mukund said...

I completely agree with Krish on the abilities of Australia as well as India's home-outside-home familiarity with carribean wickets. While my heart says India, therez small feeling that we could see a new winner, which could be so good for the game & the finalists could be India :-)

jaganath srikar said...

I would say this is a splendid blog. i feel the team is well balanced with the experience of the older guyz and the exuberence of the youngsters. The only chink i could fing is the exclusion of VVS Laxman, he is a potential match winner how can he be neglected. The current world cup edition is a long and tiresome one what happens if the the big guns get injured, the team might have been more balanced with the inclusion of laxman

Aswin said...

Well, it is too early for us to pinpoint the contendors for the title. We would have to wait till the Super eights atleast. As for India, i would be glad if they can perform onfield as they do on Advertisements. Please tell them to play serious cricket for once atleast.

If India needs to win the world cup, they need the following
Supreme Confidence, Consistent good allround performances, and Killer Instinct.
If India need to win the world cup, they gotta play as a unit.

To play as a unit, they need each individual player to contribute first(which is a very difficult thing).

As for now, don't have high hopes on them, let them play well and beat the best teams first. Until then just Wait and Watch.
Who knows Dravid and Co might just bring the Cup home

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ashwin manke said...

well i agree with srikantji's logic of the conditions in the carribean being similar to those in the sub-continent.
but that makes me feel that all the three subcontinent teams have a good chance of lifting the cup.infact srilanka and pakistan are as dangerous as india in this tournament.remember 1996.

Yuva said...

We have a good balanced side.Looking at the conditions maybe we should have selected an extra spinner for a seamer.

Yuva said...

We have a good balanced side.Looking at the conditions maybe we should have selected an extra spinner for a seamer.