The World Cup warm-up matches have started and the country has also got into hype mode. If you watch the TV or read newspapers ,the general idea is the cup is at an arms length to the Indian Team.What goes up comes down so if the Indian cricket team fails, we will see every Tom, Dick and Harry on TV advising the team what it could have done.
India might have won its first warm-up game but it seems more due to Australia’s weak batting than India’s bowling. Michael Hussey could have made the difference in the result.
South Africa looks quite strong and I think has the best team for the tournament. A very good batting lineup led by captain Graeme Smith, with Hashim Amla in great form. Their bowling has the best pacer in the world today Dale Steyn, ably supported by Lonwabo Tsotsobe and for once, they also have good spinners in Robin Peterson and Johan Botha.
Australia may have lost its warm-up matches but cannot be discounted. The positives from the match against South Africa are Michael Clarke has started scoring and the finger injury has not deterred Ricky Ponting’s batting ability.
The other teams which have a good chance at the crown are Sri Lanka and England.
Sri Lanka has a good batting line up with players like Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara and a equally good bowling line-up led by Lasith Malinga and Muthiah Muralitharan .
England may have lost their last series against Australia but have the potential to reach finals. I see Graeme Swann and Tim Bresnan as key players who can propel England to that stage.
West Indies to me is unpredictable, I really don’t know how Darren Sammy is going to lead this team.
Leaving the minnows apart I don’t see a chance this time for New Zealand and Pakistan. Daniel Vettori is a great bowler and captain but the team does not seem to have match winners and is low on confidence with too many losses this year. Pakistan has always been like a wild card entry which surprises at crucial junctures but the present team is too fragmented and Shahid Afridi has not displayed any leadership potential and his own form is questionable.
It would be great if India won but the batsmen have to deliver as Indian bowling does not look so strong.
Would be glad to see surprise upsets to above!