Monday, 28 February 2011

One week gone: not many clues

We have had a week or so of the ICC Cricket World Cup – what have we learned?

  • India aren’t as good as everyone thinks they are – it turns out they don’t have a bowling attack
  • Pakistan is better than everyone thought they would be. A well-deserved win against Sri Lanka serves notice they may be a significant force
  • Sri Lanka has outstanding players but somehow they collectively underachieve.
  • England can be terrible, brilliant and terrible again in the space of a few days (or overs).
  • South Africa has a very top heavy batting line-up
  • Australia look a decent team again (how did that happen) but Tate just looks a liability.
And most of all:

A good, tight, 50:50 is fantastic entertainment. Bring them on.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Dutch lose to some schoolboys

England produced an amateur bowling and fielding performance against Netherlands. It was a disgrace. Dropped catches, fielding mistakes, overs with multiple beamers and even they even managed to be no-balled for not having enough people in the circle. Swann’s bowling was very much the high point although he managed to drop a sitter at the death. Andrew Strauss has shown great leadership for England but he must take quite a bit of the blame for today’s schoolboy-like display. He showed very little imagination and was badly behind in the game.

On current form England have no chance against India on Sunday – unless they think they can chase 500 that is.

It was nice to see Netherlands put up such a good display, they really did themselves proud. Excellent batting, good fielding and a solid bowling performance. They fielded England off the park.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

World Cup at the Starting Gun

The Cricket World Cup 2011 starts tomorrow. Whatever happens, and this is probably the most open competition for a long time, what is vital is that we see good, close cricket. Four years ago we had a pretty tame competition. Six weeks of pretty tedious cricket ending in darkness and near farce. The T20 game has rejuvenated cricket and injected large sums of money. The future of the 50-over format will be damaged, possibly forever, if tomorrow’s competition doesn’t deliver.

Having all said that we should be in for a pretty good competition. There are more, earlier, match-ups between teams that should produce good games (starting with India and Bangladesh tomorrow). The test playing nations are much more equal than they have been for a long time and the winner could easily come from quite a few sides: India, South Africa, Sri Lanka maybe even Australia – with the others pushing hard. Mind you … those first two are real chokers…