Friday, June 26, 2009

Time to Re-group

It's time to Re-group for both the Indians & the West Indians. Both teams are looking confident before the start of the first game of the series. The first of the four ODIs will begin in Jamaica today between the two teams. India, on one hand will be like a wounded lion, who were thrown out of the ICC World T20 by joint efforts of the West Indies & England, in the Super 8 stage.

Well, it's a new beginning for them. However, they don't have the superstars like Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag & Suresh Raina; still they look a strong unit (especially on papers). They looked a fatigued team, tired team before the ICC World T20 & they said that an early exit have given them enough time to re-group themselves for this series against the West Indies. It's time for some young lads like Murli Vijay, Dinesh Karthik & Subramaniam Badrinath to make their mark in the world cricket. These lads will be looking to cement their place in the team. Ashish Nehra, would also be looking to en cash the fresh lease of life he has got after the IPL.

On the other hand, surprisingly West Indies are looking as a much better team than India, at the moment. Their Captain Chris Gayle has earned a lot of fame past IPL Season 2 & ICC World T20. He has openly express his love for the format, but will also be seriously concentrating on this series as well. Though they've lost the last ODI series they've played against England, still one can hope for an improved performance from them this time round. Also, Shivnarine Chanderpaul & Ramnaresh Sarwan are masters of their craft, especially in the ODIs. Dwayne Bravo is also a standout cricketer, as far as West Indies are concerned.

The Squads for both the team are as follows:

India (likely): 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Dinesh Karthik, 3 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 S Badrinath, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Ishant Sharma, 10 RP Singh, 11 Ashish Nehra.

West Indies (likely): 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Runako Morton, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Darren Bravo, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Jerome Taylor, 9 Ravi Rampaul, 10 Suleiman Benn, 11 Lionel Baker

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shahid Afridi got offer from New South Wales

The ‘Man of the Moment’ for the Pakistan cricket, Shahid Afridi could soon be flooded with lucrative offers. Australian state team New South Wales is planning to target Afridi as its foreign import for the next season’s domestic T20 competition. NSW will approach Afridi to join the team with the intention of getting qualified for the lucrative Champions League T20 tournament in 2010, but Afridi could also be used in the domestic cricket league, Sheffield Shield, as well.

I wonder, Shahid Afridi could soon become ‘Shahid Ad-freaky’!!!

Mortaza the New Bangladeshi Captain

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza has been named as new captain for the Bangladesh Cricket Team. He replaced Mohd. Ashraful, who was struggling with his batting form & similarly, his team was suffering with their form. However, the chief of the Selection Committee of Bangladesh Cricket Board said that it wasn’t due to the team’s poor performance in the recently concluded ICC World T20, but it has been done in order to give Ashraful the much needed time to concentrate on his batting. He said that Ashraful was looking ‘overburdened’ as a Captain & a batsman. Now he could concentrate solely on his batting.

The No1 all rounder in the ICC Ranking, Shakib Al Hasan has been named as the new Vice Captain of the team.

Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Tamim Iqbal, Junaid Siddique, Imrul Kayes, Raqibul Hasan, Mehrab Hossain jnr, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shahadat Hossain, Enamul Haque jnr, Mahbubul Alam, Rubel Hossain, Saghir Hossain (wk).

Standbys: Abdur Razzak, Syed Rasel, Naeem Islam, Nazmul Hossain, Shamsur Rahman

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Razzak & Yusuf back in Pak test squad

Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board just announced the Pakistan test team for the next series against Sri Lanka. Abdul Razzaq made a comeback after a long duration of 3 years. Also Veteran, Mohd. Yusuf made a comeback. The Pakistan squad for the series against Sri Lanka is:

Younis Khan (captain), Salman Butt, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Aamir, Danish Kaneria, Abdul Razzaq, Abdul Rauf, Fawad Alam, Faisal Iqbal.

Younus does an Imran!

Younus Khan, the victorious Pakistani Captain call it quits from T20 Cricket. He announced it in the press conference just after winning the ICC World T20. He said that he really admired Imran Khan (the victorious Pakistani captain of 1992 World Cup) for what he has done for the Pakistan Cricket. He repeated his act of quitting Cricket (T20) just after making Pakistan proud in the World T20. He said that he thinks that he is really old for this format & someone should take over from him after the T20 World Cup. However, he will continue to lead Pakistan in the ODIs & Test Cricket.

Afridi May Take Over

Shahid Afridi could possibly be throned as Pakistan’s new T20 Captain. ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi, who wished one upon a time to become Pakistan’s captain before he quits international captain, could possibly see his dream coming true on August 12 this year, when Pakistan will play their first T20 game against Sri Lanka, in their home. As Shoaib Malik will not lead Pakistan in any format in the near future, it could possibly be Shahid Afridi. Afridi has shown tremendous responsibility in the just concluded ICC World T20, with both Bat & Ball. He played two superb knocks back to back & his fielding was special in the T20 World Cup. Over the years, he had improved his bowling a lot & with time he had transformed into a genuine all rounder, who can open the innings or can come in the middle order & bowl his full quota of overs.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pakistan wins World T20

And they finally did it....Back are the days of Glory for Pakistan Cricket. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka in the Mecca of Cricket, Lords on Sunday June 21 by 8 wickets to lift the ICC World T20 2009. 'Boom Boom Afridi' carried his innings on Sunday from where he left against South Africa in the semi finals. First he bowled superbly to take 1 wicket for 20 runs off his allotted quota of 4 overs. Abdul Razzaq also bowled superbly to take 3 wickets. Kumar Sangkkara, the captain of the Sri Lanka, played a splendid knock of 64*, well supported by Angelo Matthews (35*). They did well to take Sri Lanka to a fighting total of 139, where the 4 Ms could have fancied their chances, but Pakistan had other plans. Kamran Akmal started the innings like a storm. His innings gave Pakistan a platform, from where Shahid Afridi & Shoaib Malik carried till the end. Afridi played a brilliant knock of 54* & Shoaib Malik supported him well to chase this modest looking total. Neither of the 'M' did anything notable & were unable to stop the two 'S', Shahid & Shoaib.

Younus Khan hold the trophy with the greatest of the spirit & promptly announced his retirement from T20. Shahid Afridi was declared 'Man of the Match" & Tilakratne Dilshan was adjudged 'Man of the Series' for his 317 runs.

The Celebrations will continue in Pakistan in the days to come.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sri Lanka through to the finals

Now that’s what you call a team effort! Dilshan, Mendis, Murli, Matthews, Malinga everybody chipping in with something. Sri Lanka defeated West Indies comprehensively to enter in the finals of ICC World T20. Now they will face Pakistan who is equally looking good.

Batting first, Sri Lanka posted a challenging total (considering their bowling & fielding) of 159, thanks to an unbeaten 96* by Tilakratne Dilshan. Dilshan played superb strokes all over the ground & was uncontrollable. The West Indian bowlers bowled well till the 16th over, but Dilshan made most of the last four overs.

West Indies were rocked by Angelo Matthews, the young sensation for the Sri Lankans, taking three wickets in his first over. Xavier Marshall, Lendl Simmons & Dwayne Bravo were his dismissals; all of them went for Duck. They had a good partnership between Shivnarine Chanderpaul & Chris Gayle, but just when they looked settled, wickets started to tumble at the other end. Gayle was the lone survivor in the Lankan storm. He scored 63* out of the team total of 101 & carried his bat. He tried very hard to take his team through but there was some superb bowling from Ajantha Mendis & Mutthiah Murlitharan in the middle overs, which just didn’t allow the West Indians to free their arms. The ‘M’ factor again came to haunt the West Indies, just like the league game.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Preview: Sri Lanka v/s West Indies

This game too, could prove to be a cracker, just like the first semi final between South Africa & Pakistan. Chris Gayle’s West Indies would try to tackle Kumar Sangakkara’s Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is in same position like South Africa. If they can’t pull a victory in this game, they have to pack their bags. Remember, Sri Lanka is the only team now left in the tournament which is still unbeaten. One loss & they would be out of this tournament.

However, their main focus would be the ‘M’ factor – Murli, Mendis & Malings. The fearsome trio has immense capability to defend even a modest score. Jayasuriya & Dilshan would be looking to give a brisk start to the team, while Sangakkara & Jayawardene will be their in the middle. Though the middle order is not that strong, apart from these two; Sri Lanka would certainly hope these four to fire.

On the other hand, West Indies would try to carry out their good work, done against India & England. Chris Gayle would surely look to revenge the loss against Sri Lanka, received in the league stage. They have just the right combination of experience & youth, attacking & solid batsmen, fast – really fast bowlers & a cheerful, fresh & exciting team. Truly speaking, this team is the best team since the exit of Brian Lara from international cricket. West Indies though would miss Fidel Edwards who has been diagnosed with an irritation of the nerve root in his lower back, but they do have other good bowlers like Jerome Taylor, Suliemann Benn & Bravo. Chris Gayle as a batsman & Dwayne Bravo as an all rounder would be in focus. Their only concern could be the consistency, which they seriously lack.

Well, we hope that a good game is really coming tonight.

Chokers!!! Again

Well, it seems South Africa have to try really hard to win the semi final of a world cup. Yesterday, they again lost a semi final, this time against Pakistan by 7 runs. Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal & Shahid Afridi bowled superbly to restrict South Africa to 142 after they set a victory target of 150.

Shahid Afridi finally showed some good stuff from the bat after a long time. He scored a brilliant 51 off 34 balls. Later he took 2/16 off his 4 overs which eventually got him the ‘Man of the Match’ award. Though Jacques Kallis & J P Duminy tried really hard to take South Africa through to the final, but Pakistanis bowled superbly & more than their bowling, it was their fielding which was a big support to their bowlers.

It was yet another time that South Africa played superbly through out the tournament & lost a knock out game. What a cruel game, Cricket is: they lost the first match of the tournament & they are out of the World Cup T20. They lost to West Indies in the quarter finals of the World Cup 1996, then again that infamous semifinal where Australia tied the match & went to the final, on the basis of their Super 8 win against them, lost to India in the quarter finals of the ICC World T20 2007 in Durban & now against Pakistan.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

India's squad to West Indies

Indian selection committee recently declared India’s squad for the forthcoming West Indies tour. Interestingly, Munaf Patel & Irfan Pathan are shown the exit door & R P Singh & Ashish Nehra makes their comeback. I wonder if Ashish Nehra plays in this series & then sits out again for 1 year due to an injury. Jokes apart, following team will represent India in the coming tour of West Indies:

MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Yusuf Pathan, M Vijay, S Badrinath, RP Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Abhishek Nayar, Ashish Nehra, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik.


Sachin Tendulkar (finger injury), Zaheer Khan (shoulder injury), Virender Sehwag (shoulder injury), Suresh Raina (hairline fracture of the thumb), Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan


Ashish Nehra, Abhishek Nayar, RP Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, S Badrinath, M Vijay

Abhishek Nayar finally makes his way to the Indian team after performing consistently for Mumbai Indians in the recently concluded IPL season 2. Badrinath is also rewarded with a place in the Indian squad, though he didn’t make any notable performance in the IPL 2. Murli Vijay is a strange name as he is rather considered a test batsman than a limited over cricket batsman. Ravinder Jadeja, though let Indian team down against England, still he is included in the team for this series, as no one can deny that he is a talented batsman & a utility bowler.

The players who are not included this time in the team are those who are suffering with injury except Munaf Patel & Irfan Pathan. Sachin Tendulkar is suffering from a finger injury & Sehwag & Zaheer Khan are suffering from a shoulder injury. Suresh Raina suffered an injury against South Africa in India’s last game of Super eight.

It’s still a balanced team & hope that the team will come out of the bad phase, they are currently in.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ICC World T20

It's been a hectic week for me. That is why there were no updates from my side on the ICC World T20.

Well the tournament has been great one so far. Champions (ODI & T20) are being knocked out of the world cup. Even the hosts & quickly emerging Bangladeshis are also out of this world cup. Players are being replaced, Karthik replaced with Sehwag, Razzaq replaced with Arafat. Now Razzaq was coming back into the team after a gap of two long years. He was busy with ICL, but gave up for the National duty.

Just a quick update on the results so far:

England v Netherlands - Netherlands thumped England
New Zealand v Scotland - Clinical win for New Zealand
Australia v West Indies - Gayle oops....West Indies defeated Australia
Bangladesh v India - India won easily
Scotland v South Africa - the biggest win of the tournament by the Proteas
England v Pakistan - England defeated Pakistan & kept their hopes alive of making it to Super Eight
Bangladesh v Ireland - Ireland defeated yet another Asian nation
Australia v Sri Lanka - Australia knocked out by the Lankan tigers
Netherlands v Pakistan - Pakistan defeated Netherlands & finished off their campaign
New Zealand v South Africa - South Africa kept hteir nerves to pull out a thrilling victory
Sri Lanka v West Indies - Sri Lanka defeated West Indies easily
India v Ireland - India showed the big boys status & defeated the minnows easily
Ireland v New Zealand - New Zealand defeated the minnows in the first Super 8 game
England v South Africa - South Africa defeated England
Pakistan v Sri Lanka - Sri Lanka defeated their neighbour easily
India v West Indies - Bravo's effort ensured West Indies win this one
South Africa v West Indies - WI defeated by the Proteas
New Zealand v Pakistan - Umar Gul took 5 wickets in a T20 & crushed New Zealand
Ireland v Sri Lanka - Ireland made the lankans struggle for victory but the Lankans pulled things back
England v India - England defeated India & stop their campaign of defending the title
Ireland v Pakistan - Pakistan too good for Ireland (history didn't repeated)
England v West Indies - Now West Indies defeated England after a humiliating summer & knocked England out of the World Cup T20
New Zealand v Sri Lanka - The 'M' factor came to party as New Zealand was thrown out of the world cup
India v South Africa - India failed to win the consolation game.

Now the semis are between Pakistan & South Africa and Sri Lanka & West Indies.

Let's hope we have some exciting T20 world cup matches coming...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Preview – Australia

The ODI champions haven’t done anything notably in the shortest form of the game, yet they are one of the front runners in lifting the ICC World T20 this year. They were knocked down by India last year in an intense semi final, where Joginder Sharma bowled superbly to keep Michael Hussey quite in the last over of the match. Though Ricky Ponting looks confident of holding the trophy this time, recent boozing incidence of key all rounder Andrew Symonds have dented Aussies chances badly.

Australia is in ‘The Group of Death’ with West Indies & Sri Lanka being the other two teams. Winning either both the matches or at least one & the run rate drama will take away Ricky Ponting’s sleep in the days to come. They would be pretty keen at least to get to the second round. Interestingly, they’ve lost their last T20 against Pakistan in Dubai & were also defeated in the two matches against South Africa in South Africa, earlier this year.


Big names of world cricket like Ponting, Hussey, Clarke & Lee are in their side & the young guns like Warner, Cameron White, Shane Watson & Nathan Bracken would be there to support the Aussie cause.


Ponting, Hussey, Clarke & Lee haven’t played much T20 cricket at the domestic level & this might just not be in the favour of the Aussies. Moreover, bowling will also not have much to offer except Lee & Bracken.


To bag one more star in their crown as it could probably be Ponting’s last T20 world cup. He would like to won his last World T20 cup. Also to show the world that they have recovered from the defeats in last year or so against India & South Africa.


Chris Gayle, Sanath Jayasurya, Muthiah Muralitharan & Fidel Edwards will be trying very hard for their respective teams. Australia has to ensure that these stars should not go big against them. Also bowling can go for runs in the middle overs, where inexperienced bowlers will be in put in attack.


Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Nathan Bracken, Brad Haddin (wk), Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Peter Siddle, Andrew Symonds, David Warner, Shane Watson

Preview – West Indies

The West Indies are struggling in World cricket since the exit of first, Curtly Ambrose & Courtney Walsh & then Brian Lara. They have won only one major cricket tournament, the Champions Trophy in 2004. Since then, it has seen new lows in the world of cricket. Their current captain Chris Gayle seems to love the T20 format more than any other player in the world. Also the recent performance of his team against England in the Tests & ODIs hasn’t been too exciting. There key players like Gayle himself, Bravo & Dwayne Smith enjoyed huge successes for their respective teams in both the seasons of IPL.

They are in ‘The Group of Death’ with strong contenders of the cup like Australia & Sri Lanka. It is the only group that does not have any associate team & that what worries West Indies, the most. Though, they have beaten Australia in the only T20 game played between these two sides & they haven’t faced Sri Lanka a single time.


Batting: Stars like Chris Gayle, Sarwan, Chanderpaul, Bravo & Smith in the top & middle order & Ramdin & Kieren Pollard in the lower order – are the real guns of this Island team.

Bowling: Fidel Edwards’s raw pace could be more than handy in this format. Forget about scoring runs, even if batsmen survive in front of him or not, that is the question. Also the likes of Dwayne Smith – with his slow medium pace & spin of Suliemann Benn (few teams have faced him) could prove crucial.


Poor form of most of the players could hurt the Windies. Also youngsters like Andre Fletcher & Xavier Marshall can become soft targets if Gayle, Sarwan & Chanderpaul departs early. Same is the case of bowling, where after Fidel Edwards, no real fast & accurate bowler is there & if he goes for some runs, it will be really difficult for other bowlers to stop opponent batsmen.


To show the world of Cricket that lost glory can be brought back with just the right mix of youth & experience. Younus Khan – The captain of Pakistan has said that West Indies could spring a few surprises, is not wrong & unjustified, provided the Windies become very complacent.


The two other teams in the group are the only threat to West Indies. Complacency against either Sri Lanka or Australia could prove very harmful for the West Indies. Chris Gayle should do everything possible to inspire his team to bring back the lost glory.

Chris Gayle (capt), Denesh Ramdin, Lionel Baker, Sulieman Benn, David Bernard, Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Xavier Marshall, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lendl Simmons, Jerome Taylor.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Preview – South Africa

The ‘Proteas’ always start a world cup as favourites & end up as ‘Chokers’. Show them a world cup & they press the panic button. They have histories ties, collapses & Duckworth-Lewis calculations being misread. Last time, in their own backyard, India showed them the way out of the tournament. They will again start as favourites.

We can say that this South Africa side’s attitude & body language is quite different from previous sides. Their players like Jacques Kallis, A B DeVilliers, Roelof van der Merwe, Albie Morkel, Mark Boucher, Herschelle Giibs & Yousuf Abdullah had good IPL. In-fact, A B DeVilliers seems to grow mature with his stint with Delhi Daredevils. Yousuf Abdullah got selected for the national side only because of his performance for Kings XI Punjab. Jacques Kallis showed that experience is also required in T20 & Roelof van der Merwe showed that along with Albie Morkel, he could be the right person to hit massive sixes in death overs.


Just like New Zealand – South Africa also have some utility player like van der Merwe, Johan Botha in their side; genuine all-rounders like Albie Morkel, Jacques Kallis & J P Duminy (remember his off spinners) in their team.

Special mentions for Johan Botha (for me, he is the second best bowler in T20 after Daniel Vettori) & J P Duminy are strengths in bowling & batting departments, respectively.

Fielding: Excellent fielders like Gibbs, DeVilliers & Duminy.


Key players like Captain Graeme Smith doesn’t had a good IPL, though a player like him will not be out of form for a long time.

Bowling: With Makhaya Ntini not available for the T20 world cup, Dale Steyn would have to handle added responsibility. If he misfires, then the going would get really tough for them as Wayne Parnell & Yousuf Abdullah are not very experienced guys to handle that kind of a situation. Morne Morkel had not been very successful in the past, especially in T20s. Albie Morkel & the spinners have to ensure that middle overs go smoothly.


To show the world, that they have left behind the tag of ‘Chokers’ by performing excellently. They have the right combination for every condition & their players know how to do it.


Inclusion of only one quality spinner in Johan Botha could be a possible threat. Robin Peterson has never been a threat to the opponents.

Also they often collapse in tight games & that had given them the tag of ‘Chokers’. They should ensure that their players shouldn’t choke in crunch situations.


Graeme Smith (capt), Johan Botha, Yusuf Abdulla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Jacques Kallis, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Roelof van der Merwe

Preview – New Zealand

New Zealand, probably have the best set of players when it comes to T20 cricket. They have just the right set of players which are tailor made for this format of the game. They have bowlers who can bat, batsmen who can bowl & genuine all-rounders too. No one can write off this team when it is a limited overs business.

New Zealand are in Group D with South Africa & Scotland, which means they should not face any trouble, whatsoever, to get to the next round, though they would be looking to finish on the top spot in their group.


All rounders & other utility players: New Zealand have many utility players who can chip in with a handy spell (who are basically batsmen), like Jesse Ryder, Bowlers who can play devastating innings in death overs like James Franklin, Daniel Vettori & Kyle Mills, genuine all rounders like Jacob Oram & Scott Styris.

Bowling: They hae A-grade slow bowlers. The job which was done for many years by Gavin Larsen & Chris Harris is now being done by Jesse Ryder, Scott Styris & Jacob Oram.

Batting: With Jesse Ryder & Martin Guptill – the two new dashing openers are pretty capable of hitting the bowl hard & long.


Kiwis always have a nag of losing when it matters the most, like the 1992 World cup & same result was witnessed in the 1999 World Cup. On both the occasions, they were knocked down by Pakistan.

Bowling: If Vettori goes for runs, very few bowlers would be able to control the opponent’s batsmen. Their last T20 world cup hero – Mark Gillespie is not available this time. Also the last time dudes – Shane Bond & Chris Martin are also not their to restrict the opponent’s batsmen. This time bowling can be handy but not fearsome.


To show the world that Kiwis can win big tournaments also. Though, they have done that in 1999 when they beat India in the finals of ICC Champions Trophy. That was the first big tournament won by the Kiwis.


If McCullum & Ryder fails to deliver, then the middle order, which is not so strong apart from Ross Taylor & Scott Styris could prove vulnerable. Ross Taylor plays spin very well, but what about others?


Daniel Vettori (capt), Neil Broom, Ian Butler, Brendon Diamanti, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum (wk), Nathan McCullum, Peter McGlashan (wk), Kyle Mills, Iain O'Brien, Jacob Oram, Jesse Ryder, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor.

Previews – Sri Lanka

ICC World T20 is just the perfect platform for a country which is facing miseries from last few months. Firstly, the attack on their team bus in Lahore in March & then armed conflicts in the country have given few opportunities for the countrymen to cheer. The new captain Kumar Sangakkara can bring a new & refreshing chapter in the lives of the team & country. He can provide some happy moments to the countrymen to cheer about.

There couldn’t be a difficult first assignment for any captain. Sanga will start leading his side from the ICC World T20. With the right mixture of experience & youth Sri Lanka might perform brilliantly in this world cup. Last time they were knocked down by the Pakistanis & Kangaroos.


Bowling: With in-form bowlers like Malinga, Muralitharan & Mendis, they can fancy their chances this time. Kulasekara & Maharoof could find the going easy as their will be plenty of swing in England.

Batting: Jayasurya, Dilshan, Sangakkara & Jayawardene – The ‘Fab Four’ of Sri Lanka could be a nightmare for any bowling attack.


Lower Middle order is a bit shaky, as Chamara Silva & Maharoof had to try really hard to get some big runs in the death stage or even if the ‘Fab four’ departs early.


To leave behind the bitter remembering of Lahore bus attack & military conflict back home by winning the ICC World T20.


Pakistan Captain Younus Khan said that West Indies could spring up some surprises. This might be a threat to the other teams in that pool – Sri Lanka & Australia. So Sri Lanka have to play their best & hope that Chris Gayle have a tough day.


Kumar Sangakkara (capt), Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Jehan Mubarak, Chamara Silva, Indika de Saram, Angelo Mathews, Farveez Maharoof, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Lasith Malinga, Isuru Udana.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Preview – England

England’s performance in big tournaments has been disastrous – to say the least. The inventors of Cricket hasn’t excelled or dominated the game for a long time. Not even in T20 cricket, they’ve been outstanding. With so many domestic cricketers in their player’s bank, England should have ruled the world cricket, but that hasn’t been the cause.

Nevertheless, Paul Collingwood – The English Captain pledged to “surprise a few people” (I don’t think he meant winning the tournament). Still, home conditions & crowd (?) (When India plays against England in England, it seems the match is being played in Mohali or Mumbai & not Manchester) will give them an extra edge over other teams. It should enable them to leave behind the feeble efforts in 2007, where they were able to defeat only Zimbabwe.


Young guns like Graeme Swann, Ravi Bopara, James Foster, Graham Napier & Eoin Morgan have brought freshness in the team. Though senior pros like Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, James Anderson and Owais Shah are capable of performing well under pressure.


Absence of Andrew Flintoff will hurt them badly. I agree that he wasn’t very successful in IPL, playing for Chennai Super Kings; still he had that ability to bowl just the perfect yorkers & hitting big sixes – when they were most required.


To show the world that they can play good cricket (let it be T20) & come hard in big tournaments like this. They have exciting young cricketers & experienced guys, who can turn a game on their own.


Choking is one of the biggest threats to their campaign. If one wicket falls, other follows this trend & if one bad over comes (while bowling), fielders & following bowlers crumble under pressure. Also England – as a team shouldn’t care about Pietersen’s personal comments about himself "I'm not very good at Twenty20, am I?” They should rather concentrate on what other teams are not good at.

Preview – Pakistan

Very few sides in ICC World T20 really need to win the trophy as Pakistan. Winning this cup may really help to give Pakistan cricket a boost which is marred by pull out of ICC World Cup Cricket to be held in Pakistan & India in 2011. Every team in the world has refused to travel to Pakistan after the attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore.

Talking about on field performances, this is certainly one of the most unpredictable team in world cricket. On one day they can defeat the best of the team like Australia & India. On the very next day, they can suffer a defeat against the weakest of teams like Ireland & Bangladesh.

Though, it won’t be easy given their rustiness off late. They were the only test playing team which didn’t participated in IPL. They are the only test playing nation to play least cricket since Jan 2007. Even Bangladesh has played more cricket than them.


Spinners like Saeed Azmal & Shahid Afridi (you should call him a bowler now; he is no longer a batsman, given his performance in last two years or so).
Batsmen like Misbah Ul Haq, Salman Butt, Shoaib Malik & Captain Younus Khan.
Fast Bowling – which have representatives like Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul & Rao Iftiqar Anjum.


Fielding has let them down many a times. Sometimes, even catching also seems pathetic. Fielders like Salman Butt & Captain Younus Khan should ensure that their fielding efforts might inspire others to throw themselves in the field.


Winning this cup or even reaching the finals might help in reviving Pakistan’s cricket which is into it’s worst phase currently. Every country has refused to play in their backyard & winning ICC World T20 cup will surely give countrymen something to cheer about.


Rustiness could possibly be a threat to their hopes of winning & taking the cup to Pakistan. They haven’t played competitive cricket from long time barring 5 ODIs & 1 T20 against Australia. in Abu Dhabhi in April-May. They should ensure that staying away from international cricket for a long time has not made any major difference.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What's ur pic?

It's been scorching hot here in India but chilly mornings, afternoons & evenings in England where the World T20 is going to start from Friday June 5. For now teams are playing practice games & we are having fascinating results. Both the finalists of last world cup lost their practice games against their opponents. India lost against New Zealand & Pakistan lost against South Africa.

Interestingly India haven't won a single T20 game against New Zealand. Kiwis were the only team to defeat India in the last world cup, then they defeated India 2-0 in their own backyard earlier this year & now they defeated them last night. I agree it was a practice game but a win is a win. Still, it wasn't a one-sided game & players like Suresh Raina & Rohit Sharma along with Ravinder Jadeja played superbly but it was James Franklin's three massive sixes & 27 runs in 10 balls ensured New Zealand keep their record clean against India.

The results for warm up games so far are as follows:

• May 26 - Bangladesh v New Zealand – New Zealand won by 4 wickets
• May 27 - Ireland v New Zealand – New Zealand won by 7 wickets
• May 28 - Scotland v West Indies – West Indies won by 14 runs
• May 28 - Bangladesh v Netherlands – Bangladesh won by 64 runs
• May 29 - Bangladesh v Scotland – Bangladesh won by 6 wickets
• May 30 - Ireland v West Indies – West Indies won by 5 wickets
• May 30 - Netherlands v New Zealand - New Zealand won by 90 runs
• June 1 - Australia v Bangladesh – Australia won by 38 runs
• June 1 - Ireland v Netherlands – Match tied (Ireland won in the super over)
• June 1 - India v New Zealand – New Zealand won by 9 runs
• June 1 – Pakistan v South Africa – South Africa won by 59 runs