Can Australia, England or India lift the Cup?

It is worth a thought. But can Australia, England, India or South Africa succeed in lifting the cup? Based on the cricket played in the past one year it is clear that these teams are well placed above the rest to lift the coveted cup. Australia, having soundly beaten England in a recent one day series, while India and South Africa have triumphed over opponents have made their case for lifting the trophy very strong.

Pakistan has not shined in a worldcup since their final appearance in 1999. In fact, since that time, they have had spectacular exists in 2003 and 2007 worldcups. Making the worldcup campaign moot. This time round, they are without the services of some of their best fast bowlers (Asif and Aamir) who are sadly banned for at least two worldcups (including this one) and therefore, are limping into the tournament with not a strong bowling attack. Their openers are beginning to score runs, which is rare, but can they last the form in the tournament only time will tell. Without the top order firing, Pakistan will have a hard time even winning the quarter final.

New Zealand have had a torrid time in the recent past and therefore their chances of even making to quarterfinals are remote. While Bangladesh cannot get their act together for more than a game to even scare any of their opponents. They might win an odd game here and there but that’s where their World Cup campaign will wither away.

West Indies have not really fired since the 1983 World Cup Tournament in England. Heck, they have not made even the semi finals since that time. And that is almost 30 years. Their chances of winning quarterfinals are very remote considering that they have hardly won any matches in recent past.

Sri Lanka, is probably the only team capable of breaking into the semi final lineup by causing an upset between our favourite four (India, Australia, England and South Africa). However, it is only an outside chance. They are the finalists of the 2007 worldcup so they do have some match winners among them, but time will tell if their campaign will go beyond Quarter finals.

The teams that make it to the semi-final are going to be India, Australia, South Africa and England. All these teams have tasted victory at all levels of the game and know what it takes to win. They will be pushing each opponent to their limit and will make it harder for the rest to win this tournament. If I had a choice of a winner among them, I choose a final between England and South Africa with South Africa finally lifting the Worldcup.

But in cricket, one never knows what is going to happen till it happens. So we shall have to wait, watch and see who finally lifts the coveted trophy.

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ICC New Mantra – Frying Small Fish

ICC (International Cricket Council) has once again failed to live upto the expectations. Banning Asif, Aamir and Salmat Butt over spot fixing will not rid the sports of the match fixing. These are small frys. Players who will be replaced by the next generation willing to risk it all.

For almost twenty years, when Shane Warne and Mark Waugh were caught sharing information with bookies, world cricket is plagued by the match fixing allegations. The situation, like in Warne and Waugh’s case, was quickly brushed under the carpet and forgotten while in case of India and Pakistan, some bans have occurred. However, it were always the players being banned and never the real sharks, the ones calling the shots, the bookies themselves who have never been caught.

By banning Azhar, Malik, Butt or even Cronje the world is not better off. The sport is not even close to being clean from match fixing. Heck, the fixing will go on with new faces and new methods by the big money that bookies command.

ICC under Haroon Lorgat, needs to take this matter more seriously and needs to go beyond a behind the doors closed meeting to catch the culprits. By frying small fish like Aamir and Asif, they will not get anywhere.

Alas, this world cup, I will not be tuning in to see it. Its not because it is not exciting, but because ICC is willing to do half measures to save their own skin than really save the game for its true fans. Too bad, because cricket is a great sport and due to its administration handling it poorly, it is losing its fan base.