January 31, 2011

ICC World Cup 2011 - SWOT Analysis : WEST INDIES

   The other "Indian" team in the world cup other than the Indians of course is the West Indies. Gosh!! that was as lame as I can get. They are two time world champions, hard to believe from the current state in which they are, it seems as a completely different dimensional world where the Windies were once indomitable. With game changers like Gayle, Chanderpaul, Sarwan, Pollard, Bravo(s) they still are a team no one is likely to take lightly. Darren Sammy once again leads this side, and hopefully the contract problems will not rise up again till the world cup is over. Selectors have gone for spinning options in Miller, Benn and provide some teeth to the attack with Roach, Rampaul, Rusell who will be joined  by captain Sammy, Pollard, Bravo and perhaps Gayle. There is balance to this team but notable names like Edwards, Taylor are missing who can make impact immediately. Carlton Baugh's selection is debatable. 

West Indies squad: Darren Sammy (capt), Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Devon Smith, Sulieman Benn, Nikita Miller, Carlton Baugh (wk), Andre Rusell, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Adrian Barath.

  • "Gayle Force". No team would like to be the one on the receiving end.
  • "Kieron Pollard". The man can tonk the ball some distance and we shall let his bat do the talking.
  • "Batting". The batting finally looks to be coming around with all holes being plugged and Sarwan, Chanderpaul's experience will be mightly useful in sub-continent conditions a.k.a. batting pitches.
  • "Team" game. Whether they play as a united team or as individuals who impress is a bother for many.
  • "Consistency". The only consistency this team has showed us recently, is the lack of positive results.

  • Darren Bravo, who has impressed cricket followers all over will be keen to cement his place at no.3, despite the return of Sarwan and the rock solid Chanderpaul.
  • Benn n Miller will have a task up their sleeves to help the side win games and get the ball rolling or rather spinning.

  • The Windies have not played top-notch cricket for a while, and it shows with their current rating of 8 in the ICC ODI ratings. They don't need just one big knock from Gayle but, a consistent show to take them all the way and re-live their glorious past.
    They are placed in the Group B, along with hosts India, Bangladesh and top teams South Africa, England. The Windies are very much capable to make the cut to the Quarters, it remains to be seen whether they overcome their internal issues and play as the team that they're capable of.

January 23, 2011

ICC World Cup 2011 - SWOT Analysis : PAKISTAN

   Even God can't predict the outcome of the match, when Pakistan is playing. They can thrash Goliath convincingly and get whacked by David at the same time . Entertainment is guaranteed when the  team is on the field and nowadays, off the field issues have overshadowed their on-field performance. Fitness issues , disciplinary issues have haunted the team for long. PCB is the most active board among all the countries as they are always in action.This country has tonnes and tonnes of talent and its a sad to see  players falling prey to unethical issues. Keeping them aside, the board has finally decided the final 15 but the captain hasn't been announced. Wonder what's the issue with them again! The bowling attack looks strong, would have liked to see Md. Sami. The batting has just been pieces put together, Md. Yusuf again left out and no genuine opener as well. There is Younis, Misbah, to provide the solidity followed by Umar Akmal who has impressed one and all with his sheer talent, and then there are Afridi, Razzaq to go bezerk. So the final 15 looks like this :
 Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Akmal (wk), Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Tanvir, Ahmed Shehzad.
  • The team is a good mixture of experience and youth.
  • Their bowling has always been their strength and this time its not a different story either . They have a good vareity of pace and probably the strongest spin attack at present.
  • Razzaq and Afridi.Period.
  • Very well aware of the sub-continent pitches.  

  •  Their strengths can prove to be the weakness too, you never know.
  • In the sub-continent teams will depend heavily on the start the openers provide. In Hafeez and Kamran this doesn't seem to be a confident bet in any circumstance. 
  • They have showed enough faith on Kamran Akmal and he has flopped big time behind the wickets. Lack of a backup might hurt them. Only, backup being the other Akmal donning the gloves. 

  • Misbah might be handed over the captaincy from Boom Boom Afridi, and its a very good opportunity for him to lead the team .
  • Return of Tanvir, seems to be positive. Most players take a while in understanding his variations.
  • Saeed Ajmal is one of the best spinners at the moment. Add to that Afridi, Hafeez and Rehman will make life miserable for most batsmen in spin friendly conditions. Gul is almost always at his miserly best.

  • Shoaib Akhtar. Period.
  • Who's the captain???  Less than 4 weeks away from the WC and the team doesn't know who's going to lead them.
  • Hate to say this, with MATCH FIXING and player controversies it will be difficult for this Pakistani team to focus on the game. Hopefully, they finish the tournament without any black marks.

   This team has all the requirements to make it to the top. With Pakistan you can never predict anything. So, we zip our mouths and wait for time to say if they are good enough or not .

January 20, 2011

ICC World Cup 2011 - SWOT Analysis : ENGLAND

Graeme Swann and the England cricket team break out the 'sprinkler dance' - 1 (Getty Images)
   The team thats going *goo goo gaa gaa* over everything at the moment (well thats not exactly a new feature). Current T20 champions of the world and the team holding "The Ashes", wow! By current achievements they are undoubtedly a force to reckon with.

World Cup Squad: Andrew Strauss©(capt), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior(wk), Ajmal Shahzad, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy 

    First look at the team and they have gone in with Swann and Yardy to do the job and Tredwell who really is not even par with the boys who bowl spin in the maidaans of Mumbai. No Adil Rashid here, no Samit Patel, if I may add Monty Panesar either. C'mon!! the world cup is in the sub-continent, as if they had nothing between their ears. The wicket-keeper's slot has been given to Matt Prior and no back-up which means Davies and Kieswetter get the axe. Which just makes no sense to me, with Prior's inability to play in slow, low tracks as we have witnessed earlier. But, the coach Andy Flower who once one of the best players of spin (in any condition) and a WK himself has backed Prior with the duty. Remember, "Coach knows best". So, lets leave it there. In the batting department most slots were taken on merit but, in a tournament as long and hectic such as the World Cup there is no real bench strength to this England batting. More on this as we proceed.

  • The team is on a absolute high at the moment. Ask them to fight against the Spartans, heck they'd think they can do anything and pull it off.
  • Swann should be able to bowl 10 tight in the spin friendly conditions and reap rewards.
  • Eoin the Morganator. Period. Is there a better finisher in the game today?
  • Absence of a genuine opener shows that Luke Wright is most likely to open the batting with capt. Strauss or maybe Prior will be given the role. Will this move really click?
  • Yardy is alright in small bursts but, Tredwell, KP who ever gets to bowl the onus is on the opposition to lose it from here.
  • Perhaps, one last opportunity for Paul Collingwood to do what most Englishmen have failed.
  • Seam trio of Anderson, Broad, Bresnan would like to prove that they can perform and deliver even in sub-continent conditions.
  • Ian Bell, his midas touch during the Ashes will give him a chance to make a strong shout for a permanent role in the ODI team. Are you reading this, Jonathan Trott?
  • No real threat to this England team. As I said they could fight the Spartans, Hercules and Zeus together thinking they can beat them.
  • Choosing XI from this squad of XV shows they have the men for the job. But, what in case there are set backs, injuries or complete loss of form(which the English are renowned for).
   England have not been the best tourists to the sub-continent. 'Co-host' India, 'home for most Englishmen' South Africa, 'you never know which' West Indies, the 'not such a push over' Bangladesh, and their 'not very friendly neighbours' Ireland, Netherlands  are in the same group, four of whom will proceed. The competition is right up there, if they can keep Swanny, KP, Jimmy and their "Twitter" accounts in check, you never know this team might just be the history in the making. Winner takes all!!!

January 19, 2011

ICC World Cup 2011 - SWOT Analysis : SOUTH AFRICA

The South African Cricket Board announced its WC Squad couple of days back. Except for a couple of surprises it was more or less the squad which everybody expected.

The final squad looks like this :
Graeme Smith (Capt), Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, AB de Villiers (WK), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Jacques Kallis, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Morne van Wyk (WK)

From the looks , it can be said that the team has beefed up their squad with all round bowling attack, getting off their conventional single dimensional pace attack. They are most likely to play 1 spinner + 3 pacers + Kallis. Maybe, at the Lankan grounds, where there isn't even an iota of help for pacers, they will go for 2 spinners + 2 pacers + Kallis. Their batting has looked consistent, though their middle order has wobbled without their 'Anchor-man' Kallis. Duminy has looked a lot better recently, his services will be key in the world cup. The inclusion of Peterson over Albie Morkel is definitely debatable. Both of them haven't proved themselves in the Int'l circuit in the recent past but, Morkel can be good with the bat comparatively. Dropping Mark Boucher was expected .

  • The Awesome Twosome combo of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. Irrespective of the pitch and weather conditions, they are fatal.
  • Their batting is strong with Kallis coming back. Smith, Amla, Kallis, ABD are the Fantastic Four of SA now .
  • They come along the tag of .. you know it .. "CHOKERS".
  • The spin department is very inexperienced and chances of getting the 'STICK' treatment is more if they don't adapt to the conditions.
  • They lack a power hitter at No.7. Faf du is expected to fill in that position and he doesn't look like a slogger. This is where Albie Morkel could have been handy.
  • They definitely possess a squad combined with experience and young legs and this is the time for them to lose their CHOKERS status.
  • Imran Tahir. Will he? Won't he? Period.
    • Most of their star players(Smith, Kallis, etc) are prone to injuries .Their loss might dent the team big time .
    • Their batting can be exposed while playing quality spin. Most of the teams possess a front-line spinner and playing in the sub-continent will definitely test their batting abilities.
    •  Spin will be key in this world cup, the Proteas have heavily backed Botha to be their no.1 man for the job, the third seamer be it Tsotsobe or Parnell dint have much success during their last tour to India. Adapting to sub-continent conditions will be high on their agenda.
      The team looks pretty competitive on paper and the same team pretty well when they toured the sub-continent. As Duncan Fletcher said, they are a team which can definitely make it till the end this time . They should hope that the LADY LUCK is with them and DUCKWORTH & LEWIS far away .

      January 17, 2011

      ICC World Cup 2011 - SWOT Analysis : INDIA

      © AFP
      Here at Wah! Cricket we predicted the selection of Indian squad for the upcoming cricket fiesta. And this is how the team selection as announced by the selection committee of the B.C.C.I.
      The team: MS Dhoni ©(Captain), V Sehwag (Vice-captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, R Ashwin, Piyush Chawla. 

      Instantly, when we compare it is clear that we expected 2 spinners and a back-up wicket keeper. Which is clearly not the thinking of the national team selectors . They've gone for 3 spinners and 4 seamers and beefed up the batting line-up undoubtedly. Noticable absentees include Pragyan Ojha and Rohit Sharma. The latter was not really a contender considering India has rarely played all the seniors in ODIs in the last 12-15 months. Pragyan Ojha probably the most unlucky member, considering 3 spinners were picked and Piyush Chawla and R.Ashwin got the nod ahead of him.

      • The selectors have gone all out and picked a healthy combo of youth and experience.
      • The depth in batting should make it one of the title contenders quite easily.
      • Home conditions should suit the Indian team.

      • The team has a lot of consistency issues be it with the bat or ball.
      • Absence of back-up for MSD might go on to hurt the team combination.
      • Since the team was giving chances to many young players throughout 2010 the team composition and batting order will be a head-ache for the management.

      • Virat Kohli had a dream 2010 season but, he played at no.3 which is most likely going to be given to a senior member in the team. Expect Kohli to make the playing XI anyways. He has the numbers, the game, you name it.
      • R.Ashwin, Piyush Chawla will play key roles acting deputy to Harbhajan in the spin department. Sub-continent conditions means both spinners featuring in their first world cup will have a major role to play.

      • The fitness concerns in the Indian camp don't seem to end.Everybody from the great man SRT to the Viru-Gauti jodi, ace spearhead Zak even likes of Praveen Kumar is carrying a niggle or out of action due to injury. A big name down on the eve of the match can hurt India's chances severly.
      • MSD will have some major choice making to do. Whether to play 2 seamers + 2 spinners or play 3 seamers + 1 spinner and rely on his part timers.
      • Yuvi will have his neck on the line with Kohli's consistent show in 2010. Between Yusuf and Yuvi or even a 5th bowler the team management has to make a tough call.
      Despite all the set backs, the 2011 World Cup being hosted in the sub-continent is a time for festive celebrations. A certain Mr. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar will be playing his 6th World Cup and still in search of the one missing memorabilia from his cupboard. After a short and not so sweet 2007 campaign in the West Indies for India the home conditions will be added pressure or a bonus feature only time will tell. 

      Wah! Cricket wishes MS Dhoni and his league of extra-ordinary gentlement "ALL THE BEST" for WC'11.

      January 16, 2011

      Sloshed Prediction-Indian WC'2011 squad.

      The big daddy of all the ODI tournaments is just round the corner and its time for their cricket board to send their best 15 to the sub-continent .The strategic,head breaking decisions must have done already and its time for all the boards to announce it in the following week. We have already done it and its time for us to announce it ;). Here's a look at the pick of the top most players from the 30 probables who shall make it to the final 15 . 

      OPENERS-Virender Sehwag,Sachin Tendulkar,Gautam Gambhir and Murali Vijay.
      Undoubtedly,the opening pair would be Viru and Sachin with Gauti batting 1 down.Considering the recent injury to Sachin means Gambhir shall come back to open with Sehwag.We don't see Murali Vijay making the cut as there are 3 openers already.

      MIDDLE ORDER- Virat Kohli,Yuvraj Singh,Rohit Sharma,Suresh Raina,Yusuf Pathan.
      I think except for Rohit Sharma, everbody else shall make the cut . Rohit Sharma has't proved much in the recent times for India. Maybe , he loves playing for Deccan Chargers . Yuvi has been useful bowling his pie chuckers and his half century in the previous match made his position strong. Yusuf too has been pretty good with his bowling , though not much with his bat ,except for his blazing ton against the Kiwis at B'lore.Kohli has been in supreme touch of late . Raina, by default is in . 

      WICKET-KEEPERS Mahendra-Captain Cool- Dhoni,Parthiv-Mini bullet-Patel,Wriddhiman-Buddhiman-Saha.
      Nothing to say about MSD. There will be a toss up between the other two.Parthiv Patel grabbed the oppurtunity with both his hands scoring consecutive half centuries and impressive keeping , while on the other hand,Saha did not impress with keeping and batting at all. Patel's batting is flexible as he can open and also bat in the middle order.

      SPINNERS - Harbhajan-Bhajji-Singh,Pragyan Ojha,Ravichandran Ashwin.
      Considering the spin options which the part timers provide , the chance of 2 front-line spinners playing is very less,unless played at very slow tracks .Chances are that , only 2 spinners will be picked in the squad. Bhajji, being an offie, and the off-break options provided by Yusuf and Raina ,chances of Ojha making the cut is more . Sorry Ashwin, not this time around . 

      PACERS-Zaheer Khan,Praveen Kumar,Ashish Nehra,Sreesanth,Munaf Patel.
      Zaheer has been the leader of the pack. No doubt about him being in the squad . Praveen Kumar has always been consistent. Ashish Nehra has been pretty good in the recent past too, although he has had his fair share of screwups.There is a stiff competiton between Sree and Munaf . Sree was excellent against the Kiwis and ofcourse , in the tests against Saffers . Munaf has been pretty consistent , picking up a wicket or two in every match . But ,we feel Sree might just sneak through.

      So that is it . The 15 players have been shortlisted and this is how it looks -
      11)Praveen Kumar
      12)Parthiv Patel
      15)Yusuf Pathan

      January 9, 2011

      The Good Bad and the Ugly

      Finally ,the so claimed next BIG thing after GOD(not read as sachin here), THE IPL is back and so are we . After all the hullabaloo,player retention controversies, team owner controversies,the IPL auction took place at Bengalooru without the ex-Kingpin-Lalit K Modi. There were a few good bids and a few shocking bids . Here listed are a few bids classified as the GOOD(total value for money),Bad( a little waste of money) and Ugly ( total waste of money ).

      THE GOOD

      1) Davy Jacobs - One of the best buy of the auction. It was one bloody hell of a steal for $190k. High stakes were expected of him considering his form in the Champs League . He is an opening bat as well as a keeper and an outstanding captain. Chennai almost bought him before MI raised the stakes and bought him. Well done MI!

      2) Kumar Sangakkara- A steal for $700k, considering the way money was thrown around. He can double up as a keeper as well as a number 3 bat. Not to forget his captaincy skills . He is a major utility player . Well done Deccan!

      3) Dan'The Man'Vettori- $550k! Can u beleive it . You cant get cheaper than that even in Clearance sale . World Class All rounder. Considering the fact that the matches are gonna be played in India,SPIN is the KING!. With his late order hitting and good captaincy skills , he is surely a match winner :).Well Done RCB!

      4) Shakib-Al Hasan- Yet another steal! Bangladesh Captain, who has literally revolutionized the team was picked for $425k.Yes,agreed that he is a Bangladesh cricketer , but he is the No.1 in the ICC All rounder ratings . KKR!

      5) Scotty Styris and Dwayne Bravo - Two match winners , having a tough time presently , but to get them $200k, who would say NO.Good job CSK !

      6)Charles Langeveldt- At $140k , he was a terrific buy . He is one of the best bowlers at death presently , though , very underrated.

      THE BAD

      1) Umesh Yadav - $750,000. Who the hell is he ?? Seriously . Delhi Daredevils!

      2) Subramaniam Badrinath-$800,000. Kochi sensed CSK's desparation after their strategy became an open book and started chasing Badri which finally ended up at 800,000.Happy New Year Badri.

      3) The Pathan Bros. - $4million. Do they even know the number of 0s in it . Let them be good players , but 4mn is almost like half the total budget . A bad buy for sure . 2.1 for Yusuf and 1.9 for Irfy , who haven't shown much promise after the first IPL season.But thanks Irfy , you made sure CSK lifted the trophy :)

      THE UGLY

      1) Joginder Sharma and Sudeep Tyagi- What a waste of $390,000. Period .

      2) Ravindra Jadeja - What were the numbskulls even thinking ? Do they even watch T20s? For $950,000, even his parents wont buy him.

      3) Saurabh Tiwary- !!SHOCKER!! . Agreed he's a young talent and all other crap,but,$1.6million for a guy who bats  at 6 . The Owners must be crazy.

      4) Gautham Gambhir - Maybe the KKR team weren't off the hangover while bidding for Gambhir. A record buy of 2.4million for a single dimensional,injury prone player . Even Viru would be cursing him now .

      5) Mahela Jayawardene- Again a front line batsman, overpriced at $1.5million.

      6) Dan Christian - Who ???? Wonder what made them bid so much for him . His stats aren't impressive . Waste of $900,000.

      And few more players add up to each of the categories . But the thing which we have to look forward is , Does any team buy Saurav ' Dada' Ganguly off the auction. Overall,the teams looks good . Kochi were mindfucked and were on lookout bolwers,forgetting T20( esp. in India) is a batsman's game.Chennai went on go for the same players, which was the smartest thing to do . Keeping their faith in their players(even Jogi and Tyagi). KKR and RCB opted for a totally new look team. Mumbai Indians look like a Juggernaut on the paper. Time will tell, which owner succeeded and which owner sucked.