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14 Feb 2011

Ian Chappell has his favourite 5 that can win the cup; what about Pakistan?

This post refers to the article by Ian Chappell on ESPNCricinfo.

I don't blame Ian Chappell. He made his suggestion on the basis of the current form of the teams. Most of the cricket pundits also make their predictions based on the facts and figures, but many times, cricket speaks beyond the language of stats and mathematics.

Who had ever thought Sri Lanka to win the world cup 1996? I bet most of you hadn't expected that, unless you are a Sri Lankan. Think about how India won the cup in 1983. Were they the favorite? I guess no. The history of world cup witnesses the famous victory by non-favorite over the favorite. Cricket is an unpredictable game, where the best team on the particular day wins.

India and Sri Lanka are definitely the favourites...
Ian Chappell has his own view while  selecting the top 5 probables as the world champions. He has India on the top of the list based on their current form and the team selection. India have        undeniably the best batting lineup with likes of Tendulkar and Sehwag as the strong pillars. India have also got good stocks of spinners, with the warm-up match sensation Piyush Chawla likely to make impacts. The other factor supporting them is being the joint-organizer that means India will also have a home advantage. Sri Lanka can be ranked on the same stage as India. They have the best spin attack with Muralidharan, Mendis and Herath as the main weapons. The batting side include Sangakkara and Jayawardene, difficult players to bowl to when in prime form. India and Sri Lanka both have the good teams with experience in playing at sub-continent pitches.

But Australia and England are not..
Now, I think both Australia and England could not be placed above Pakistan in favoritism. Forget how Australia performed in the recent ODI series against England. England were already a handicapped team by the time Aussies won the series. Australia team for the world cup have many loopholes in it. The mid-order batting line up is very fragile. There is no Mike Hussey, and other batsmen seem vulnerable against spin attack. See, how the batting line up deteriorated against Indian spin in the warm-up matches. Aussies bowling attack lacks quality spinners. Australia just pray Krezja could repeat his last test performance against India, when he took 7 wickets.

England...on what basis can I refer them as a favorite? The team looked solid in the Ashes tour, but the series of injuries to the trump players faded their hope of world cup. Eoin Morgan is out, Graeme Swann, Stuard Broad, Tim Bresnan are unfit. In this circumstance, England might feel difficult to field good 11 for the game. England had always suffered against spinners in the subcontinents. The current English team is not actually tested against quality spin. The thing that is disturbing me in English selection is the absence of good spinners. How can they expect to bowled out 11 opponent batsmen in a spin friendly pitches with one unfit Swann and another average bowler Yardy.

Can't write off Pakistan
Pakistan is definitely in my list of favorite for the world cup. Why Pakistan? This team consists of the players, who haven't played in their home soil since debut. These players are tested against swing bowlers in England, pace attack in South Africa and New Zealand. Despite losing most of the games, this team has become stronger in attitude and passion. They have players who can attack spinners. They have spinners, who have a power to turn the game in favor of them and they also have a good pace attack.

South Africa is also in the race
South Africa is running in the race of championship as well...and for the first time, I could not write off Bangladesh's chance too. So, my favourite 5 for this world cup will be:

1. India
2. Sri Lanka
3. Pakistan
4. South Africa
5. Australia, Bangladesh (or England)

People might think that I am playing safely by choosing 7 teams in place of 4. As I said in the beginning, the best team of the day, each and every team has the equal chance of becoming the champion. Give me your favourite.

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