It’s four years since the last cricket world cup, hasn’t that time gone fast. We have seen the retirement of many players since the last world cup including Sachin Tendulkar, Graeme Smith and Jaques Kallis. This tournament will be the last time you will see Jayawardena, Sangakara and most probably MS Dhoni. Here is a small preview of key men to watch out for and my predictions for each team.
Star Man: Mitchell Johnson
Watch Out For: Mitchell Starc – He is just waiting to explode to the next level
A youthful but very experience Australia squad has been picked. They have explosive batsmen throughout the side, mixed in with good allrounders and fast bowlers who know the conditions well. They are rightly the favourites for the competition. Lets hope Michael Clark is fit enough to play, as he is a top player. All the players have played in both the Big Bash and IPL. Letting them bat first could give any team a major headache. Predictions: Winners
Star Man: Moeen Ali
Watch Out For: Jos Butler – Could this be his time to show the world what we have seen brief glimpses of?
England go into the tournament as outsiders. They had selection issues involving the captain Alistair Cook. He is now disposed as the captain (rightly so). A lot will depend on the middle order, Bopara, Butler, Broad and Jordan will all have to play well for England to do anything. Morgan was also off form while Joe Root will require help from his team mates, as he has been carrying the side along with Ali. England will either fall at the group stage or go quite far, I feel the earlier. Predictions: Quater Finals
Star Man: Mahela Jayawerdene
Watch Out For: Dinesh Chandimal – It seems we are still waiting for the undoubted talent to step up to the level of past great Sri Lankan players
Do not write Sri Lanka off ever. They have this habit of getting to big finals and loosing. With players such as Sangakara and Jayawerdene in the side they have the quality to beat any team. Where they are lacking is the bowling department. Hearth and Kulasekara are decent but have no one to back them up. They also have an ageing squad, expect them to not be as good in the field as past Sri Lankan sides. Prediction: Quater Finals
Star Man: Shakib Al Hassan
Watch Out For: Tamin Iqbal – Still amazingly only 25 years of age, he has not done it in a while. We all know what he can do when he gets it right.
It will be hard for Bangladesh to make a positive impact on this tournament, due to the very different conditions. They do have a talented side all of whom are still young. I still can’t believe that Shakib is only 27 years old, on his day he is one of the worlds best allrounders. Predictions: Group Stage
Star Man: Brendon McCullum
Watch Out For: Corey Anderson – An exciting allrounder
Home advantage will help New Zealand. I feel this is the best limited overs side that they have produced since I can remember. They are a side that is hard to beat and with players such as McCullum in their side they can be explosive. A lot will depend on Boult and Southee to get the bowling off to a good start. Taylor and Williamson will have to play well in the middle order too. Predictions: Semi Finals
NB: Afghanistan & Scotland also in this group
For group B click here.