My Random World Cup Predictions

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If you love cricket like me then you probably can’t wait until the start of the cricket world cup. Here are some of my random predictions as to what may happen. These will be reviewed after the world cup to see how well or badly I have guessed. Please feel free to add your own random predictions:

1. Tournament winners: Australia

2. Runners Up: South Africa

3. Captain who scores the most runs: AB de Villiers

4. Most Runs: Hashim Amla

5. Leading Wicket Taker: Morne Morkel

6. Surprise Package: Scotland

7. Surprise Package Player: Corey Anderson (New Zealand)

8. Under achieving side: West Indies

9. India v Pakistan match?: India

10. First player to retire after/during the tournament: MS Dhoni

Write your random predictions below:

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Cricket World Cup Squads & Predictions (Group A)

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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.

Australia:

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

England:

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

Sri Lanka:

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

Bangladesh:

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

New Zealand:

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.

Bell, Bopara & Cook all playing for their places?

Alastair Cook and Ian Bell in action during the second ODI against West Indies

England travel to Sri Lanka on the back of two ODI series losses. This series is key to the squads preparation for the upcoming world cup which starts in February. Unlike the majority of international sides England have lots and lots of questions to answer before the world cup starts.

India, Australia and South Africa for example have had a settled squad in place for the last two or three years, whilst England have chopped and changed and then brought the original guys back into the fold. It is a very English problem that the side faces. Like many of England’s past sides they do not have players of the same experience as the other sides. This is not due to them having a young squad it is due to the constant experimenting to the ODI side.

Bopara is probably England’s most experienced ODI player now, yet he is inexplicably dropped from the summer’s series against India and Sri Lanka. The reason given was that they wanted to experiment with pace bowling. Ian Bell is another who seems to have been around for ever, yet I can not remember an ODI series where he has been the best batsman for England.

I do not blame either Bopara or Bell, I blame the lack of clear leadership in English cricket, particularly for the shorter forms of the game. Conversely to Bell and Bopara we have England captain Alistair Cook. It is very clear to all that he is only in the side because he is the captain. If he once again fails in Sri Lanka will the selectors make the right call? I somehow doubt it.

In the eyes of the selection committee I fell Alistair Cook can do no wrong. For England’s sake I hope they come to their senses and relieve him of all captaincy matters. He should go back to batting only in test cricket, where he is an undoubted star when the captaincy pressure is off.

Who opens for England? The answer can’t be answered without mentioning Alex Hales. Surprisingly he only played in the India series, but will feature up the top. If England did not stumble on his re-selection we probably would have seen Bell and Cook again opening, ZZzzzzzz..

Bopara, Broad, Root, Morgan, Voakes, Jordan and Butler have to play. Anderson deserves one last chance in the world cup, although he has never cut it at ODI level. Especially in the sub continent, so another poor showing in Sri Lanka before the world cup may do him more harm than good. Another key player for England is Moin Ali, he has to play but in my eyes can be assisted by another spinner. Ali is now a genuine all rounder, so play him as a batsman that bowls not the other way around.

Ali opens for England in T20 cricket so why can he not do the same in the ODI squad?

The Sri Lanka series will be very interesting to see how England line up. Lets hope they pick the best side and not the side that are most chummy with the coach.

Where does Raina stand now?

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It is now nine years since Suresh Raina made his international début for India. When he burst on the scene he was touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket. Despite playing international cricket for such a prolonged period he still does not fill the Indian public with confidence every time he steps out to bat. Not like the belief that the fans have with players such as Dhoni or Virat Kohli.

I am a fan of Raina, but even I cant defend his continuous selection in the Indian side. He got the first opportunity out of the younger generation to fill the test spot vacated by Ganguly. Despite scoring one hundread and seven fifty plus scores in his seventeen games, he was found out. It was a shame that he struggled so much against short pitch bowling, if he could concur this he would have lasted longer in test cricket. His stock in terms of test cricket has fallen away totally, to such an extent that he is not being mentioned anymore. In some ways his career has gone a similar way to Yuvraj Singh.

In one day international cricket Raina has been part of one of India’s greatest side. This and his great fielding is probably what has kept him in the side for so long. He has not made one position his own, batting at number four or five. It is a key position for India going into the next world cup. The position requires him to perform one of two roles. The first being the rescue man, if India lose three early wickets it would be his job to steady the ship. The second function is to score quick runs down the order. He is an expert at the later but does not fill anyone with confidence in the first situation.

With a great batsman like Dhoni lower in the order it now seems that Raina’s position in ODI cricket could be under threat. MSD could easily move up the order and another genuine all-rounder could come into the side. A poor series against New Zealand has not helped his cause, add the fact that he has only three ODI centuries to his name despite playing over one hundread and eighty ODI’s.

He still is one of India’s best players at T20 level and should not be removed from this post. I suggest a little time out of the side will not hurt Raina, every time players such as Yuvraj and Zaheer Khan have been dropped they have come back better. This may be the same case for the dynamic fielder. If his form continues to be poor and he doesn’t get dropped then it could really harm the side going forward to next years world cup.