As the ICC T20 World Cup draws closer, Cricket fanatics across the world are growing restless. March 16th is the day they all await.
The tournament is to be held in Bangladesh this year. 16 national teams will be vying to win the coveted trophy. First time entrants Nepal will have a tough job infront of them as they will have to play against teams far stronger than them both in terms of player quality and financial investment.
Sri Lanka’s strength in T20 can be aptly judged as they currently lead the ICC T20 ranking. Kumar Sangakara, Angelo Mathews, Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga and a host of other stars flood the team. All of them play important roles for their teams in the domestic T20 leagues.
Defending Champions West Indies are at fifth. But their presence in the T20 format cannot be undermined due to the presence of hard hitting batsmen and trickiest of bowlers. Not much is required to be said about the likes of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Darren Sammy. They just might successfully defend their title if they overcome injury troubles and don’t crumble under pressure.
Former Champions India, who won the inaugural ICC T20WC in 2007, will be also be contesting in order to regain their title. After winning the World Cup in the fifty overs format and the Champions Trophy, there will be high expectations from the Men in Blue. With a combination of youth in the squad and expert tactical knowledge in MS Dhoni, nothing less than a tournament win is expected from the squad. The Indians will be a powerful team to play against keeping in mind the sub continental conditions in Bangladesh with pitches that favour spin bowling. Bowling will remain an issue but the team will be banking on batsmen to get them through.
Australia is banking on the experience of Brad Hogg and Brad Hodge; aged 43 and 39 respectively, the choice of players has shown that Australians will be pushing for their first ICC T20 WC title. Brad Hogg’s spin bowling will be of immense help and will serve both as offence and defence. Brad Hodge’s experience, not only as the stalwart in T20 but also with ‘Barisal Burners’ in Bangladesh, will be invaluable. Shane Watson, Cameron White, David Warner, Mitchell Johnson will have to play to perfection if they want to lift the trophy.
England have a fair chance with the likes of Stuart Broad, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara and Tim Bresnan in the squad. The squad will be missing out on the explosiveness of Kevin Pietersen but the younger players will be keen to make their mark.
Prospects of South Africa are very positive as well with heavy weight performances put in by the squad all throughout the year. With ample depth in the batting and bowling ranks, they are among the favourites as well.
Pakistan (Champions 2009), New Zealand will be expected to put up a strong fight as well.
Hosts Bangladesh are tenth in the table. Bangladesh will have the home advantage which they should utilize to the maximum.
For teams like Netherlands, Afganisthan, Honkong, Zimbabwe, and Nepal it will always be an uphill task to etch out wins against the stronger test playing nations.
Ireland have been alive in the cricketing scenario for long as they have slowly yet steadily utilized the talent and resources available and they can be marked as the Dark Horse in this edition of the WC.
Cricket is an unpredictable game. Hence there are no favourites. All that can be promised is the adrenaline from fours and sixes, the disappointing and joyous moments of a fallen wicket, the buoyant fielding and the moments of victory and loss.
This shorter version of the tournament has been of immense of help to non- test playing nations. The fifty overs world cup being held every four years, the weaker cricketing nations had little chance of performing at the international level. Now with the T20 world cup and the ample opportunities to play in various domestic T20 leagues across the world, the players are receiving immense exposure to international conditions and players with different talents and skill sets. T20 has been the most successful form promotion of cricket.
With only 20 days remaining, it’s the perfect world for cricket fans!