Just a month to go to the World Cup, and even though my official position is apathy, I’m still a blogger at heart. Let’s review some of the squads that have been announced. There are 14 teams playing, but let’s dispatch with the minnows for now and focus on some non-Asian teams: West Indies, England and South Africa.
1. The West Indies
I doubt this team will head anyone’s table, but any outfit that includes Gayle, Sarwan, Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo is a force to be reckoned with. Add Pollard to this mix, and you have a strong batting line-up that could handle India’s batting-friendly pitches. I’m just concerned about the bowling, which is generally inexperienced. The spin department is weak (Benn has just played 18 matches, but Miller seems promising), and the pace side includes a debutant (Andre Russell). Questions: why no Jerome Taylor or D. Ramdin?
I like this team a lot, though that’s mostly because of Ashes fever. Still, you have a good batting mix that brings stalwarts like Trott and Strauss together with Morgan and Prior. The bowling is a bit of a worry: Anderson has an impressive average (30ish), but is expensive (5ish). You have a great bowler in Swann, but I don’t like either Tredwell or Yardy. And don’t get me started on Luke Wright (bowling average of 51, batting ave. of 21). If the batting doesn’t click, the pressure on the bowling may be too much to handle.
3. South Africa
Great openers in Smith and Amla, and solid batsmen in Kallis and de Villiers to shore things up. But I worry about Duminy, du Plessis and Ingram — the last two are still new to the international scene, and the World Cup is a tough first assignment. As for bowling: no one can argue with Steyn, Morkel and Botha (hey, he’s better than that guy they use in Tests). Imran Tahir intrigues me, but I don’t know what impact he’ll have as a newbie. I’m not sure this is the team to break the infamous jinx.
These roundups also raise a bigger question: what formula works in the subcontinent World Cup? Feel free to let me know.