It is a well-known fact that every world sporting tournament needs a Group of Death. This one might as well be it this time around. OK it’s a two horse race but surely this group is more likely to produce a winner than Group A.
Each of these sides is a potential champion but, as always, the fixture of pool play would be the India v Pakistan match which, as always, is being played at Edgbaston.
It was only a few weeks ago that the Mumbai Mirror was reporting that India may pull out of this tournament because people were saying nasty things.
In fact India are not that popular at the moment. Bullying at the top table, non acceptance of the DRS, and a really tainted last instalment of the IPL have left a sour taste in the mouth all round.
Having said that, on the field they are pretty handy, are good to watch and happen to be the number one ranked team in this format at the moment. This is the first outing on the international stage of a side fully built around the younger IPL generation of Kolhi, Raina, Rohit, Karthik etc. At last, Dohni has his side.
Of interest will be to see how these players adopt to the England conditions, away from the comforts of the IPL
On one hand if they were to triumph we will be treated to some great cricket, but they will not be popular champions to most neutrals. And that cement company does not need the win.
The cliché is that things will depend on which Pakistan turns up. In this case, that is the case even more than normal. Pakistan just doesn’t get to play much in this international climate.
But Pakistan adds so much to international cricket and seem to be unfazed by this ostracism. For example, this time around they are captained by Misbah-ul-Haq, who is 39. Sadly, there is no Gul or Afridi in England, but in Mohammed Hafeez they have one of the most influential ODI cricketers going around.
You just know they will be in the highlights package. Although fielding is likely to be a worry.
Once again they are entering a World ODI tournament as the favourites (although still paying $5), and stacked with world class players. And once again the world waits to see what wonderful new way they will find to bow out.
That conveniently ignores the fact they won the inaugural instalment of this particular tournament; perhaps if they were to win its last instalment that would counter-balance that World Cup comedy acts nicely.
Despite the undisputed quality of Amla, De Villiers and Steyn to name three there is the suspicion the side is a bit cobbled together with not a lot of depth. No team can expect to lose the experience of Kallis and Smith (in the early stages anyway) and carry on as if nothing has happened. It wasn’t the losses , but the familiarity about the way they crumbled against New Zealand in January that brought back memories.
On the other hand, you would not want to write off the Windies in a hurry. They flew under the radar a bit to take out last year’s T20 World Cup.
But with Gayle, Narine, a couple of Bravos and Kieron Pollard they boast more players who can win a match single-handedly than any other side. However single-handed match-winners are more of a T20 than 50 over thing. So that’s their test.
They also have Tino Best. Tino Best is the best angry little fast bowler going around.