THE COUNT DOWN HAS BEGUN, it is hardly a week left now for the first match to start. A few teams are already there and some are about to fly and reach the Caribbean to play the 3rd T20 WC tournament. Pakistan are title holders and champions of the world in this format. Its no fluke that they’ve won the championship last year in England, they were the finalist in the first T20 WC in South Africa and lost to India in a tense final.
This time Shahid Afridi who played the vital roles in the previous two tournaments is Captain of the Pakistan team and is very confident of retaining the Cup. But, there are many a slip between the lip and the cup, so lets see what happens next.
He is looking ahead and seems more determined than ever. In his interview he has asked the media to remain positive and also asked the nation to pray for the team’s performance. But, that is not the only criteria that will make them the world champions, they have to play like professionals and take every game seriously. They are already without their ace bowler Umar Gul due to an injury. The injury could have been avoided if the coach, trainers and selectors have not gone for such rigorous training before a big event. This was bound to happen that a few players would be left out due to injuries. India is without their ace opener Sehwag. There are rumours about his injuries which may or many not be true that he is once again in conflict with Dhoni.
Like most people say that T20 is more like a lottery and any team can win this game. It may be true but, Pakistan can prove it wrong if they win the Cup again. Because, the odds of winning a lottery for the same team again and again are very minimal and they can justify by saying that they play this game with a lot of passion and emotions. If it is just a lottery then, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe can also win or at least reach the finals, but that doesn’t happen. There has to be a certain level of professionalism, quality, skills and temperament that is needed and not just luck. Luck may play its part but, only to a certain extent when the match is very, very close. Once again it is the nerves of steel that wins the game.
Australia has started taking this T20 game more seriously than it used to and they have a very good and balanced team now. Especially their fast bowlers are the best in the world. Shaun Tait, Mictchel Johnson, Bollinger, and Watson are in good form. Its a shame that Harris couldn’t find a place in their squad. Their openers, Werner and Watson have been doing wonders, their middle order is also very stable in MJ Clarke, Cameron White and the two Hussies and not to mention the agile wicketkeeper Haddin. It is very likely that they will win the cup this time or at least reach the finals.
India has always been a very good team on paper but, they have been playing too much cricket and like last time they might end up somewhere even before reaching the semis. Especially since Sehwag is not there and Gambhir et Yuvi both not in good nick, I wonder how many times Raina and Yousuf Pathan would be able to pull out a magic card out of their sleeves to take India home? Vijay, Rohit, Jadeja et all cannot be the same as Sehwag.
Pakistan may not win the cup this time, although I want them to win but it is like if wishes were horses…….? The reason is not because of the law of averages but, because the team is not balanced. I would have never included Salman Butt in the side, instead I would have opted for Shahzaib Hasan Khan or even Imran Nazir.
South Africa have the most balanced side but, there is one word that separates them from the rest and that is they carry the “Chokers” tag.
Sri Lanka and New Zealand are playing the first match and it is good that they are in the same side both teams are similar at the moment perhaps Sri Lanka has an edge. But, NZ on their day can beat any team in the world. The out of form Jacob Oram is roaring to go and play big shots but, it is Taylor and McCullum who will be dominating their batting prowess and a lot depends on them.
England are not so good in this T20 format but, they can surprise many a teams even Pakistan i.e., if they play against them, I can be sure that they will win. But, it all depends on KP and Collingwood.
West Indies may not win the cup as no host country has ever won the cup be it ODI or T20 but, their three players, Chris Gayle, Bravo and Pollard are in great form and they can destroy and ruin the opposition.
Now it is up to the bloggers to decide and predict which team will win the cup and who will be the semi-finalists and finalists etc.