Bangladesh

World Cup 2015 Preview

The I.C.C World Cup kicks off on Friday 13th February, where India will be looking to retain their crown.

The I.C.C World Cup kicks off on Friday 13th February, where India will be looking to retain their crown.

The Cricket World Cup 2015 is almost upon us. Fourteen teams from across the globe will be competing for crickets top prize. With cricket’s biggest event under a month away, the team here at Asian Sunday we thought that we would get you into the cricket world cup spirit.

We take a look at England’s preparation for the tournament as well as the Asian nations as well. Sri Lanka kick the tournament off against in form co hosts New Zealand on 14th February.

This years tournament, just like previous tournaments will see two groups of seven which will also include qualifiers of the round robin event to qualify for the tournament. Afghanistan, Ireland, UAE and Scotland were the teams to qualify through the round robin event.

Pool A consists of: England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Afghanistan , Scotland.

Pool B consists of: South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland , UAE .

Pool A Review:

Group A sees England in a very difficult group. The three Lions will be joined by Australia the team with the most world cup trophies (four) , in form New Zealand, Bangladesh, T2O winners Sri Lanka, Scotland and the very dangerous to underestimate Afghanistan.

With the first four teams from each group going through to the super eight phase, on paper you would expect England, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka to all progress to the next round. The gulf of class between the more experienced teams shall we say and the so called smaller sides is still big – but surprises do happen such as Ireland beating Pakistan in the 2007 tournament. It will have to take a surprise of extreme proportions for one of the qualifiers to qualify, which we don’t see happening .

England who have been marred by controversy off the field such as Kevin Pieterson’s criticism of the England set up, in the media and in his auto biography, hasn’t helped their preparation. On the pitch however England’s form has been poor which lead to Alistair Cook been replaced as captain by Eoin Morgan.

The Dubliner who replaced Cook due to the test captains poor form in one day internationals, hasn’t faired much better himself with the bat – but the 28 year old does have a good scoring average as captain and did hit a 100 in a losing cause in the match against Australia last week . A brilliant nine wicket win against India, should given Morgan confidence in his ability as a one day leader for England.

The Three Lions have taken a good squad with them with a mixture of ‘big hitters’ and ‘sensible batters’. Some may argue the exclusion of Ben Stokes is a mistake – but the Durham man’s bowling looks to have counted against him.

The ‘smaller nations ‘ if you can call them that I am afraid haven’t closed the gap yet – but countries such as Afghanistan, UAE and Ireland for example can only beat the best if they compete against the best.

The Afghan’s in particular have impressed in World Cups, Asghar Stanikzai is a player that caught our eye in the last tournament, Mohammed Shazhad is another who has impressed for the Afghans. The Achilles heel for the Afghans has been their fielding – and the Asian side will have to improve on that if they are to compete in matches in this World Cup.

Sri Lanka the T20 winners have struggled in the build up to the World Cup. The current series against New Zealand has been a difficult one – but the Sri Lankan’s have a lot of talent at their disposal – and not to forget the legendary Mahela Jayawardena and his partner in crime Kumar Sangakarra. I don’t think they need to worry to much, ideally though the Asian side would love to carry a winning momentum into the tournament.

Bangladesh the other Asian side in the group, unfortunately I think will not get past the first round. Off the field issues in The Tigers build up to the tournament hasn’t been ideal build up.

Teams we predict To Qualify From Group A:

Australia (Winners)
New Zealand (Runners Up)
Sri Lanka
England

Pool B Review:

Defending champions India, start their defence against arch rivals Pakistan on 15th February in a mouth watering game. The defending champions since their title 2011 win have gone onto to dominate recent tournaments. An ICC Champions Trophy and a runners up spot in the T20 World final emphasise the dominance the South Asians have had in recent years.

India’s preparation for the tournament hasn’t been the best however. The defending world champions have lost their last two games, which is never ideal. With superstars such as Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and not to forget to mention Suresh Raina it can be argued that the Indian’s have an embarrassment of riches.

Their opening game against Pakistan won’t be easy due to the way these matches have always been well contested – but the Indian’s haven’t lost to their fierce rivals in World Cup games.

Pakistan who will be facing arch rivals in the first match of their world cup campaign, come into this tournament with not as much cricket as their rivals. Matches against England and Bangladesh, just before the tournament starts could help the 1992 champions get into the right mindset.

The Pakistani’s forever known to be unpredictable, were rocked at the start of the tournament with the news that star spinner Saed Ajmal will miss the tournament as the 34 year looks to correct his illegal bowling action. The inclusion of all rounder Mohammed Hafeez who has also been reported for his action is a plus – but the 34 year old is expected to be just a batsmen for the tournament.

With the other teams including South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland; UAE and that the first four qualify, you would expect a safe passage through to the super eights for both Asian sides .

The Teams We Predict To Qualify From Group B

India ( Group Winners)
South Africa (Runners Up)
Pakistan
West Indies

Our Verdict :

The 2015 tournament promises to be a good one. Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan will no doubt feel they could go all the way and win the tournament. Australia the most successful side in the history of the tournament might have their work cut out in this tournament as they look to add to their four world cup wins.

India will feel they have something to say about, the defending world champions who have won the title twice and will be seen as favourites for this tournament by many , ourselves included. The beauty of sport and in particular sports tournaments – they’re never won on paper – but rather on the sports field.

New Zealand who will look to bring their good form to the world cup will be a potential dark horse. A team with Brendan McCullum in it, definitely has a chance of being successful, the Black Caps have never got past the semi-final – but maybe this team can?

England and Sri Lanka will be seen as outsiders by many – but both have good enough good squads to cause some surprises in the latter stages. Sri Lanka will be looking to give the legendary pair of Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardena a fitting send off, who most definitely will be playing in their last world cups.

The World cup starts on the 14th of February and finishes on the 29th of March.

Afghanistan,Bangladesh And The Other Cricketing ‘Minnows’ Can Compete With Worlds Best

Shakib Al Hassan seems like a 'big fish in a small pond' as far as the Bangladesh cricket team is concerned.

Shakib Al Hassan seems like a ‘big fish in a small pond’ as far as the Bangladesh cricket team is concerned.

Cricket has one underlining quality in my eyes – the fact that it can spring up surprises. Bangladesh have surprised the cricketing ‘heavyweights’ in the past as Australia and Pakistan have succumbed to the ‘Tigers’. As much potential as Bangladesh have, their test record has been very disappointing as far as wins are concerned.

The 2-0 test series win over Zimbabwe is always good for confidence – but with all due respect the Zimbabwean’s are a far cry of the team that had the Flower brothers. In any sport the same does apply, ‘you can only beat what’s in front of you’. Bangladesh have done just that to their credit.

‘Minnows’ such as Holland, Afghanistan, Scotland and Ireland are looking to get into the test arena. Heavy defeats by the so called ‘heavy weights’ haven’t helped in the one day arena, so reluctance by the International Cricket Council or the I.C.C as they are also known as, is understandable.

Such a predicament reminds of football and that of San Marino, the part timers are constantly on the end of an absolute ‘hiding’ from opposition – but footballs governing body persists with keeping San Marino as a football nation, despite the outcries from many that feel San Marino should partake in qualifiers before the world cup qualifiers.

I am a big believer in time – and that certain things just take time. Countries such as Holland and all the other so called minnows as mentioned, need time- time to grow and develop, if that’s the right way to put it.

Countries such as England and Australia for example have got an array of facilities, something which sides like Afghanistan and Bangladesh might not be. Bangladesh and Afghanistan have shown on the worlds biggest stage that they are capable of beating the big sides, or in Afghanistan’s case at least competing with them.

Cricket needs to open it’s doors to the other nations that aren’t already in the top 10, cricket has done in the T20 and One day arena- but if cricket is going to expand the smaller nations need to be involved in that expansion and that involves all forms of cricket.

Afghanistan and Bangladesh do have some talented players, Shakib Al-Hassan joining an elite club of all-rounders to score a hundred and get 10 wickets in same match. The others players were Ian Botham and Imran Khan.

Asghar Stanikzai for Afghanistan had a good world cup, he really impressed me, Mohammed Shazhad a powerful wicket-keeper batsmen also had a good tournament. Cricket has been a bit slow to react to expansion- but now the cricket authorities are reacting, the ‘smaller cricket’ nations will need time to develop.

‘Patience is a virtue’ they say , crickets authorities need just that- patience because I am sure we will see some great talent bless the test circuit and cricket will be a lot better for it.