Monday, 14 March 2011

Asian Mondays by Tim Holt

As the World Cup gets to the sharp end of Qualifying we have three of the Asian Teams in Sri Lanka,India and Pakistan virtually assured of making the Quarter Finals.Then Bangladesh has finally found a pulse and also has a chance.
So lets look at the Teams and their present state and past performances.

The Tigers have looked dreadful all Tournament culminating in their truly insipid performance against the West Indies.They looked a Team that was suffering with dealing with the spotlight that goes with expectation.Plus their batting has been shown up to be too reliant on Shakib al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal to get winning scores.All the batsmen have shown an immaturity and petulance in their play with too many wickets gifted to the opposition.The bowling which also looked dreadful has come around lead by the efforts of the impressive Shafiul Islam and the spinners are starting to improve.
We had them dead to rights in the Tournament.Though then came the England game and the Bangladesh we envisaged before the Tournament with their bowlers performing very well.Highlighted by their spinners strangling the life out of the Poms.Then the batting rather than it's usual 'hari kari' suicidal tendencies.They gained great respect by running down England's total on a tricky pitch and now have their destiny in their own hands.
They have the Netherlands today and then South Africa with their main competitor in England facing a revitalised and dangerous West Indies line up.So if as expected Bangladesh account for the Dutch today and the Windies beat England.The Tigers will not need to beat the South African's to qualify

Looking Forward-
I can see the Tigers qualifying and then based on their spin factor.If they face a non Asian Team in the Quarters they have a chance to go forward.Though the key is support for Tamim and Shakib in the batting

Key Men-
Junaid Siddiqui and Imrul Kayes need to lift to take pressure off Tamim and Shakib in the batting


How can you judge the Indian's?
For against a quality South African Team they came up just a tad short.
So do we laud their performance and bemoan their luck or pick their deficiencies apart?
In truth im putting off doing my housework so ill do both!

Pluses from South African Game
-The top three in Sehwag,Tendulkar and Gambhir are class with a capitol C and are threatening to rip up the World Cup.Tendulkar in particular is the 2003 World Cup vintage.
-In Zaheer,you have a reliable strikebowler and very astute bowler when Teams are attacking.
-Harbhahjan has looked very determined,resourceful and bowled well

Minuses from South African Game
-The implosion of the Indian middle and lower order gave rise to claims in a few quarters that many are flat track bullies.In terms of being suspect against class bowling.This is a huge worry for there might come a time when their needed to perform
-Dhoni's Captaincy is complete and utter rubbish!-As highlighted in the last over in this epic match being bowled by Nehra.Rather than Harbhahjan,who the South African's had struggled to get away.
-The bowling is too weak to win the World Cup.Unless someone lifts mightily!

A more pressing concern is the linking of India with Bookmakers (video below) with a noted one being seen in their dressing room during a game.India needs this like a hole in the head...........!

Going Forward
So the rumour aside and back to the World Cup and their prospects going forward.They have already qualified for the Quarters its just a point of where they finish.More than likely it will be either 2nd or 3rd depending on their huge clash with the West Indies.Which they'd be favourites to win,but the Windies have a Team that could ruffle a few Indian feathers.Especially if Kemar Roach can get the top order cheaply and then Chris Gayle decides to have 'fun' with the weak Indian bowling.

Key Men-
I can't for the life of me understand how Sreesanth isn't in this Team.For if he performs as he can.He'd be the strike bowler that could compliment India's batting.Thus giving them a chance to win the World Cup

Things aren't looking good for Pakistan in the wake of the implosion against New Zealand.That was highlighted by the bumbling incompetence of Kamran Akmal's keeping.The bowling being shown up as reliant on too few as well as the batting.More worrying is the fall out since with the spectre of the Akmal's rising.This with most in Pakistani circles calling justifiably for Kamran's head and then others fighting tooth and nail to keep him....So in the midst of this his touted replacement in his brother Umar has got an 'injury'.Which will stop him from keeping and save Kamran's place.
You wouldn't want to be a cynic or you'd see that injury as suspect................
The batting needs to be strengthened with Asad Shafique being a ready made replacement in the top order.Then Younis Khan should bat at three.
As for the bowling............
Well Shoaib against New Zealand was terrible,but on his performances in the World Cup so far well grant him a bad performance.Aside from Umer Gul,the rest got mauled by the Kiwis....
So Saeed Ajmal should be included and maybe Junaid Khan looked at if Ahktar's struggles continue

Going Forward:
The Team in truth looks like imploding................
So this is Pakistan so that will more than likely mean them losing to Zimbabwe today and then mauling Australia in their last game.......
Seriously though if they have desires to do well Kamran Akmal has to go...........

Key Men-
The Pakistani selectors....For if they persist with Kamran then Pakistan are playing with fire and will get burnt!

Sri Lanka
Will probably finish top of their group and have a Team that is a favourite for the Cup.
So things are great for the 20 million cricket crazy Sri Lankan's!

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