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by djp

With 2 World Cups coming up, this could be South Africa’s year.. Or Australia’s.. Or England’s.. Or New Zealand’s..

January 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

With the cricket world cup looming in Feb and the RWC later on this year, 4 countries have a chance to hold both trophies for the next 4 years and even though there are other teams involved in both competitions, New Zealand, England, Australia & South Africa should back themselves to atleast have 1 of the 2 prestigious trophies come the end of the year.

Cricket World Cup

With the CWC its not as “cut and dry” as it would be in the RWC’s case. I mean if none of the 4 teams don’t win competition or don’t even make the semis, the world will still go round and round because that would mean that teams like India, Sri Lanka and even Pakistan or West Indies won the tournament and I could live with that.. Now please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the Proteas, Aussies, Poms & Kiwis are the favorites for the CWC.. I’m just saying that the CWC is more open, more unpredictable than the RWC and few would disagree.

Rugby World Cup

Now saying if New Zealand doesn’t win the RWC this year would be a national disaster would be an understatement. Enough said. Playing the All Blacks is probably one of the toughest tasks in world rugby. Playing the All Blacks in NZ is an even more daunting task HOWEVER playing the AB’s in NZ in a RWC tournament and suddenly the task doesn’t seem so daunting, suddenly if you lose, people would say well at least you tried. But nothing, absolutely nothing but the Webb Ellis trophy would be enough for the AB’s and their supporters. And sure northern hemisphere teams like France & Ireland are going to make some noise.. But come on now.. England needed a world class pack that played together for 6 – 8 years, an inspirational leader and a flyhalf (at the time the best in the world) to win the cup.

So lets go through the “lucky 4” who has a chance to win both cups

Australia

I’m sure there are a couple of Aussies that don’t even want to touch a cricket bat or ball, let alone represent their country in a world tournament at the moment but Australia is the defending champions and the last team other than the Aussies that won the CWC was Sri Lanka in 1996 against who? Yip, Australia.. That’s how dominant their ODI squad have been the last 15 years. Sure they had a bit of luck in 1999 against the Proteas but history shows that they won that tournament too. Writing off the Aussies would be stupid and I wouldnt be surprised if we see them in the semis and finals again.

The cat that is Robbie Deans is probably on his last life and with no reports showing that ARU let him go, he’s surely the man to carry them to the RWC. Now even though the Aussies doesn’t have the record they would’ve liked / expected under Deans, the team has grown and into a unit blended with youth and experience and they showed against France last year, if their offense click on the day, it’s very difficult to beat them. And let’s not forget about the meaningless yet ego-stroking win they got against the AB’s (the only team to do so) late last year. Australia is definitely my darkest of the dark horses for RWC.

England

England, England, England.. Well we know now that they’ve got a formidable test unit but they’ve never really shone on the ODI circuit especially in world cups. However, they are team playing with confidence and confidence in sport is like playing with 1 more teammate. I don’t think they’ll win the whole thing but who knows, with a bit of luck they could see semis and from there, it’s anyone’s trophy really. And don’t forget, they are the 20 20 champs.

In rugby, England is kind of in the middle of the field of the top 10 nations.. Not the best but not the worst either. No one gave them a chance in the 07 world cup especially after a 36 – 0 drubbing at the hands of the eventual winners the Springboks but they made the final beating teams like Australia and host France to get there. I’m not saying they’re gona do it again but should a certain flyhalf be fit & healthy, I’m certainly going to keep my eye on them. 

New Zealand

When it comes to cricket, New Zealand would fall in the same category as the English but with a little bit less firepower. Anything more than a quarter final will be enough for them and who are we kidding, the country that is New Zealand just cares about winning one world cup this year, right?

Shame, if I could pick any team to win the RWC besides my beloved Springboks, then I would pick the All Blacks. In soccer & cricket, the nr.1 team in the world is the world cup holders or defenders but not in rugby and it’s been like that now for the last 20 plus years. New Zealand IS going to win eventually so it might as well be this year.

South Africa

The All Black equivalent when it comes to choking in sports. I support them n they can say what they want but they’re chokers. Sure luck haven’t been on the Proteas’ side when it comes to CW Cups but that is part of the game and unfortunately, you can’t keep stats on luck but you can keep stats on world cup trophies and we got 0. 1999 was probably the closest we came to winning the damn thing and 2007 we walked into the tournament as the nr.1 ODI team in the world. This year we’ve kinda moved under the radar and with sub continent teams like India and Sri Lanka are touted as favorites and mighty Australia not looking THAT mighty anymore, the Proteas do have a decent chance.

2010 was a blessing in disguise for the Springboks. Loss of form, loss of key players and loss of urgency and pride made for a dreadful year for the world champs. The end of year tour kinda gave us something to smile about but then you remember that Scotland off all teams stood in the way of a grand slam and then all you can do is shake your head & say.. Ai..

BUT with key players (and with key players I mean FdP) coming back and being the only team to have won twice on NZ soil in the last 2 or 3 years, South Africa could easily be the AB’s greatest threat to world cup glory.

So I think the team with the best chance to capture both trophies is South Africa.. Or Australia..

I’m outy

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by djp

Who’s the nr. 1 test side AT THE MOMENT??

January 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

After 2 scintillating test series’ (SA vs India & the Ashes) , as a cricket fan I have to wonder who really is the no.1 test side in the world at the moment? More specifically..

  1. After a home and away series draw against the Proteas, does India really deserve their no.1 ranking at the moment?
  2. With a “neutral” & an away&home draw against Pakistan & India respectively does the Proteas really deserve their no.2 ranking?
  3. With England crushing the Ausies 3 – 1 IN AUSTRALIA don’t they deserve a higher ranking at the moment?

 I haven’t seen the latest test rankings yet and I’m really not too sure when it’s coming out but I have to say, in my opinion England’s victory over their arch rivals on their home turf no less should shift them atleast to no.2 in the world right now.

Now mind you, I followed the Ashes through Supersport blitz which basically gave me the highlights of what happened during the day so I cant really say was England just that damn good or was the Aussies just.. well.. KAK.. But from what I’ve seen it’s definitely the former.

  And ol Ponting.  Hehehehe.. Shame, who knew all that arrogance and cockyness he’s shown throughout the years would finally bring him down to earth and bite him on the @ss.. The dude has got to go.. They’re talking about him staying in the test side but only as a batsman so he’ll probably be one the rare aussies that lost the captaincy but still made himself available for the team. Let it go Ricky.. Become a poet or motivational speaker or something.. You know, those guys that talk a lot of crap and yet people listen to you..

Back to the Proteas & India series.. I guess thinking about it now a draw was a fitting result for both teams since we drew with them in India earlier in the year. Both captains however can look at this series as the one that got away.  On Day 4 of the 3rd test, Dhoni and his troops let go of their grip by removing all but one of the Proteas’ top order batsmen and they did it as early as in the 46th over of their 2nd innings.  But then that man and his bunk mate put on a formidable partnership to put SA in a no-lose situation. You take away the rock that was Kallis and the Proteas would’ve had to defend a score in the 150 – 200 region if we were lucky. And considering their 1 – 4 all average over 50, not too mention their no.7 (Dhoni) averages +/- 40 and their nr.8 (Singh) is no slouch with the bat of late, the game could’ve easily been theirs.

On the other side of the coin, Biff as good a leader as he is, he simply doesn’t know when to declare. 350 plus to get on the final day was way too much to dangle infront of the Indians and they folded without losing anything. I hope you don’t play poker Biff. Even with quick run getters like Sehwag, Dhoni and to a certain extend Tendulkar (because he is Tendulkar) it wasn’t worth the chase. Now 250 – 280 would certainly have had them interested but it would’ve meant that they needed to take more chances, which means we get more chances to get the 10 wickets. In my mind it just makes sense Biff. I don’t know if you know this but we are considered in the cricket world as a team that ALWAYS plays it safe and don’t take chances / risks and I think that’s why we’ve drawn so many tests last year.  Work on it Biff please.. Before you make me BIFF@K

 

But as I said a draw was probably a “fair” result because the teams were evenly matched in almost every facet of the game. It was an arm wrestle right to the end. They had their Little Master, we had our Hair raising Kallis. They had Singh who bamboozled out batsmen, we had Steyn who tormented theirs.   They had the role players and influential leaders (Laxman, Khan, Ghambir & Sreesanth) and we had ours (Boucher, Amla, Morkel & Harris).  

And then offcourse, the ultimate battle between bat & ball.. Steyn vs Tendulkar.. India’s best batman & all time leading run getter vs South Africa’s best bowler & owner of a strike rate that puts him in the Marshall, Lillee, Hadlee company. 

It was fantastic to watch.. and was much appreciated.

So how does this answer my question I asked in the beginning at the blog? Well.. I just think that at the moment the world have 3 top sides instead of a nr. 1, 2 & 3..

I’m outy