• You may want to, for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of Ashish Nehra and Sreesanth - In the 18 months before the World Cup began, Nehra was India's main strike bowler and rarely missed a game, due to injury or otherwise. Sreesanth, on the other hand, was the last-minute replacement for injured Praveen Kumar. While he wasn't in the Indian scheme of things for a while, he did impress one and sundry in the warm-up games.

     

    Strangely though, Nehra has so far bowled 13.4 overs in the World Cup and more unfortunately has been made a veritable pariah by the 1.2 billion Indians. And Sreesanth has featured in only 1 game, bowled 5 rather insipid overs and seemed to have done his bit in the World Cup campaign.

     

    The game against the West Indies at Chennai was the ideal and perhaps the last opportunity to give either of them another hit in the middle before the all important knock-outs. You may argue that winning the game convincingly against the men from the Caribbean was mandatory to build

    Read More »from The Curious case of Nehra and Sreesanth
  • Well thank heavens for that. The Sado-Masochists in the ICC World Cup Planning Committee devised a format to guarantee the top eight teams would contest the quarter-finals and, despite a few scary moments almost entirely generated by England's exhausted, frequently inept and fractious squad, they have been rewarded.

     

    Whether it was strictly necessary to spend 29 days confirming what we already knew would happen is another matter. And indeed next time the ICC are dispensing with the tiresome lesser nations altogether, but in spite of the ridiculously attenuated format and regular diet of one sided matches, this World Cup has been by far the most enjoyable since 1996.

     

    Paradoxically the fascination has been caused by a succession of unpredictable games between the top sides. Of the eight quarter-finalists only England remain undefeated in matches between the survivors. Australia's irksome unbeaten record has now been consigned to history leading Ian Chappell to fume about Shahid

    Read More »from Dumping Trumper for Sehwag and 9 other moments
  • Finally the men have been separated from the boys. The pretenders did threaten to upstage the big boys and even qualify for the quarterfinals. But when it came to the crunch situation it is the Goliaths who survived while the Davids fell by the wayside. But then it has always been like that when it comes to the World Cup or other such major events. Kenya's entry into the semifinals in 2003 can be taken as a one-off. The associate members will always be capable of pulling off the odd upset or two as they have done repeatedly over the years. After all in limited overs cricket it is a question of one team having a good day and another having a bad day at the office. Sustained campaigns however can only be carried out by experienced teams with the skill and class and the self belief to take such ups and downs in their strides.

    It was always on the cards that Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka from group A and South Africa, India, West Indies and England from group B would make

    Read More »from No major surprises in quarters line-up

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