Glad to be part of a unit with great bowling efficiency

cricket blogs for Yahoo Cricket Columns

Nothing has changed since the last time I interacted with you. That is, as far, as Australia's preparations for its defence of the ICC Cricket World Cup title.


After a longish break, we played the game against Kenya in Bangalore and we are pleased with the way we went about it. We are progressing well and ready for our match against Canada, keeping one eye on the quarter-finals. Of course, we have another game against Pakistan in a few days' time in Colombo.


I have been asked if not bowling out Kenya was a bit of a downer for us. We wanted to have a good workout, wanted to get a game of 100 overs, considering that we had spent a good part of the last fortnight away from competitive cricket. We wanted everyone to have an opportunity to experience the conditions. It was also a pretty low and slow wicket.


I am delighted to be part of an attack which is among those with a Bowling Efficiency of over 230 on the Castrol Index and is second best during the first 10 overs. The fact that we are second best in the Quick Start Batting makes us the second best team overall on the Index. However, as the Index suggests, we need to lift our Batting Momentum higher than the fifth place on the table.


Sri Lanka, which is a very strong side, is on top the Castrol Index at the moment but I am glad we are not too far behind. With Dilshan and Tharanga doing well, Sri Lanka has emerged the best at batting during the first 10 overs and the second best in terms of Batting Momentum behind India as well as Extreme Performance Bowling (in the death overs).


Despite slipping in Nagpur, I think India is playing quite well. Sometimes, you need a close game as a wake-up call and the loss to South Africa will have served to make the team want to play better and that can be dangerous for the other sides. Yet, India will be keen to rise from being a dismal seventh in the Bowling Efficiency on the Castrol Index.


I believe after losing to England, South Africa will have gained enormous confidence from that victory over India in Nagpur. The way it fought against India after being pushed back in the first 40 overs would have given the team a lot of positives as it climbs towards the top of the Castrol Index.


England will be disappointed at the position it finds itself in. It played remarkably well to tie with India and then beat South Africa in a crucial match but its losses to Ireland and Bangladesh – no thanks to a last-ditch ninth-wicket stand for the home team – have left England in a spot of bother, ranked eighth in the Castrol Index.


If you look at its Batting Momentum, England is not very different to Australia but its bowling attack appears to have found the conditions in the sub-continent a challenge, perhaps not finding the right length to bowl and leading to a none-too-impressive Bowling Efficiency. If it does not make it to the last eight stage, that would be quite a shock in this World Cup.


I will be back again soon with my thoughts on not just our progress in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 but also on other aspects of the competition.


Brett Lee, is writing in his role as a Castrol Index spokesperson.