Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Around The World in 80 Seconds

We are experiencing one of those rare situations where all ten of the top-tier cricketing nations are doing battle. A welcome and refreshing change, as all the cricket over the past few months have been seemingly India or England related. Lets take a tour around the globe and sum up what their respective situations are, in order of strength.

1. India
The so-called leaders of world cricket had to do something about the severe mauling at the hands of the English. India were crying, their beloved batting averages were falling, England were gloating, and even Ravi Shastri suddenly had nothing to say. The answer? If you can doctor your pitches, we can too. India reminded everyone that they are the kings of flat decks, and duly hammered the 'rising English' 5-0.

On an interesting note, gate sales were at its lowest and even my interest in the series was fleeting at best. There is such thing as overkill, and the revenge series should have come at least a year later. Special mention also to Yuvraj Singh, who warned the English that this is what happens when they talk too much, despite hilariously taking no part at all.
Verdict: Stable (after the fall)

2. Australia
Australia are re-building their lost aura quietly in the background. After laying waste to Sri Lanka (in Sri Lanka), they are looking to do the same against South Africa (in South Africa), having already secured the ODI series. What people don't quite realise is that the likes of David Warner and Shaun Marsh are no longer new boys on the block, ready to play to potential. They have managed to work out a stable XI with a good blend of experience and fresh meat, and are just a matter of time before they start getting properly noticed again, probably when (not if) they beat India.
Verdict: Rising (quietly)

3. England
And then there's these guys, oh how they love to talk themselves up. One series victory and suddenly their absolutely average ODI record is forgotten, and England call themselves the next Australia. In a way the 'revenge series' was necessary, to keep these guys and their egos in check. Australia would have gone to India and won 5-0, because a true champion team can play anywhere. You won't get friendly seaming decks everywhere boys.
Verdict: Stable

4. Pakistan
If you look away from the typically dramatic and counter-productive off field drama's and un-retirements, they actually look in pretty good shape. They impressively blew away Sri Lanka and have a strong and varied line-up in all departments. The question always is, will the off field events continue to mar this always promising team?
Verdict: Rising

5. South Africa
Last seen still smarting from their latest episode of World Cup Chokes. After a big lay off they are finally back in action, and surrendering to the Australians at home. Bad signs from a team fast becoming famous for  its unfulfilled promise.
Verdict: Falling

Some memories just won't die. © AFP

6. New Zealand
Another long break for the boys in black, and whatever their shortcomings its not often they get troubled by minnows. This trend continues in Zimbabwe with a comfortable but not entirely convincing series victory in the ODI's. Just where is this team at? Its hard to gauge until they face more able opponents.
Verdict: Stable

7. West Indies
Still no Chris Gayle, but maybe they're finally getting used to the idea. They have always had quality players, but seemed to lack the mental fortitude. A series victory over Bangladesh is desperately needed to conjure up that long missing West Indies spirit, maybe this will be the true awakening of Darren Bravo.
Verdict: Stable 

Is that you Brian? © Assc Press

8. Bangladesh
After a shockingly pathetic World Cup display, they are showing signs of improvement and quality against the admittedly low West Indies. But one must start somewhere, and with a number of strong performances coming from guys in their early 20s, they will be a real force in the coming years. They just need the right leadership and coaching.
Verdict: Stable

9. Sri Lanka
Ah life is tough when Murali isn't around to bail you out is it! Being absolutely bossed by Pakistan after a poor showing against Australia doesn't bode well. Dilshan was never a captain and their bowling line-up is comparable to Kenya. They should be thankful they have Sangakkara around to save face.
Verdict: Falling (and smartly)

10. Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe will be looking to build on an impressive record ODI chase and the consistent Brendan Taylor, who is fast becoming the Tendulkar of the team. If they just get their bowling in order, they can look to become a sleeping threat once again.
Verdict: Rising


  1. It's a sad cricket world when England are stable while Australia are only rising from below. It's about we remedied that, methinks.

  2. Sad? Depends on what part of the world you are from ;). But I think its just a matter of time before Australia regain the top dog status.