World Cup 2019: How England shape up

World Cup 2019: How England shape up

July 24th, 2019. It is the date when the inventors of the game of cricket will host the coveted World Cup Final at the most hallowed ground of the game, Lords. 


Currently ranked number 1 in ODIs, the English team have age, expertise, and rankings on their side. But how will the side fare in the World Cup 2019?

Home Advantage

World Cup 2019: How England shape up
Image Source – The Independent

One of the biggest advantages that English teams have enjoyed over the years is that they are constantly encouraged to overlook past failures, and only focus on what is to come. The English cricket team is young and bursting with energy, and this will be a huge plus point for them. The summer of 2005 when the Ashes was staged proved that cricket can truly hypnotize the nation. Organizers are expected that with widespread and clever advertising techniques, revenue will be at an all-time high. In addition to this, playing at home in front of a well-educated crowd will always work in their favor, and England will be expected to cash in on it in the World Cup 2019.

Opening Partnership

Image Source – ABC

With openers Jason Roy and Bairstow, England have nothing to worry about. They form the perfect team, complementing each other successfully while playing long innings. The pair has been responsible for handing the English team with many match-winning opening stands, including a double hundred together. Due to their pairing, the English team has changed their playing tactic. From a policy of holding back and playing calmly, England now follows the route of controlled aggression, which was on full display against West Indies recently, when they chased down 360.

The Captain

Image Source – The Independent

Eoin Morgan buckled under the pressures of the previous management, but Andrew Strauss’ decision to retain him for World Cup 2019 was probably the best ideas in a long time. His team respects his decisions, and he understands which bowler to play, depending on the field conditions. However, the only source of worry for the team is Morgan’s own form. Averaging at 25 the past year, playing at number 4, his future seems shaky. However, he is still more than capable of an attack if England starts strongly. Though inconsistency is an issue with him, Morgan rises to the occasion when need be, like he did against Windies in the first ODI.

The Attack

Image Source – The Independent

Liam Plunkett will be tucking up the bowlers in the middle overs, assisted by Mark Wood and Chris Woakes. England has an ace up their sleeve in the form of Adil Rashid, who can easily be used to null runs and snatch up wickets in the midst of the tournament. However, what England desperately lacks is a bowler like Sunil Narine, who can keep the opposition on their toes at all times. The bowling attack is their biggest worry though, with the pacers often going for a lot of runs throughout the innings. With no variety in the attack and with small grounds, England have struggled to curb runs and have easily allowed opponents to score 300+ runs, which will be a major worry in the tourney.

Also Read: India will not play Pakistan in World Cup 2019 if the Government Feels So

The Batting

Image Source – rediff.com

England has two very mature players in their team, in the form of Jos Buttler and Joe Root. These players have proven, time and again, that they can be depended on to salvage the lower order. Buttler has learned on how to play on more than one way, modeling his on-field mannerisms on MS Dhoni, possibly the coolest player of the game. Furthermore, Alex Hales can mold himself into any batting situation as well, and it is safe to say that the batting unit is one of the most settled ones among all teams that will play the World Cup.

England has a strong team this year, with players who understand the game, who do not stick to their conventional methods of gameplay, and who can model themselves to play on any surface. These requisites are of utmost importance, especially for a home team looking to redeem themselves and clinch the World Cup 2019, and make themselves a team to reckon with, yet again. England does suffer on slow pitches, but if recent matches are anything to go by, England is slowly becoming a master and they would hope to clinch their maiden title this year.

Gayle’s belligerence made him an ODI enigma

Gayle Back In Gayle's belligerence made him an ODI enigmaWindies ODI Sqaud

Chris Gayle – “You’re looking at a great man. I’m the greatest player in the world. Of course, I’m still the Universe Boss. That will never change. I’ll take that to the grave.”


Chris Gayle’s confidence and his flair that has oozed out every time the West Indian has taken the field will be on display a final time in ODIs at the World Cup that is scheduled to be held in England this year. The player, who is returning to the ODI fold for the series against Bangladesh will play his final ODI when the team’s campaign at the tourney comes to an end. At 39 years of age, Gayle has defined and redefined aggression, flamboyance, and chutzpah that has managed to instill fear in all bowling rivals across the globe.

Just 273 runs away from becoming the second Caribbean star to achieve the 10,000-run mark feat in ODIs, Gayle has acquired a reputation for being one of the most dangerous big-hitters in the cricketing world. He was the first ever player to score a hundred in T20Is – against South Africa in the T20I World Cup in 2007 – and his approach in ODIs has just been an extension of this mindset in T20s. His massive success in the format has been built around power and belligerence, which has obscured the beauty in Gayle’s batting.

The giant-of-a-man scores runs at such a ferocious pace that for most parts of his career, it has been assumed that Gayle bats without much technical nuance. His double century in the format in the World Cup four years earlier had been attributed to attritional hitting, but his flick of the wrists will display how he has a high degree of finesse too. Of course, Gayle has never been known for his footwork or his fitness, but his ODI career that has spanned 284 innings was a treat to witness because of his sheer power.

Also read: Gayle Back In Windies ODI Squad

The strength of his forearms or his shoulders makes Gayle a blithe of spirit, comparable to the force that players like Walcott, Lloyd, Richards or Greenidge possessed. His inability to strike fear by his nonchalant gait and his self-confidence – very rarely would a player give himself a nickname, as Gayle has done – makes him a real enigma in modern cricket. However, his inconsistency in the ODI format, along with his absence from the national team due to the recent turmoils with the WICB has managed to take away the sheen off Gayle, even if a wee bit.

The player has batted with an average of only 37.12 and with a strike-rate of 85.82, which are numbers that in no way do justice to the great man’s talent. However, as he prepares to walk away from the ODI format, his legion will hope that Gayle can sustain his form for one last time for his national team. Though the player has made his intention clear of playing in the T20 World Cup in Australia next year, he will be 41 by then, and with the Windies team having a new-look side in their ranks, Gayle’s selection in the event is not guaranteed either.

Hence, it might just well be that Gayle will walk out for his nation a final time this World Cup, and perchance he is able to inspire his team to a memorable showing, he could well be bidding adieu by reshaping the cricketing future of West Indies.

World Cup 2019 – 3 areas of concern for Team India

With the ICC World Cup 2019 just three and a half months away, teams have started prepping their squads in full swing. While some teams still have areas of concern, others are fairly settled, sans the odd questions that crop up when a team underperforms in a match. 


The Indian Team too look mighty strong on paper and is one of the favorites to win the World Cup 2019 but will need to sort out problem areas before the biennial event gets underway.

The inconsistent middle order

World Cup 2019 - 3 areas of concern for Team India
Image Source – The Indian Express

The Indian Cricket Team has been buoyed by a top-heavy batting unit, with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Shikhar Dhawan rising to the occasion more often than not. However, the concerns arise once the trio is back in the pavilion, with India’s middle-order looking unsettled and inconsistent.

Nine cricketers have been tried at the number 4 spot since January 2018, with Ambati Rayudu playing the maximum games in that position – 6. However, with a high score of only 40 and with his issues against pace no secret, the unstable number 4 can often undo all the good work that the top sets.

India’s numbers 5 to 7 have fared no better, with as many as 12 cricketers being given a go in the middle order in the last 13 months. The players in these spots have managed to score runs at only a strike-rate of 81.47, which is in contrast to the strike-rate of 94.80 that the top three batters have batted within this interim. Hence, once the top-order has been dismissed, the job of the bowlers is relatively easy, and with MS Dhoni no longer in ominous form, the struggles in the death overs while batting seems to have no immediate answer.

Also Read: Dhoni should bat at no. 4

The absence of a potent third seamer

World Cup 2019 - 3 areas of concern for Team India
Image Source – India TV

The performance of the duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal has managed to take the limelight away from the under-performance of the quicks in the ODI set-up. With no seamer except for Jasprit Bumrah putting his hand up, India remains crippled without a genuine quick who can create troubles up front.

Bumrah has managed to take the most wickets since January in 2019 – 22 wickets in 13 games – while the next best bowler, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has picked up 26 wickets but in 22 matches. The inability of the swing bowler to maintain his line and length match-after-match too remains a worry, and with Mohammad Shami and Khaleel Ahmed going for runs too, the problem is only highlighted further.

The former had been unable to step up till the series in New Zealand, while the latter has hardly done anything noteworthy in his short international career. With Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul not in the fray, it is likely that Bumrah, Bhuvi, Shaami, and Khaleel will board the flight to England. However, they will have to raise their game, just like the bowling department had done in the World Cup in Australia four years ago.

The lack of a back-up bowler

World Cup 2019 - 3 areas of concern for Team India
Image Source – Bcci

Team India have finally found a bowling all-rounder in Hardik Pandya, who did reasonably well in the ODIs against New Zealand. However, he is prone to inconsistency and can be dreadfully wayward on his day. This is where India will need a sixth-bowling option. Kedar Jadhav has been donning the role for a while now, but with the tracks in England hardly assisting spinners, and with Jadhav being viewed as a ‘lucky bowler who somehow gets wickets’, it will be foolish to count on him match-after-match.

So who does Team India rely on in this case? With none of the top-order batters bowling – Rohit and Kohli no longer pitch in with the cherry – the responsibility will be on the fifth and sixth bowlers to be consistent and disciplined.

IPL 2019: Teams Which Will Be Most Affected By Non Availability of Players

IPL 2019: Teams Which Will Be Most Affected By Non Availability of Players

The teams of the IPL are already in a fix this year, as a majority of the foreign players won’t be available owing to the 2019 World Cup. 


Only players from New Zealand and West Indies will be available for the entirety of IPL 2019. Australia and Bangladesh will be playing till the 3rd and 2nd week of April respectively, and South Africa along with Sri Lanka will be available till early May with the English players heading back early as well. Even the BCCI is considering giving Indian players a break before the World Cup gets underway. Here are the teams which will be affected the most by these decisions.

Mumbai Indians

Image Source – Twitter

Mumbai Indians did pick up Quinton De Kock and Lasith Malinga, but these players will not be available for a good two weeks of the tournament. Jason Behrendorff, the Australian trailblazer, will also not be available. Moreover, Jasprit Bumrah may also be rested, causing him to miss crucial matches.

Also Read: A complete analysis – MI

Rajasthan Royals

Image Source – Sportzwiki

Rajasthan Royals were led brilliantly by their foreign recruits last season. However, this year can be massively different as most of their stars will be absent. Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, who is in the fray for a national call-up, and Jos Buttler are extremely imported for England to win the World Cup. The franchise has already asked for Steven Smith’s replacement and the team will miss the Aussies services in all likelihood this year too. The backup players of Rajasthan do not have much experience, and this may push the team to the backfoot.

Also Read: A complete analysis – RR

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Image Source – The Indian Express

The team seems very strong on paper, with big names like Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson. However, these two players are the only ones who are likely to play throughout the season. While Jonny Bairstow will be focussing primarily on the World Cup, David Warner and Billy Stanlake will miss the first week and the last two weeks. Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi’s tenure may get cut short by the second week of May. Bhuvneshwar Kumar may be rested as well.

Also Read: A complete analysis – SRH

Romesh Kaluwitharana Sets A Trend During 1996 World Cup

Romesh Kaluwitharana

9th January 1996. It was the 9th match of the Benson & Hedges World Series in Melbourne between Australia and Sri Lanka. Australia batted first and scored a modest 213 for 5 thanks largely to a century from young Ricky Ponting.

Sri Lanka, who were thrashed by West Indies in their last match, started their chase and when the openers came out there was a surprise for everyone as regular opener Sanath Jayasuriya was partnered by their little, feisty wicket-keeper Romesh Kaluwitharana


Romesh Kaluwitharana, playing his 34th ODI, had the highest score of 31 till then. Interestingly, he opened for Sri Lanka in his first innings in international cricket in his second ODI, but post that he batted mostly in number 6, 7 or 8 and never opened. Never opened till 9th Jan 1996, when the team management took that inspiring decision to promote him to utilize the fielding restriction in place for the first 15 overs. And what a decision it was! Kaluwitharana blasted a 75-ball 77 with 12 boundaries and gave Sri Lanka a great start which finally resulted in a win for them.

 

Romesh Kaluwitharana (Image Source: Getty Images)

Romesh Kaluwitharana scored two more 50’s, one each against West Indies and Australia in next one week and a trend was set; a trend of sending a pinch hitter in the top of the order. Something which Martin Crowe briefly started with Mark Greatbatch during 1992 World cup but did not catch in till then. Kaluwitharana made the pinch-hitting opener fashionable and built a great partnership with Sanath Jayasuriya.

The 1996 Cricket World cup started just a month after the Australia tour was over. The world cup was scheduled in the sub-continent and matches were distributed between India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. However, Australia and West Indies refused to play in Sri Lanka due to the ongoing political unrest and hence forfeited their matches. Kaluwitharana played some quick-fire cameos in the tournament like 16-ball 26 against India and 18-ball 33 against Kenya and provided ample support to Jayasuriya who was in a murderous form.

Although Kaluwitharana did not score many in the knockouts, this strategy of pinch hitter did create confusion among certain teams which finally resulted in Sri Lanka getting the grand prize. They won their first World cup and their coach Dave Whatmore was credited for executing a new strategy perfectly.

Kaluwitharana mostly opened in rest of his careers for Sri Lanka which spanned for 189 matches till 2004. His highest score of unbeaten 102 came against England in 2001. He also had an unbeaten 95 against Australia in 1999.

This strategy of pinch hitter was replicated by all the teams with varying degrees of success. However, by late ’90s lots of other teams started playing with attacking batsmen at top of the order. Players like Adam Gilchrist and Virender Sehwag followed the path shown by Romesh Kaluwitharana and retired as legends.

Hence, it will be safe to say that the events of 9th January 1996 had an everlasting impact on One day cricket and was a key reason for its enhanced popularity from the ’90s till now.

 

5 players who’d probably be in a bidding war in IPL Auctions as they might miss the World Cup Squad

ipl-auction-world-cup-squad

With just a day to go for the IPL auctions, there is a lot of buzz over the players who are in the auction pool. 


Besides the question over the location, the upcoming IPL has also garnered attention due to its scheduling – the tournament will end just 11 days before the World Cup is set to kick-off. In such a scenario, most teams are likely to shield their key players and prevent them from playing in the league, which can have a bearing on the players who are not expected to make the World Cup squad. 

Fast bowlers and players like Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell have already opted out of the tournament. With the English players likely to miss out from the latter half of the IPL, franchises will be eager to go for players who can be available for the full duration. 

Here are the 5 players who might not play the World Cup and might be caught in a bidding war. 

 

Reeza Hendricks

The South African made his debut this year and impressed everyone by smashing a century in the game against Sri Lanka. In the ongoing Mzansi Super League, he has managed to create a number of ripples with his form. In 10 games, Hendricks has managed to score an astounding 412 runs with a high score of 108 at an average of 58.8 and a strike-rate of 142.56, an achievement which is no mean feat. Furthermore, he is an asset for any team, no matter his batting order.

 

Hazratullah Zazai

Afghanistan has started ruling the world of cricket. After the resplendent Rashid Khan and Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Hazratullah Zazai seems to be the next big name, having hit six sixes in an over in the Afghanistan Premier League. With a strike rate of 194, there is no doubt that this immensely talented youngster will be a name to reckon with in the IPL Bidding.

 

Zahir Khan

Despite being just 19 years of age, Zahir Khan has already secured a world record to his name, snatching up 34 wickets at the average of 18 in a game at Lancashire. However, he has not yet made his international debut. Khan can be very crucial in picking up some important wickets, with his Mystery Spin keeping the other team on their toes.

 

Nicholas Pooran

This wicket-keeper/batsman is already becoming a name to reckon with in the cricketing world. Known for his ability to hit a sixer at any ball, as well as for being extremely efficient behind the wickets, the West Indian surely knows how to turn the game around. In addition, his 50 against India in Chennai did not go unnoticed, and it would have surely put him on the “must-buy” list for many franchises.

 

Shimron Hetmyer

This big hitter from West Indies already has 3 hundred and 2 fifties to his name in just 18 games. In the recently concluded five matches ODI series against India, Hetmyer scored 260 runs and impressed with his maturity under pressure. He is a big hitter and can change the complexion of the game at any moment, which makes him invaluable for the 2019 IPL, especially since most of the major players will not be available.

Virat Kohli – The Ton Machine | Fastest to 10000 ODI Runs

Virat Kohli – The Ton Machine | Fastest to 10000 ODI Runs

Virat Kohli Breaks Sachin Tendulkar’s Record, Fastest To Score 10,000 ODI Runs.


In last few months Virat Kohli has made a habit of breaking records and reaching various peaks with his superlative batting performances. He is producing one great inning after another with a great display of skill and confidence. Wednesday was also a regular day in Virat Kohli’s life.  He scored his 37th One Day International century; his third consecutive centuries against Windies and broke all sorts of record.

This is his 6th ODI century against this particular opposition; the highest ever by any batsman in the history of the game, a record he also carries against Sri Lanka with 8 centuries against them. He also surpassed Sachin Tendulkar and became the Indian with highest aggregate runs against Windies just behind Javed Miandad and Mark Waugh.

Reference of Tendulkar has to come again as on the way to his century Virat completed the small margin of 10,000 ODI runs when he reached 81 with a push to long on. He broke Tendulkar’s record to achieve the milestone with the least number of innings (205) and fastest with respect to career days. Virat has played 3270 days of international cricket to reach the 10,000 mark whereas Tendulkar played 4121 days. Virat’s average of 59.62 also placed him in the summit with respect to batting averages while reaching the 10K mark, passing MS Dhoni who averaged 51.30 while reaching his 10,000 ODI runs early this year.

There are also other mind-boggling stats about Virat like reaching 1000 ODI runs this year in 11 innings with an average close to 150 with scores of 112, 46*, 160*, 75, 36, 129*, 75, 45, 71, 140 & 157*. This is his 5th ODI innings in Vizag’s ACA-VDCA stadium where he has scored three hundreds, one 99 and 65.

But keeping all the records aside from the kind of batsmanship which was on display on Sunday and Wednesday shows how the legend of Virat Kohli is spreading in the Cricket world. On Sunday, it was a tricky chase of 322 runs in Guwahati, Virat came to bat in the second over and unlike his regular flowing innings, counterattacked the Windies bowler to ensure that the asking rate never gets out of reach. He completed his century in 88 balls with 16 Boundaries and when got out after a brilliant 140 India’s asking rate was below 4.

On Wednesday, it was a different case. This time India was setting up a target instead of chasing. Virat again came to the middle early after the fall of last match centurion Rohit Sharma and was much more sedate. He crafted his innings with one’s and two’s with occasional boundaries. This time he reached his century with only 10 fours however still his Strike rate was above 90. Post reaching the hundred he changed gears and scored his last 55 runs in just 23 balls. He treated both Kemar Roach and Obed McCoy, one senior bowler and the other a debutant, with similar disdain and ensured India passed 300 comfortably.

The way he was able to play two different kinds of innings in a gap of three days and how he changed his batting mode during the game showed his ability to read the game situation perfectly. He takes his game seriously and never let his guard down in international cricket despite the bucketful of runs he is producing match after match, year after year.

Virat Kohli is arguably the best ODI bat India has ever produced. Now, what makes Virat the best in the lot? The ability to attain the goals effortlessly with absolute calm is what makes Virat Kohli special. The credit also goes to his confidence and supreme fitness. He never gets tired in any condition and can carry on till the end unlike batsmen from the previous era. If he begins something, he makes sure that he stays till the last ball more often than not. Others give tension whereas Virat soaks it all. In fact, Virat Kohli performs better in pressure. While chasing his batting average is 68.54 whereas as captain he has scored at an average of 88. He hasn’t probably faced the best of bowlers from cricket history but he has tackled all the obstacles with ease. The sense of confidence Virat evokes is immense for the cricket fans.

It is important for him to carry the form until the upcoming world cup in 2019. India has a top-heavy batting order with relatively newer players in the middle order and MS Dhoni not in the best of forms in recent times. So Virat Kohli is the name Indian cricket team depends on mostly. This is similar to the earlier 90’s when the entire team used to depend on Sachin Tendulkar. It really took days to overcome the situation as India produced more efficient and dependant bats. Today we do have significant but less confident bats. This needs to be sorted immediately with World Cup happening in less than a year because if Virat fails, the chance of team’s failure becomes higher statistically.