Move over Pakistan. Take a hike, India. There is a new ‘mercurial’ team in town. In their last three games, they have tied, lost and won matches in thrilling fashion. They managed to lose to an associate nation despite scoring 327, and against a tournament favorite, they won despite scoring 171. Their ground fielding and catching in this tournament belong to the blooper reels, while their batting revolves around just four batsmen. Their team consists of players who would make a traditional Pakistan team proud – a flashy strokemaker prone to implosion at the sight of a left arm spinner, a stolid batsman who at one down is the most consistent batsman in the line up, and a spinner who has to score runs lower down the order so that he may some runs to bowl with!
Single handedly, they have brought the World Cup alive and made Group B the hottest ticket in town, thereby making matches in Group A bland by comparison (It doesn’t help that Pakistan has become weirdly consistent and shorn of drama, while Australia seem to have retained a bit of their old clinical efficiency). While the ICC and rest of the cricket world have been busy breaking their heads over the 10 team World Cup planned from 2015, the English cricket team has gone to ‘bat’ for the cause of the Associate nations, by narrowly avoiding a loss to Netherlands and losing in thrilling fashion to Ireland.
They have also quietened debates over the merits of 50 over cricket, and shown that as long as you have brilliance balanced with mediocrity in the same team, there will be no lack of excitement in the games your team plays. England might not win the World Cup, but there is no doubt now as to which team you should follow for an exciting game of cricket!
As for South Africa – just when I was beginning to think that they were the only team capable of winning this World Cup, they ch****.
A message to Botha, Duminy, de Villiers – who all, over the course of the last few weeks had gone out of their way to stress that this team was different from previous World Cup squads – “Nice try, but you have fooled no one. The tag will remain with you till you win the World Cup. So, might as well embrace the ‘C’ word and get your thought process straight. Remember – after denial, comes acceptance!”