With the love and expectations of a blossoming nation trying to find their foot step in global context, the Bangladesh World Cup squad is heading for ICC’s premier 50-over tournament in England this summer. From the perspective of World Cup preparation, this has been an ideal World Cup for Bangladesh. A Tri-nation win, for it’s first multi-nation tournament trophy, must be a moral boasting effect on a team which has very little past success. Being outwitted by their opponents almost always away from home, the Tigers in Green is heading towards the 2019 Cricket World Cup with the sweet memory of reaching the Champions Trophy Semi-Final in the same country couple of years back. Still, the question on everyone's minds is, will Bangladesh’s 'Green Tigers' rise to the challenge and finally get rid of the minnow tag? The stage is set for Bangladesh to announce itself in the cricket landscape, let’s take a little walk in the path of Bangladesh’s upcoming World Cup journey.
India have been one of the best teams in the world over the last few years in limited overs format. They have been lagging behind the world number one ranked England side and have done extremely well against all the opponents during that time. The ICC tournaments invariably has the Indian team as the favourites for some time now due to their consistent performances over the years and the two-time champions were the semi-finalists the last time in 2015. The Indian team has always been a batting heavy team but now armed with a potent bowling attack as well they are one of the teams to watch out for.
A year ago, Australia were in a serious crisis. They had lost their two best players in David Warner and Steven Smith. Many at that point had predicted them to bow out in the group stage of the 2019 World Cup. This view was reinforced by their abysmal ODI form between June 2017 and March 2019 which consisted of only 4 wins out of 26. But people had forgotten that this was the Aussie team they were talking about. They have won the World Cup title five times, and this is a team which thrives in challenging environments and relishes the big occasion. True to their reputation, the Australians picked themselves up and in the last few months, managed huge triumphs over India and Pakistan. In those series, they were able to fill some gaps in their squad left by absence of their two main players. Now with the return of Steve Smith, David Warner as well as Mitchell Starc, Australia look as strong as ever and are arguably the most balanced team in the World Cup. This has also serves as a reminder for the whole world, if it needed reminding that Australia are and have always been serious contenders for the World Cup.
Former Pakistan fast-bowler Mohammad Zahid has been a loyal friend of PakPassion for many years and has contributed blogs on many subjects over the years. Unfortunately, due to personal commitments, Zahid has not been following Pakistan cricket to that extent.
We are therefore proud to introduce our latest blog contributor, Pakistan fast-bowler Sohail Tanvir who will be providing his take on issues related to Pakistan cricket on a frequent basis.
Also rans, always there, there and there abouts – some of the tags that have accompanied the South Africa side throughout their World Cup participation history. It does indeed defy belief that a side which has boasted the likes of Jacques Kallis, Lance Kluesner, Jonty Rhodes, Allan Donald and Ab de Villiers is yet to win the World Cup. But could 2019 be the year when the Proteas finally defy the 'chokers' tag?
To say that Sri Lanka enter the 2019 World Cup in total and utter disarray would be an understatement. When Chandika Hathurusingha took over as coach in December 2017, there was hope that the tough taskmaster could revitalize Sri Lanka’s fortunes as he did with Bangladesh. These hopes have been quickly dashed with Sri Lanka possessing an abysmal ODI record having since the 2017 Champions Trophy lost 33 of 44 ODIs and been whitewashed 5-0 by South Africa in their last series.
On paper, West Indies are not supposed to compete with the big team favourites like England, India and Australia. But as they say, games are not won on paper. This team is known for its charismatic style and big hitting stroke-makers and is one which will never run out of hitters. They may have re-branded them as “The Windies” in recent times, but those who have followed cricket for a while will know that that the West Indies team of yore was renowned for winning two consecutive World Cups in ‘75 and ‘79 at a time when ODI cricket was just developing. Fast-forward to 2019, and you could be forgiven for harbouring hopes that the somehow a bunch of 11 cricketers from various islands could somehow gel together and produce a performance to inspire the dawn of cricket on the “Indies Islands” once more. Taking a back-burner to basketball most of the times, captain Jason Holder, the inspiring all-rounder will be looking to show through his individual and team’s performances that they are force to be reckoned with and are ready to carve out another glorious chapter in the history of West Indies Cricket.
A profile of a young batsman from Karachi, who has come into the limelight due to his elegant batting style which resembles Indian captain Virat Kohli.
Armed with fighting words and encouragement from the coach and captain, and now sporting a new ODI kit, the Pakistan World Cup squad is heading for ICC’s premier 50-over tournament in England. The preparations, if one could call them such, have been far from ideal. Back-to-back whitewashes by Australia and England in ODIs have had a demoralising effect on a team which has historically done well in England. However, being outwitted by their opponents in pretty much all aspects of the game have lead to pronouncements of doom and gloom for the Men in Green and it appears that the road ahead is nothing but bumpy for the 1992 World Cup winners but the question on everyone's minds is simply, will Pakistan's 'Cornered Tigers' rise to the challenge and surprise us all?
Writing for FirstPost, Saj explains why apart from the sheer brilliance of their opponents and back-to-back ODI series losses, what really came to light were the weaknesses in Pakistan's preparations ahead of the World Cup.
Pakistan captain speaking to Saj (for FirstPost) analyses the recent ODI losses to England and their implications on the sides' World Cup preparations.