Aravinda de Silva assesses the World Cup teams | Daily News


 

Picks India, England, Australia and New Zealand for the semis

Aravinda de Silva assesses the World Cup teams

My first four will be India, England, Australia and New Zealand whom I consider as the dark horse.

I feel that NEW ZEALAND are used to the English conditions and also they have got a very united team and a good leader which is very important. I have a lot of faith in that side and I feel they might do well.

ENGLAND have got a balanced side batting and bowling and mainly they are familiar with the conditions. It is one of the best chances they will have. Looking at the side (Ben) Stokes will play an important role if he is good nick. England will be the side to watch.

AUSTRALIA; a lot will depend on how Steve Smith and David Warner both coming back to the side will give them a lot of confidence. Again they haven’t played much cricket. Warner of course with IPL but a lot will depend on how those two are going to perform especially Steve Smith. With the amount of pressure with what he has been through a lot depends on how he is going to handle that pressure on the field.

INDIA has got a very balanced side, the batting looks very strong and playing in May the wickets are going to be a bit flatter and the spinners are going to play a crucial part. They have Kuldeep (Yadav) and (Yuzvendra) Chahal who will be a handful. A lot will depend on how these two will bowl, mainly Kuldeep. In the IPL he didn’t perform that well because he was playing against a lot of Indian batsmen who were familiar with him and faced him a lot in domestic cricket and at the nets. But it will be a different ball game when it comes to playing him in the important matches.

If you look at SOUTH AFRICA their batting looks a little brittle but they have a very good bowling attack. If the wickets help them a little bit I am sure they’ll be a very competitive side.

WEST INDIES batting looks a bit brittle for the sort of conditions they are going to be faced with. It’s not like a 20-20 but their side looks very strong. I was a bit surprised that (Kieron) Pollard is not in the side. They have some big hitters but again fifty overs is a lot different to 20-20 so you need some solid players to bat through the innings. It is very difficult to see many of those guys in that side. They have competitors who can change a game depending on how the situation is.

PAKISTAN, BANGLADESH and AFGHANISTAN; they are good sides and I am not writing off any of those sides. I am commenting on paper the team’s combinations and all that but of course form will play a big part and how the momentum is during the World Cup. It also depends on how the whole team is playing together during the tournament. Tournaments are such that especially World Cups, if the team clicks and all are in good nick it helps. It can really bring out the best of a team like what happened to us in 1996. That can change some of the things what I am forecasting. But all in all these sides are predominantly spin dominated that’s why I feel they will have a little bit more difficulty in trying to contain because they will need good seam bowlers and good strike bowlers to try and win a tournament like this.

SRI LANKA

I am quite surprised with some of the selections. Akila Dananjaya not being there is something which I just can’t understand. My first pick would have been him, I am surprised. If they wanted a second spinner they could have gone for (Jeffrey) Vandersay, he’s got a lot of potential but unfortunately he has not played much cricket. A leg-spinner needs to have a lot of overs under his belt especially before a World Cup. It will be interesting to see how he bowls.

Dimuth (Karunaratne) should have been given the opening berth and we should have continued with him long ago in the one-day side. When he got the two hundreds against Pakistan I thought they would have continued with him in the one day side thinking of the World Cup and by now he would have got the exposure. I am a bit concerned that he has not had many one-day international games under his belt and more so given the responsibility as the captain will show some impact which I hope he is able to handle and come good.

I am not very comfortable with the combinations mainly because some of the players haven’t played a lot of one-day games in recent times. If you look at the bowling line up they might struggle a little bit because except for (Lasith) Malinga and maybe one or two other senior bowlers it might be very difficult to contain in the middle overs and also get wickets when required. There are decent steady bowlers but in the sort of conditions you will need some strike bowlers to put pressure and take control. That I think we lack. Malinga’s experience will be a great asset because you need some sort of variation in the bowling attack and he will definitely provide that. Though he has lost a bit of pace there are a couple of batsmen who have really mastered how to go after him. But I think given the opportunity Malinga will have a major part to play in this bowling attack.


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