Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Real Contenders #2: Australia

Defending champions for the third time in running, Australia are a totally new looking side compared to last time. An embarrassing Ashes defeat meant people were ready to write them off. However, in the ODI series that followed, they showed everyone that they are still good in this format that too without many main players.

Squad of 15:

1. Ricky Ponting: Skipper and the most important batsmen of Australia has been out of action since the 4th Ashes test due to a finger injury. He will be in hunt for his 3rd consecutive title as captain and 4th as player. Whenever he has scored a hundred, Australia have lost only 4 times. Playing his 5th WC, he would want to score the same way he has done previously. Ponting aggregates over 1500 runs at an average of 48 in WCs. Of late, both his captaincy and batting have been heavily criticized. I still back him and wouldn't be surprised to see him being one of top scorers of the tournament.

2. Micheal Clarke: The middle order batsmen from New South Wales is deputy to Ponting and regarded highly by him. He will be absolutely crucial if Australia are to do well against top teams, since he has ability to compile big innings. Last two years, he averages 48 and while chasing this upto 69 runs per innings. Lately, he was getting bogged down easily and not able to contribute. In the recent series, he played a couple of good knocks and looks set to be back at his best. Clarke's left arm spin will surely be handy on indian tracks, where he has previously picked 6-9(though it was in a test).

3. Shane Watson: The all-rounder could be the X-factor for Australia. He is in fine batting form after compiling 161* in a single handed match winning effort against the English. Watson has shown that he can do well in India, whether the IPL or in Champions Trophy '09, where he scored a century in both Semi-Final and Final to help Australia to claim their first Champions Trophy title. Also, a bowling SR of just 34 and economy of under 5 is very impressive for a fifth bowling option. He will be hoping to be fit throughout the tournament unlike '07.

4. Brad Haddin: The opening partner to Watson is their first choice wicketkeeper. He is a destructive batsmen if he gets going. Playing at the big stage for the first time, he will be crucial, since he is will be doing Adam Gilchrist's role in the team, who we all know has been emphatic for Australia. His keeping of late has been disappointing, plus he has been frequently injured, which made place for Tim Paine in the squad.

5. Cameron White: Victorian skipper is another important middle order batsmen. He is clever player, who starts by taking one's and two's and then plays the big shots. Being a powerful man, he is ideally suited to come around 30th over, get settled and deliver some big blows in the final 10. He did just that in the last ODI he played against India in India. White is also a sharp fielder and part time leggie. Though his bowling isn't that important to them, but as a finisher, his success is essential. More so, because Micheal Hussey will not be playing this WC.

6. David Hussey: The younger Hussey is another capable finisher with good domestic experience and maturity. He showed just that in a recent ODI against England, when he calmly batted till the end with tail-enders to take Australia home. Hussey doesn't have a high average, but you can't blame him for that. He usually gets to bat in the final overs where throwing the bat around is the main motive. Some close followers of Australian cricket, like Nesta Quin believe his off-spin will also come into play. Another smart fielder in the Aussie line-up who will make it hard for singles and boundaries to come.

7. Callum Ferguson: Whenever I have seen 26 year old Ferguson bat, he has impressed me. The South Australians has the potential and temperament to make it big at the WC. After all, not many would manage an average of 44 in 24 innings, when they haven't been given a regular run in the team. Also, a smart fielder and quick runner between the wickets. Quite likely, he will be benched throughout the tournament, except for a maybe a dead rubber.

8. Tim Paine: The young Tasmanian WK is a decent bat and extremely safe with the gloves. Paine isn't as explosive as Haddin, but then Haddin isn't as good a WK as Paine. Likely that he is going to be a passenger for the tour, like Nathan Hauritz was back in '03.

9. Steven Smith: A few months, I had only heard about this youngster. Almost everything I heard, made me interested in seeing how good he is. However, everytime I see him, I am more convinced that he is not worth the hype. Piggy Smith is a superb fielder and unorthodox batsmen, who I am yet to see succeed. He often plays a couple of flashy shots and then gets out. His leg spin isn't that great either, at least not suitable for test match level. When it comes to ODIs he may throw down a few overs and occasionally grab a few victims, but doesn't deserve the "Most exciting player in Australia" tag.

10. John Hastings: The second all-rounder in the squad(Yes, I am not considering Steven Smith), Hastings is new to the Australian line-up. Merely 7 ODIs for Australia shows his inexperience in international Cricket and is an untested face. The only ODI he played in India was his debut when he was impressive as he took 2/44 in ten overs, when most others where going well over 5.5 runs an over. Also, Hastings can smack the ball as well and will come in handy during the last overs.

11. Brett Lee: The only WC played by this speedster is 2003 WC, when he was absolutely sensational picking 22 wickets in the 10 games he played(SR:22, Avg:22). Lee is a match winner on his day and not even somebody who hates him can doubt that. After all, not many can have an average of under 30 after 190+ ODIs. He has been plagued with injuries causing frequent breaks in his career. But, Lee has showen that he has not lost any pace after the comeback as he consistently bowled around the 145 KMPH against England, occasionally touching 150 KMPH as well. Experience, pace and skill- Lee has it all. He needs to be consistent because expecting Johnson and Tait to be consistent throughout, is being optimistic.

12. Doug Bollinger: A consistent left arm bowler who uses swing to get most of his wickets. When conditions are not suited for swing, he uses his angles and wits to do his job. In spite of sometimes not getting rewards, he isn't one of those who gives in easily and is a 110% guy as I had written about him earlier. Bollinger adjusts well in India since he has picked up 9 wickets at just 19 a piece. Not too forget his good run with Dhoni's men at Chennai Super Kings. So, he is a definite starter for me.

13. Shaun Tait: The tall quickie from South Australia is known for his raw pace, something that will be tough for not only minnows but also batsmen from top teams to handle. When he gets his yorkers going, he is very tough to get away in the last overs. Tait could be a revelation if he is on the money, otherwise he has the habit of being erratic at times. His only appearance on the WC stage was the 2007 edition, when he picked 23 wickets in tournament. If he is included in the starting XI, he will be keen to perform like he did last time around.

14. Mitchell Johnson: Another fast bowler from Australia who has extremely impressive statistics. Johnson can be destructively good or stupidly bad. He too has the knack of picking wickets and not to forget, can contribute with the bat. His hard hitting at the end of the innings will also play it's role. After choosing the third pacer from Tait and Johnson, that might come into the equation.

15. Jason Krejza: The 28 year old off spinner turned the ball a long way in the warm-up game against India in Bangalore. Previously he has shown that he can pick up wickets in India. On his test debut, he picked up 12 wickets though went for a lot of runs as well. Krejza is probably the second best spinner in Australia after Hauritz who suffered an injury at the wrong time. Hauritz's pain was Krejza's gain and now he must make the most of it, if Australia are to be serious contenders.

Australia's team is obviously dented by the absence of Micheal Hussey, Ryan Harris and Nathan Hauritz, but even if they had been present, this side is in no competition with the ones that played in the last three editions. After all, the last WC match Australia haven't won was Semi-Final with South Africa of 1999 WC. It really shows how dominating they have been.

Australia are capable and I would expect them to reach the SF stage. But, I don't expect Ponting to win his 3rd consecutive World Cup as captain.

Check out my other blog on non-cricketing issues - No Holding Back.

Follow me on twitter here.

Follow updates from this blog on facebook here.


  1. If Australia win this, the main man for them will be Shane "Superman" Watson. Not only is he in a great form, he was looking imperious in the practice game against India. Even the shot to which he got out was imperiously hit.

    Australia's biggest trouble in recent times (and it showed up again against India) has been the consistency with which their middle order and lower order has collapsed. This makes Watson and Ponting even more important in the team.

    If oppositions target Watson and get him out quickly, they can have a real chance of dismissing Australia cheaply.

    As for the bowling, the question is who will play in the XI. Brett Lee looked excellent against India... but I wouldn't want Johnson and Tait in the same team as a captain. That might well be a recipe for disaster. Krejza looks good and attacking... but he is a little undercooked and from the display he put up against India, he has a tendency to bowl short very often. If the pitch does not support turn, he may get smashed!

    But all in all, Australians know how to slug it out. In 2009, they beat India 4-2 with virtually a third-string bowling attack. So I wouldn't want to write them off. Semifinalists for sure, unless calamity strikes them in the quarters!

  2. Yes, likely semi-finalists. Micheal Hussey's loss will be absolutely crucial due to issues in the middle order. So, White has to fire, though hasn't showed any form in ODI series against England.

    Spot on in saying that Tait and Johnson can't be chosen together. Two people who have tendency of having off days can't be taken together. Not to forget, Dougy is good in India. Ponting is (usually) a class captain and knows how to bring out the most of his resources. The 4-2 clean up of India back in '09, shows that.

  3. Oz are great and they have great chances too. Not bcoz they are champion to last 3 edition but they are one who plays in india more than any foriegn country, all thanks to ipl.

  4. My whole world crashed when my lover left me 2 months ago to be with another woman. I cried and sobbed every day and could hardly concentrate on anything, it got so bad that I had to do something to get him back. Fortunately for me while I was on a site I saw so many people talking about a spell caster named Doctor AKIM and how he brought back their love ones to them in 48 hours. I was so happy and at same time I was scared so I contacted Doctor AKIM and told him my problem and he said he was going to bring him back, that gave me so much hope. I am so glad to say my lover came to me 48 hours after Doctor AKIM cast a love spell to apologize for the way things ended between us and was pleading for us to be back together, isn’t that wonderful? I bet it is, much thanks to this unique spell caster Doctor AKIM. For what you have done for me, I will not stop to share your goodness to people out there for the good work you are doing. Waste no time in contacting Doctor AKIM on
    Jane, USA.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...