Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My players to watch in the World Cup: Review

With the start of the IPL and other series it feels like the World Cup final was a month ago yet it was a mere nine days ago (or at least it was when I started writing this, oops) so with that in mind I thought it was time to review how well my player picks did.

Shane Watson: Rather pleasingly Watson had an average World Cup. While he did not embarrass himself as he was one of Australia's best players he didn't perform in an amazing fashion. He grafted out 290 runs at an average of 48 which is no where near poor yet he seemed to be in his test 50 to 100 conversion mode not converting one of his three half centuries to big hundreds as well as not performing in the big games against Pakistan and India. Contributing a mere three wickets with the ball is also a disappointing result for him. Clearly he could not live up to my prediction of being man of the tournament and was not even Australia's leading run scorer being beaten out by his even more annoying opening partner.

Brett Lee: Proved that class is permanent despite being the senior pro of the Australian bowling attack ran in hard and bowled probing lines to great effect. Ended with 13 wickets at 18 picking up two four wicket hauls. If this is his last World Cup he can hold his head high as he was one of the few players that carried a poor Australian team to the quarter finals. Best performance was definitely against Pakistan almost keeping the World Cup streak alive defending a low 177 he took 4 for 28 and definitely made Pakistan sweat unfortunately his strong efforts could not stop a poor Australian World Cup.

Tamim Iqbal: Performed much as Bangladesh in this World Cup brilliant one moment very disappointing the next. Started with a brilliant 70 in the opening game but did not get past 50 in the rest of Bangladesh's games even recording two ducks. He ended up with 152 runs at 30.4 as Bangladesh could not even get out of the group stage in their favorable home conditions.

Shakib Al Hasan: Could not live up to his title as captain fantastic performing rather dismally with the ball although ending up Bangladesh's leading wicket taker he only took eight wickets at 27.87. With the bat he too started with a fifty in the first game but ended up with only 112 runs at 22.4 and ended up with flaming arrows being shot at his house for his troubles to reflect how everyone expected far better of Bangladesh.

John Davison: A very disappointing end for someone who usually laps up the big stage ending up with a miserable 33 runs at an average of 6.6 and being shuffled up and down the order. Managed to take five wickets with his off spin darts but overall signed off on a rather sad note for someone who deserved better.

Balaji Rao: Bowled well if not a little expensively in taking nine wickets at 33.22. Most batsmen seemed impressed with his ability to turn the ball and he managed to pick up a four wicket haul against Zimbabwe as he provided a bright spot for Canada in an overall poor World Cup for them.

Jonathon Trott: Proved my confidence in him correct. Was immense in a sea of English inadequacy. Amongst the top eight scorers in the World Cup he was the only one to have not come from one of the two finalist teams as he scored 422 runs at 60.28 with five half centuries. It could be argued that he didn't convert any of these to a century but he almost doubled the next best Englishmans tally of runs so there can be no complaints with even his strike rate of 80 being very acceptable. Definitely proved he is in top form and that to succeed in the short form you do not have to have big flashy shots as long as you have mastered the nudge to leg.

Graeme Swann: Was definitely the stand out bowler for England but I did expect slightly more from the worlds best spinner on pitches that suit his bowling. None the less he ended up with 12 wickets at 25.75 and blamed poor bowling against Bangladesh on dew stating "It felt like playing football with both hands tied behind my back." could not carry an inconsistent bowling attack and can still look back at his performances with pride.

Ed Joyce: Was severely outclassed by the likes of the O'Briens and Paul Stirling but still put in one strong performance in scoring 84  against the West Indies to remind the world of his talent. Ended up with 176 runs at 29.33 as Ireland proved most definitely why they should be allowed to remain in the World Cup.

George Dockrell: I will admit some bias on George Dockrell as I personally find him to be a hero. Despite only ending up with 7 wickets at 29.57 he impressed immensely. Bowled with fantastic control and variation and did not deserve to finish his last game with a dislocated shoulder. Is definitely someone I am looking forward to watching in the future as he can only get better.

Sachin Tendulkar: Proved most definitely why he is the best batsman the world has seen in a long time. He finished with 482 runs at 53.55 as he moved past 2000 World Cup runs. Produced two classy centuries as well as two half centuries. Could not produce a fairytale final in scoring his hundredth international century but did finally get to raise the World Cup as he has now accomplished pretty much every achievement under the international cricket sun.

Zaheer Khan: Was very consistent despite not taking more than three wickets in an innings but still ended up the joint leading wicket taker of the tournament with 21 wickets at 18.76. Was great at the death of an innings with pinpoint yorkers and definitely lead the bowling attack to the World Cup victory.

Steve Tikolo: Was quite frankly rubbish, scored 44 runs at 8.8 this World Cup as well as the 2007 edition both looked too far beyond him and quite really should not have come out of retirement for this one. Hopefully will be remembered for his past achievements rather than this World Cup. On the bright side at least Collins Obuya scored 243 runs and ended up 98 not out against Australia to make up for the disappointing effort of Tikolo.

James Ngoche: Only played three games in the end and only took one wicket proving that the Kenyan selection team was not prepared to give a young guy some world class experience. His brother Shem played three games as well and ended up with only one wicket to boot showing that spin bowling in Kenya is at an ebb even with Collins Obuya's legspin only yielding one wicket.

Ryan Ten Doeschate: Was quite really the hero I thought he would be. Although the Netherlands did not perform as competitively as they should, Ten Doeschate was always competing. He managed to score 309 runs at 61.40 while taking seven wickets at the slightly more expensive rate of 46. Still it is very impressive that he managed to be heavily relied on and come out with two very classy centuries against strong teams providing further reason as to why we should not lose the associates from the World Cup.

Adeel Raja: Sadly not much to write about as he only got two games remaining wicketless while conceding 75 runs at under six an over not showing his true wicket taking potential.

New Zealand
Martin Guptill: It is a tough one in regards to Guptill. He did manage to score 262 at 43.66 which is respectable yet he did most of his run scoring against the minnows. Scored a nice fifty against Pakistan and put in a lot of hard work against Sri Lanka in the semi but got a thunderbolt of a yorker from Malinga. You can say it is disappointing that Guptill did not push on for at least one hundred and did not score heavily against quality teams yet Guptill is still young and this was his first World Cup so lets just hope that he used this as a learning experience. Fielded insanely well through out the tournament setting a high standard for the rest of the team to match and constantly kept fighting for wins which is very commendable.

Tim Southee: Glad to say I picked it. Bowled with the swing and accuracy that everyone has been hoping for since his debut. Took 18 wickets at 17.33 ending up second highest wicket taker. He was inexpensive and consistent as he did not once take over three wickets in an innings. Was aggressive and in the batsmans face and had the skills to back it up. Lets hope we can get Allan Donald to hang around to keep improving him and as he said to make him the best swing bowler in the world.

Misbah Ul- Haq: Did not live up to his pre tournament form as he scored 248 at 49.60 which is still very respectable but in New Zealand he looked as if he would be one of the leading scorers. Chipped in with three fifties but at a strike rate of 73.80 he needed to push more anchor centuries.

Umar Gul: Bowled well to take 14 wickets at 19.42, never took a huge haul and was always in back up to Shahid Afridi but was the perfect foil conceding under five an over with his tactical death bowling.

South Africa
Hashim Amla: Perhaps one of the more disappointing players out of my picks. Has been by far the best batsman over the last year but just did not quite perform as exceptionally as hoped. Still managed 306 at 43.71 but after an early century did not carry on to many more big scores. Ended the tournament with a sadly freak dismissal when his team needed him to perform.

Imran Tahir: Proved that he is indeed up to international standards and did not disappoint in taking 14 wickets at an amazing 10.71 with two four wicket hauls. Strangely was not South Africa's leading wicket taker amongst spinners as Robin Peterson managed to take one more but it was still an outstanding beginning to his international career. Hopefully after a few more games he will stop celebrating like it is his first wicket each time he takes one.

Sri Lanka
Tillakaratne Dilshan: May be my proudest pick, ended up leading run scorer with 500 at 62.50 with two centuries and hardly any minnow bashing. Provided one of the funniest moments when he almost cost his fellow opener Tharanga a century in the quarter final against England after he could not resist bashing fours. Chipped in with the ball very handily and even managed taking a freaking 4 for 4 as he ended up with eight wickets at 15.75.Now being burdened with the captaincy it will be interesting to see if he can keep up his good form.

Is quite good.

Muttiah Muralitharan: Despite the final send off providing no wickets Murali still bowled very admirably during the tournament. Taking 15 wickets at 19.40 when you're one of the oldest and definitely the most injured player still playing is a very good effort. Will be sad not to see his freakishly large eyes around international cricket anymore.

This from a 39 year old who is injured. That is why he will be missed he just loves the game so much

West Indies
Darren Bravo: Despite a very good 73 in the West Indies first game never really got going after that ending up with a very sad 139 runs. Very similar to the whole situation of the West Indies World Cup starting off decently before tailing away to be very disappointing. Luckily for Bravo youth is on his side so he will have many chances to redeem himself.

Kemar Roach: Bowled with pace and venom and ended up taking 13 wickets at 15. This involved some minnow bashing in taking 6/27 against the Netherlands which included a hat trick but other than that he combined pace and accuracy along with a good yorker to take a wicket every 21 balls and only concede only four an over showing that Roach is most definitely a bowler on the improve and not just a source of smoking jokes.

Brendan Taylor: Did not quite live up to his promise and pre tournament form as he only managed 170 runs at 28.33. Did perform very well against Sri Lanka as he showed his potential in a very well struck 80 in a lost cause. Provided one of the shots of the tournament in an upper cut off Malinga which was both daring and brilliant clearly displaying his great skill as a batsman.

Not something I will be trying any time soon
Ray Price: Bowled very very well in my opinion. In a stand out moment of the tournament Ray Price along with Mpofu restricted Shane Watson and Brad Haddin to 28 runs in 10 overs. Took 9 wickets at 18.77 and conceded less that four an over. Showed fighting spirit against the quality international batsman and proved that he deserves to be known as one of the best spinners in world cricket.

So how did I go? Not too badly if I do say so myself. I picked the two leading run scorers and two of the leading wicket takers (darn that Afridi for taking me by surprise). Overall a very enjoyable World Cup especially compared to the farce that was the last one hopefully next time I just don't take as long to write a review blog!