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The Roar

Gurlivleen Grewal

Roar Pro

Joined January 2015

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Supporting a team is a sacrilege I try my best to avert. We are perishing for want of wonder, not want of wonders. Akin to the amount of cricket we are having. Bad beats only happen to good players.

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Those who are surprised at this Warner 2.0 – He has been playing like this in all T20 league games – just look at what he was doing in Bangladesh before the injury and then in IPL. Yes, there were games where he got to a flier because of the weak opposition or an awesome pitch but in between, he was playing at 100 SR in T20s and costing his team the matches.

The quality of bowling is obv much better in WC and he is trying to take ownership of games, just like he did in IPL. It may not come off every now and then but he will come good – no doubt in my mind. His footwork is not that of the old Warner but he will sort it out but the time off the game will make him a better, consistent, mature player.

What the heck has happened to David Warner?

Good call Ronan. More than stats even in the warmups – the WI guys, otherwise batting serenely were relatively struggling against NZ spinners. In their matches against Eng – Moeen struggled but Tahir albeit expensive got wickets – which is the only defense. Lyon has the chops to take out Gayle, Lewis/Bravo – if at all they last so long! I will go with Starc (4), Cummins (5) with one over for Maxwell/Lyon in the first 10. Yes, there will be few edges and boundaries but with that pace, they should get past the openers.

Also, to budget 3 overs of Zampa in 40-50. And 2 each of Starc, Cummins. Things change ofc if Dre Russ comes out. Predict a pretty typical, heavy defeat of Windies.

Australia should play two spinners against Windies

It might have come off as such but I have reasons.

The form of openers – Rohit and Dhawan are both hit and miss and while they are made out to be a very good top 3, they aren’t close to reliable against quality pace, 10:30 starts – there first 4 opponents have quality.

I have concerns about Kuldeep too, while he has made impact against all batting lineups – off late his performance has dipped, whether it is players picking him well, loss of confidence? He might get into a rhythm but if he fails, he would be quickly jettisoned for Jadeja – which will weaken the team overall.

Then is the fact that the first 4 opponents would have played more top level cricket than India.

The no 4 is an obvious concern too.

To put it simply, if it were a stock market kind of situation, I wouldn’t buy India’s stock only if they beat SA in the first game. As I write their bowling attack restricted Eng to 311, with no Steyn, Morris.

India will win the World Cup - and other predictions

9 matches are enough to avoid a hiccup or two but with India’s scheduling – I think it could end up like Australia in 92. With little ODI game time prior to WC, if they happen to lose vs SA (Who would have already played a tense match against Eng), Aus, NZ (all of whom will have a win and meaningful game time against lesser opponents) – it could be a tough road back.

Unlike England, I now don’t think India are a lock for the final 4. Tosses under overcast conditions add to the amount of luck too.

India will win the World Cup - and other predictions

Exactly my point on Dhoni a year back but he has seriously improved since then.

The Roar's Cricket World Cup preview series: India

Valid points Daniel. I think Dhoni, Hardik is settled with the form both have shown in the recent IPL. Many don’t respect IPL but Dhoni leading into it did show some form and carried it in IPL with some fine performances under pressure. Pandaya played the finisher role against pretty good bowlers. His bowling has improved too.

The main concern is of course the no4 and the form of Kuldeep. India has a pretty good backup for Kuldeep in Jadeja but an on-song Kuldeep picks 2/3 wickets each game and that in middle over is gold. I think Jadeja might play against the tough teams (the first 3 games for them).

The other problem is scheduling – India is playing the tough games right at the start – if it rains, there is cloud cover – it might just come down to toss against the new ball pairs of top 5 sides.

The Roar's Cricket World Cup preview series: India

Just like everybody else. All top 5 sides have fast bowling attacks that can shut out the team batting 1st. But such overcast conditions and grass on the pitch aren’t expected for official games. The weather is expected to be hot and dry esp when we get into the later half of the tournament.

The Roar's Cricket World Cup preview series: India

It doesn’t really matter what happens in this warm up – teams try their combinations, English batters will be playing without pressure. Also, Australia might open with NCN instead of Cummins.

I for one am looking forward to and expect England to struggle against the best bowling sides – Aus, SA, Ind – England are yet to play their brand of aggression against a very good attack. Their long batting line up could bail them out but it won’t be like that vs Pakistan.

Starc and Cummins can tame the England batsmen

Can’t say who among Bang, WI would finish 7th. So there’s a difference of opinion with the author. While WI has a better chance of causing an upset, they are more likely to have an off game against the bottom 3 too, balancing it out.

Braithwate – I don’t expect him to be in the team very often, let alone have a big impact. 100 runs and 3 wickets will be a big deal.

Their bowling is woeful, with scope of brilliance – say Oshane Thomas/Gabriel ripping up 3/4 on the bounce. No spin bowling to speak off. To back this up, their ground fielding is quite poor too. How would they win 5/6 games to sneak into top 4?

Gayle, Lewis, Hope, Hetmeyer, Pooran, Russel, Holder, Nurse, Roach, Thomas, Gabriel. It will take them some time to even discover this group – they will play Cotrell and Bravo instead. Yes, the batting has “hope” but the bowling and fielding would make up for any one-off brilliance. Their best shot is against NZ, Ind and Eng, unfortunately, they would be playing these teams deep into the tournament. Let’s see how they go against Pak in their opening game.

The Roar's Cricket World Cup preview series: West Indies

While SA has the strongest bowling attacks going around, the main threat to their chances is their approach to batting – stuck between the 2015 and the avant-grade English approach. On a side-note Ind, Aus, NZ are happy to back the 2015 approach with minor tweaks.
Faf advocates batters to go harder – akin to what Morgs did but the SA team has made so many changes and have tried so many batters – that they don’t feel confident in pulling that off in high-pressure situations. So their fortunes get dictated by QdK at the top – if he puts the pressure, the others follow suit, but even then his good 60-70s aren’t backed often enough.
The second weakness is the number of games some of the chosen ones have played. In the name of trying all the options for all positions till the very last moment, the selection was kind of a lottery with even Morris (who was pencilled in long back supposedly) not considered for first 15. Guys like Morris, Duminy, Amla as a result of that and injuries havn’t played top-grade cricket for a long time and all 3 will make the starting 11.
Coming to where they would finish – I think they are much likely to finish in top 4 rather than 6th. While the batting has problems like just about any other group, their bowling should see them get past NZ, Pak, and others in bottom 5. The batting is also strong enough to withstand the relatively weaker bowling line ups.

The Roar's Cricket World Cup preview series: South Africa

To add to some of the points – their bowling has performed in the past and could potentially click together. However, at the moment and since CT 2017, none are performing. Shadab is coming off an injury layoff, Wahab, Amir were dropped due to consistently poor performances, Hasan Ali’s has tapered off, Shaheen Shah had a difficult time in England but has been otherwise good.

Their fielding has been woeful – on average they drop a couple of regulation catches, expecting them to save runs seems fictional.

Batting – Fakhar could provide them the extra runs needed to compensate for their bowling and fielding. But he takes too many chances to score and like one saw in CT Final – when it one’s day, it can come off, but it doesn’t happen often. If the pitches aren’t flat then he will have a tough time, he was dropped too but has had a good tour of England – owing largely to flat surfaces.

The Roar's Cricket World Cup preview series: Pakistan

Does Australia or any team have 5 Lynns? My point is no team has so many batters who bat with the same philosophy, who have similar skill sets and who are peaking together. Therein lies the potential weakness too – for all the talk of Root being the glue etc – he also plays many high-risk shots, getting swayed by those around him.

With or without 2 new balls, even the best players could never match this tempo on batting beauties because each of them was playing in lineups which couldn’t afford such extravaganza. So expecting a couple of such players to change the dynamics of a team is flawed – their propensity for failure will heap pressure on them and unless the whole team is playing in unison, they will be discarded, the way it happened to Lynn, Short. For all the success of Maxwell, see how much pressure is put on him by even his own coach and captain, let alone the fans.

Uber-flat English pitches would mar World Cup

Chris, not all people say so. Few do explicitly. Few put it like Aus should have picked Short, Lynn or India are missing Pant and that other teams are playing cricket from an older generation – essentially not appreciating that such talent in a long batting line up is rare.

Coming to your point that these methods work only on consistent pitches – it is true but misses half of the story. Even on such pitches – which one finds quite often in Aus, Ind, UAE, NZ, Even in SA – teams didn’t use to go so hard – because they don’t have such long batting line ups and don’t have the skills. And ofc I agree that better bowling attacks are there and even on flatbeds they would pose to them their biggest challenge.

Uber-flat English pitches would mar World Cup

England is tremendous to be scoring at such pace. For those, who think it is not a huge feat, not only they have skill but they are fearless – a combination that makes them exceptional. People tend to forget the exceptional skill part – Guys like Sehwag, Gayle, Jayasuriya, Gibbs, Hayden and plenty of other great players couldn’t match this tempo. The parts of the ground they access so as to beat the field restrictions is a feat in itself. The lack of fear comes from a strong team culture and from being a part of the longest batting line up. So belittling them as mindless sloggers is idiotic, biased or untrained.

But then are they are not unbeatable. Not all bowling attacks are equal. Ind, SA, Aus and I presume with such a good preparation Pakistan would ask very good questions of this lineup. And the pitches are expected to be drier and the conditions to be hot – so it wouldn’t be all flatbeds.

Also, the success of England has come in bilateral series, where teams are not at full strength. England are yet to face an injury-free/full strength line up of top 5 teams. I don’t think their success in WC is a given.

For the team to win the WC, I don’t think it is essential to copy this new approach of England primarily because no other country has such talent peaking in unison. Expecting a bunch of players, who are hacking it in T20s to provide such consistent success is churlish. The other top teams should stick to their strengths – low-risk top order batting followed by explosive lower orders, safe catching and well-balanced attack containing high pace and wrist spin.

Uber-flat English pitches would mar World Cup

Strengths aptly put. Few other things to add.

Weakness – lack of plans – it shows in Kohli’s IPL team, it shows in intl selection and strategy. Kohli is highly influenced by Dhoni who is a strong opponent of working on match-ups or plans. They still haven’t figured out why Jadhav lost his mojo in last 2 games (bowling arm etc), which bowler is a threat and should be played out, what movement is hampering Rahul etc. Shastri is just a you can do it, you are the best, yes man!
Then is Kuldeep’s confidence – He has made decent comebacks from putdowns before but not picking up wickets and getting a boot from a ^&*^% IPL team could be tough to swallow.

Opportunities – If the conditions are dry, hot – conditions like CT-17, the bowling attack becomes very potent, and their middle order weakness will get alleviated too.

Threats – New ball attacks of SA, Aus can potentially dent the top-heavy batting line up. Injuries cloud over Jadhav.

A SWOT analysis of India's World Cup mission

He has played about 10 innings in internationals in 2018 where he was given a decent enough space to maneuver the innings. So he wasn’t explicitly selected as a finisher, more like what is needed and what to expect off him. Barring one decent performance, he has had a tough time knowing whom, when and how much to attack. Even in IPL, he has failed to close out 98% won matches. Mind you AbD didn’t close out matches either – many a time SA suffered in chases. So there is value of such a player, who can counter attack but he is nowhere close in technique.
Even his test innings in England, Aus series started with shovels, hacks – he doesn’t trust his technique enough and/or isn’t temperamentally strong enough and/or doesn’t know how to weigh the risk – either way not suited right now for roles in the top order. So doesn’t it make sense to give him a role when the bowlers are under pressure, they tend to contain?
I wouldn’t go by the talk of team-mates or the ever-exuberant commentators about closers, finishers. Once he gets a good enough success rate at that position, he’ll bail out the team at 60/4 once or twice and then if he is also performing in tests, he’ll get the role at no 4. Even Raina got that! For him to open – few alternatives have to fail big – Gill, Shaw etc.

Is Rishabh Pant getting pigeonholed into a finisher role?

I don’t think he can disappear, people have seen quite a lot of him already. He is clearly cut above for domestic level – the likes of Saurav, Laxman, Hayden didn’t go away after failing. And he gets to bat wherever he likes for Delhi in domestic cricket. It is up to him, if he performs well in tests he will be given an even longer rope akin to what Rohit, Dhawan and now Rahul is enjoying.

I think this test with fire will only help in improving his awareness and maturity. And post WC, plenty of positions should open – this longevity of Dhawan keeps amazing me, then there are obvious middle order births.

I get your point – could he be an opener or no 4? His technique and temperament suggest he isn’t there yet. So perhaps he can move up ala Sehwag after gaining some experience.

Is Rishabh Pant getting pigeonholed into a finisher role?

Your assertion seems correct, people desperately want to have a like for like replacement of Dhoni. But isn’t batting at 4 require equal amount of levelheadedness as that of a finisher? Pant in his limited experience in ODI, IT20s tends to come out as someone not mature enough to read the situation as well as Dhoni. Mind you how many guys can you name who were ever as good as Dhoni was?

His training as finisher will only mature him for either roles? You first learn how to pace it for 5 overs, then learn to do it for 20. It will still require playing attacking cricket as per his natural instincts but he will know whom to attack and when to play percentage, unlike his knocks now.

Is Rishabh Pant getting pigeonholed into a finisher role?

Easy dude. Too many personal shots. IPL is a high pressure situation on pitches that suit the batters. How a bowler performs in these tough situations or a young guy bats in such situations peaks lot more than meaningless than sub 20 average of Lokie vs Srl, Pak, WI and 50+ average vs top 4 sides in the world. The rankings don’t calculate value of contribution. Kane on the other hand hasn’t played consistently in IPL, he has sacrificed his batting position too. So no unlike your inflated biases, I like to use nuance.
IPL just happens to have more proportion of best cricketers in the world playing the competition and so it is not a personal bias but the standard of cricket and professionalism is a notch higher that other leagues and of course a notch lower than true International cricket. You seem to have a personal bias against it though.
I referred to the India series and IPL because these are the matches he has played recently and I couldn’t agree with your assertion of him getting better and better with games. He hadn’t performed well against top 4 earlier and couldn’t even now. Anyway he was playing in dysfunctional team in IPL but the India series wasn’t good either.

Smith and Warner return as Australia pip New Zealand

Not an obvious bad decision or anything of that sort. Hazlewood wasn’t bowling well for quite some time before the injury and the pitches aren’t expected to be spicy either. Have to trust the selectors that they would have seen his performance and made this call. Kane on the other hand picks up wickets (goes for runs too) but can be a wicket taking option on flatter surfaces and bowls at the start and middle and death. His batting, fielding isn’t shabby either.

Jhye Richardson ruled out of Cricket World Cup

I think all of us missed one thing – is Starc riled up against Smith or Smith is struggling or man is he again reaching his peak? He was starting to bowl pretty well against Srl.

Smith and Warner return as Australia pip New Zealand

It is not just IPL form, see his numbers since the last WC across ODIs, across 3 IPLs. He can’t bowl tight lines and lengths and with his pace dropping to early 130s there is nothing to threaten. The balls in shorter formats doesn’t swing (late start, ideal weather conditions), they barely seam for 5 overs. Nobody denies his prowess until last WC but even his rewards in tests against quality teams have gone south since.

Smith and Warner return as Australia pip New Zealand

Agree. But Henry is a better bat and as good a fielder as Southee. And if you see his numbers and more than that how rarely he leads the attack, he should be nowhere near the team. The guy can’t bowl tight lines and lengths let alone pieces of brilliance.

Smith and Warner return as Australia pip New Zealand

Hate to write a Warnesque comment but he is too soft for a fast bowler? Given he bowls 150+ first ball – he relies too much on his slower balls variety to be an out and out quick ala Bond, Starc, Lee. Yes pace gets hit and he would be taken for 20+ runs but there is a fine balance say what Cummins does in the middle overs – still relying on pace, line, bit of seam. His bowling vs the Indians and in the IPL didn’t give any inclinations that he is a threat.

Smith and Warner return as Australia pip New Zealand

The only times I have seen Khawaja perform (5 or 6) is when no one expects much of him and/or the team. Say when Finch’s form was so bad that the spotlight was firmly on him and with no Waner, Aus tour of UAE, last test of Ashes etc. And it might be coincidence that he didn’t get going at home in tests. But as part of very successful units he has also performed vs SA, NZ, little pressure that is, quite young in his career et al.

I might be wrong in connecting a dots of coincidences or that he is finally at another level but in crisis the teams tend to revert to what they know and this WC is expected to be a fiercely fought one.

Smith and Warner return as Australia pip New Zealand