Cricket Cup World Cup. Boom Boom Mutton Chop. Cricket Cup World Cup.
To set the mood, here is my favorite World Cup song of all time, from last edition, and if this doesn’t get you pumped up, you are obviously Ajay Maken after the Delhi polls.
So “Who will win the Cup?”
Will it be Bangladesh? It doesn’t matter because for Bangla fans they have won it already, by virtue of having defeated India in one game in 2007 and then having spent every moment from that time to now speculation about sinister Indian conspiracies to gut the great Bangla team, starting from Pune benching Tamim Iqbal through the season in order to break his heart and through that sabotage Bangla cricket to debilitating verbal broadsides thrown at them by the likes of Sehwag and “Nabhjyot Singh Seeedhu” (video taken down from Youtube). In their first practice game against Pakistan, they put up a good performance, which included contributions from India-slayer Tamim, “what-exactly-does-that-guy-do-in-the-team” Mahmadullah and Shakib pitched in too by not making even one obscene gesture at the crowd (unedited pic here). And while it would take only a great optimist, namely every Bangladeshi fan, to think that they have a reasonable chance of going the full distance, expect a national holiday the day India gets eliminated.
Will it be Zimbabwe? I have no idea because I really know very little of their team, except that they don’t have a Ramzada or a Haramzada in their team but definitely a Masakzada…sorry even that I got wrong Masakazda. Wish I could say something knowledgeable but I really don’t know, except that I am pretty sure they can’t make it to the end.
Will it be West Indies? The West Indies team currently looks like a jute mill from 80’s Bengal, with management firing union workers, and replacing them with strikebreakers who can’t tell the right side of a bat from the wrong. These guys could have been contenders, just like Bengal could have been, but then they ain’t no more. Gayle is as if someone put a pre-paid card on his batting, the moment balance becomes zero, his phone beeps, and he gets out, Dwanye Smith is a pale shadow of this guy who is a matchwinner for the other West Indian team, Mumbai Indians and now the South Indies, everything depends on Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels, and one can’t really win a World Cup with just these few players. Maybe lucrative contracts with IPL franchises is the best they can get this time, which seem to be all they care for anyways.
Will it be Pakistan? With the only heavy guns being the barely-legal Shahid Afridi, the only physicist in Pakistan not making a nuclear bomb Misbah-ul-Haq (that’s how I always think of him), the odds of Ahmed Shahzad finally converting Dilshan to Islam are better than them lifting the Cricket Cup World Cup. But with ace spinner and Maula Jat chair-professor of English, Saeed Ajmal being available, after successful rehabilitation for chucking-related problems, Pakistan is just one fake injury away from boosting their chances. The thing about Pakistan is that they can never be written off, so tenacious they are. Just when you think they have no chance, a few of them take a boat and land where you least expect them to.
Will it be India, defending champions of the World Cup and IPL [image above: India Today]? The player to watch out for me will be Stuart Binny because Mayanti Langer might be seen with him. India’s chances seemed to have improved off late, with Ishant Sharma taking what Kiran Bedi would call a “voice rest”, but then a more-than-a-hundred-run drubbing at the hands of Australia brought up the specter of a loss to one of the non-Test playing nations. India’s bowling was always like Katrina Kaif’s acting, but this time the batting seems to be rivaling it in terms of quality, and perhaps nothing puts things in perspective more than the fact that Rohit Sharma is the man from whom the most is expected.
Will it be England? (image above: Cosmpolitan). This is England’s best chance to win something since the Battle of Plassey, and I understand that’s not saying much. Their bowling attack looks really good in the conditions the World Cup will be played in and besides Draco Malfoy Broad, the entire pace attack looks to be in form. The batting is less solid, and much will depend on Captain Morgan and Haseem Amla-lookalike Moin Ali, but otherwise if you ring the Bell the Buttler will come, typically British style.
Will it be Sri Lanka? Sri Lanka is that guy in class who always ranks within the top four, no matter how tough or easy the question paper was, the one whose superior gaze you want to avoid after the examination. Dilshan, who seems to have been playing forever now that Sachin is gone, is in great form, Sangakkara remains a freak of nature, Angelo Matthews has had a terrific year, and if there is any reason why they are not higher up on my list, it is because of the spotty nature of their bowling, specially the form and fitness of Malinga.
Will it be South Africa? If you go by pure cricketing logic, it should. Read the line-up and Amla, De Kock, Faf, Duminy, Miller stare at you, and then when bowling, two of the world’s best pacers, backed up by a Philander and a surprisingly effective Tahir, and did I forget anyone but of course I did, AB De Villiers, the Leonardo De Vinci of batting and very simply one of the greatest players of the modern game, at the center of it all, and you wonder if any of the other teams have even a bit of a chance. But they do, because South Africa is like a Greek God with a premature ejaculation problem, contriving to leave early through different devices—-dropping a catch while celebrating or reading a table wrong or a batsman looking the wrong way with one run needed.
Will it be New Zealand? New Zealand have always been a very effective limited-overs outfit, with a whole line-up full of utility players who work well as a team. This time not only do they have home advantage and a great run of form leading up, including thrashing South Africa in a practice match, but they actually have a few players with flair—a McCullum, a Williamson and a Mr. Anderson. This very well might be their tournament.
Will it be Australia? Nothing quite build up rhythm and experience than a series against India, and the Aussies are as bursting with confidence as Somnath Bharti in Khirki Extension. They have one walking wicket (scientific name: Sikhar Dhawanticus) in their line-up, captain Bailey, but if Clarke is match-fit, this team looks Amit Shah scary, having match winners up and down the XI. If they have one weakness, it’s also that they just played a series against India, and hence have not really been tested by a half-decent team. Yet they remain favorites, and the only way they can be kept from the Cup is through EVM tampering, Ambani-Adnani ke haath, or a bad game in the knock-outs.
I don’t know who it will be. What do you say?