I'm glad the International Cricket Council has intervened and sought to clarify the ambiguities about the Umpire Decision Review System - or simply DRS, as the umpires would prefer it be known as. Specifically, the 2.5m rule. The umpires needed guidance as well, and now it looks as if common sense will prevail in the scenarios like the controversial Ian Bell incident in Bangalore.
In the Bell case, the UDRS said it was out. But the rule which was already defined took the precedence. It should come down to common sense and now that the ICC has clarified the rule we should be better off. The UDRS has helped reduce errors but the game doesn't need any more controversies.
Pakistan seeks 'fool-proof' security for its cricketers
In light of the recent results, it seems Pakistan have some serious issues to address. First it was their fielding and the form of their openers, but now they have a major embarrassment staring them in the face in the form of Kamran Akmal and their fast bowling also lacks some bite. There has been plenty of clamours that Akmal should be dropped, but do Pakistan have any options?
They don't have a wicketkeeper-batsman good enough to replace Kamran Akmal in that role. They can't afford to lose a decent batsman considering how poorly their openers have performed, so they will need Akmal's batting. It's not a pretty scenario and I think we will see them persist with Akmal. What they cannot afford to do is persist with Akmal and Shoaib Akhtar.
Shoaib looks horribly out of shape and I was not at all surprised that Ross Taylor carted him around for 28 runs in an over. He just looks so unfit. He probably has the IPL on his mind and that's why he wants to prove he's fit, but bowling just four overs is a different matter. He may be OK for Twenty20, but Shoaib looks woefully out of depth in one-day cricket.
Umar Gul has been OK, not fantastic, but he gives Pakistan 100% each time. He's been running in hard and has been economical too, though he himself would admit he's been a bit wayward down the leg side. I think Gul will improve as the tournament goes on, and as long as he's charging in, Pakistan will be a dangerous side.
I cannot stress enough how important good bowling is in this tournament, and on sub-continental tracks. South Africa have the best attack, and it will be interesting to see how they fare with the injury to Imran Tahir. They have sheer pace in Dale Steyn, a hustler in Morne Morkel, a capable medium-pacer in Jacques Kallis, and three wicket-taking spinners.
Australia have three fast bowlers who will win them matches but beyond them they lack depth and variety. And variety is what is the most important if you're a bowler looking to do well in the subcontinent. The tracks out there are pretty flat and not conducive to swing and seam, so as a fast bowler you have got to be constantly looking for variety.
Genuine pace helps, but you need variety as well. I'm not saying you need to make drastic changes. It's about subtlety and control. Fast bowlers in the subcontinent will succeed if they have control. You cannot bowl four or five good balls and then slip in one or two boundary balls. That is criminal and you will pay on tracks like those.
So, teams like West Indies and England will struggle. West Indies only have Kemar Roach as a strike fast bowler, who has managed two very good performances but they came against Netherlands and Bangladesh. He has been ably supported by Suleiman Benn, but they need a bit more than two strike bowlers if they are going to progress in this tournament.
I faced better batsmen than Sehwag: Holding
I've not seen much of young Andre Russell but I gather he has some pace. They haven't got a great choice in their squad because of injured players left behind. If they had the availability of Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards, that would make them a potent bowling attack.
England have been really hurt by Stuart Broad's injury. Their attack doesn't have enough variety. India too have a limited attack, as I've stressed before. I think on a wicket like the one in Chennai you can say that luck will come into the equation, but given that there are no quarter-finals or semi-finals played there, teams are left to cope with purely flat tracks. Thus, you need a very good bowling attack to succeed in this World Cup.
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