We are now a just a couple of weeks away from the ICC World Cup and most teams are playing in a one-day series which will be the perfect tuning for the big event. Yes, of course the conditions will be vastly different in the subcontinent from those down under where England and Australia are contesting a seven-match series and New Zealand are hosting Pakistan after having lost to them in the two match Test series.
You may have not noticed it but not too many are screaming about commercialisation of the game during the seven-match one-day series in Australia but for sure it would have been pretty deafening if it was in India. Be that as it may, the series has given England a chance to come back after having lost the first three. At the time of writing this piece, the fifth game was in some jeopardy with the flooding in Queensland, so Australia could still pull it off and get some consolation for losing the Ashes.
Yusuf Pathan - the new Emperor of Blitz
New Zealand too have an opportunity to save their blushes after losing the two Test series to Pakistan, who have shown remarkable resilience despite all the setbacks they have had last year. Their World Cup squad has been announced without naming the skipper which does not make it easy at all. Like the host teams down under, South Africa have also come out on top having pulled off a win in the deciding fifth game of the one-day series.
It was a missed opportunity for the Indians who had a glorious chance to win a one-day series for the first time in South Africa but lost the last two games to the hosts. Yusuf Pathan almost single-handedly won the fifth game but had little support up the order and India ended up short again. Hopefully there will be lessons learnt from that loss and on more familiar pitches India will be back to their winning best for the World Cup.
England will be one of the strong contenders for the World Cup with their confidence high after winning the Ashes and before that the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean in May last year. That win in particular will give them the belief that they can do it in the 50 overs format too. They look as if they have the depth in batting and also have the bowling variety that gives the captain just the flexibility that he needs to rotate his bowling in case one of them is having an off day.
It is here that the form of Jonathan Trott is heartening for the Englishmen, since he can also chip in with some wickets apart from playing the anchor role at the top of the order. He has been batting well throughout the tour and has got his place in the team pretty assured after another century against Australia. So despite the heroics of Yusuf Pathan and the other in-form players like Shane Watson, it is South African turned Englishman Jonathan Trott who is the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.
Professional Management Group