>> Monday, February 28, 2011
As always there are the speculations, assumptions, expectations and predictions. The most gigantic of them all – the cricketing world may see the last few innings of perfection; God may walk down the pitch he knows best one last time with that venomous willow that was made to only to kill. Remember it’s what everyone is saying and what will actually happen, we can only wait and watch! After 6 world Cups(most players dream of playing 1 for their national side), and 22 years since making his debut, one may think it would be human to lay that bat down and bask in the glory of the years gone by, but year after year he keeps showing us just how less human and more God like he is!
Sachin apart, it’s the most sought after cricket prize any player or nation knows. This year is no exception! And to win it, you better mean business on the field. There is no room to choke under pressure. Apparently, Herschelle Gibbs still has sleepless nights over dropping Steve Waugh in the 1999 semi finals Vs Australia! That’s how much it means to the players. There is no high status after parties that the IPL boasts of, no auctions to buy and sell players like mere commodities and no relationship building model where players from different nations are expected to play in harmony! If Dayle Styne wants to bowl a bouncer to Kevin Peitersen and have that deadly eye to eye moment that makes the fans roar, he can do it and then make up before they unite for the cause of the Deccan Chargers later in April. Abuse, break wickets, slide, slip, dive, smash the ball or even break a leg – that’s the extent every player goes to to get their hands on Crickets Cup of Glory.
There can be only one winner and winning and losing apart, be rest assured it’s going to be intense. Indian public getting a huge doze of its most favourite medicine, an all time low productivity at offices, an exponential rise in the hits on cricinfo.com, the begging and pleading for VIP box passes, a dip in every cricket loving kids grades at school and all in all an awesome month and a half of enthralling, exciting and nail biting worthy cricket!
Team India has a billion odd people supporting it, the good luck ads wishing the team are being produced thick and fast (you can check them all out on www.adloo.in) and its just the execution that will matter in the end. Most experts believe this is India's best bet and victory will mean a lot. Remember 1983 was long long ago!
Apart from the teams, the brands will be battling it out too. And when the stage is so enormous, an enormous amount of money needs to be spent too. Some figures - Reliance Communications, LG, PepsiCo, Reebok, Hero Honda, Emirates, Yahoo, Castrol and Money Gram have together paid an estimated Rs.1200 crore for in-stadium advertising, Sony India, Hero Honda and Vodafone have paid Rs.55 crores each for the rights of on-air joint presenting sponsors, associate sponsors of the World Cup Nokia, Pepsi, Maruti Suzuki, Philips India and Airtel Digital TV have paid Rs.35 crores each, Idea Cellular will spend an estimated Rs.40 crore in advertisement campaigns while Vodafone has allocated a budget of Rs.75 crores for the World Cup. Sony India has earmarked a budget of Rs.100 crore while arch rival LG has a budget of Rs.70 crores for the event. Generous spending and why not? 2 primary reasons – the audience size cannot get bigger, reaching out will be the key, and if you showcase yourself well, nothing can stop an all important return on investment.
Every tournament begins with people picking their favourite team, their favourite players and moments and matches they are looking forward to. Here are our two cents on what we think are going to be the key highlights of the WC 2011.
What's a match without those out of the ground sixes, classy cover drives and precision perfect straight drives!These are the men who give us that entertainment factor!
Our 5 picks of the 5 top batsmen are,
- Sachin: he needs no introduction and that’s the way we would like to keep it!
- Virat Kohli: He believes he is a mature cricketer now and can play responsible innings. After winning the U19 as captain, we are sure he will want this one under his belt too! Aggressive and confident – let’s hope he lives up to his expectations.
- Kumara Sangakara: He would want to lead his team to victory, it doesn't get sweeter than that. Elegance and talent make him one of the 5 to look out for!
- Jaques Kallis: One of the best all-rounders the game has seen and despite being a veteran, we don't think he can be left out of the party. There may be a million records to his name, but adding a World Cup victory to his resume will be the icing on the cake.
- Chris Gayle: He is tall, lanky and can sure hit the ball very very hard. We have seen a display of his magnificent hitting at the IPL. It’s a bigger stage, but this man has the potential for sure.
Fierce bouncers, lethal yorkers, the googly's and some heated moments with batsmen – spectators pay to watch these things live and who apart from the bowlers can give them their money's worth!
5 bowlers we think will deliver the goods are,
- Dale Steyn: Intense and fast, Dean Jones believes he is one bowler who can scare the daylights out of a batsman. He is the number 1 test bowler in the world at the moment and he can record upto 156 km/hr on bowling speed. Will he be the goodluck charm the Proteas always wanted?
- Shoaib Akthar: The Rawal Pindi express, who doesn't like to watch him bowl. He maybe a step slower but everyone has their eyes on him. With Pakistani cricket in shambles, will he be the pillar that holds it together?
- Daniel Vettori: An absolute class act and an experienced competitor. Been there and done that on a number of occassions but definitely seeking World Cup glory. He is the trump card for the Black Caps most would think.
- Harbhajan Singh : Bhajji may have been in the news lately for his new found love for batting, but heart of hearts he is the spinner India has pinned a lot of hopes on. Will his “doosra” do the magic for India?
- Doug Bollinger : His World Cup debut, and woudn't he want to make it a memorable one! Big and strong we are aware of the damage he can do.
WORLD CHAMPIONS to be??
I can’t deny we are a tad biased here..We want INDIA to win, period! What actually happens only time will tell!
The MOMENTS that will enthrall...
- The Sachin-Shoaib slugfest
Akthar knows no sweeter success than that of sending Sachin back to the pavillion.Its face-off time again and Shoaib's excitement is evident from what he had to say - “We all know he is a great player. Every bowler gets hit. Even Brett Lee gets hit a long way, so I am not worried about being hit for sixes by Tendulkar. I have got him off the first ball too," (source:ndtv.com).
- The Sreeshath tantrums
He sure is thanking his stars he is finally on board but everyone including his captain knows he needs to behave.Dhoni believes “....it's important to keep him under control. It's good for him,for us, for the opponents, for the umpires, for the board and for the spectators” . This time there are going to be absolutely no takers for his theatrics.
- The Pathan magic
If you as a spectator want 6 sixes of 6 balls in the same over, dont think twice and put your money on this lad!He may miss his brothers compnay this time around but lets just hope the magic unfolds when it matters most!
- Ponting's spoiltsport-like moments
The frustration of losing almost gets tattoed on his face and the antiques begin. Arguing with umpires and altercations with the opposition just make him one of the most hated cricketers on field. Is it too late to change or will we see a reformed captain looking strictly at regaining his form and results!?
- The Pakistani cricketing chaos
Afridi claims that his players have turned a new leaf in their lives but with the match fixing scandals that have rocked the team, many would think that they can be written off. Rebuilding team morale and mantaining focus may seem like an uphill task but the team believes they are very much in contention for the cup. I would kill for an India-Pakistan final(and India winning ofcourse)!
Interesting PRE-CUP quotes
"In terms of confidence and balance of the side, this is the best Indian team ever," - Anil Kumble
"I as a cricketer would not like to depend on one person. At the end of the day it's a team game and the team has to win together," - Kapil Dev's view on the Sachin mania.
"We believe we are good enough to go and win the World Cup." - Paul Collingwood on England's chances
"Catching, run-outs will play important roles. Whichever side winning the World Cup will have the best fielding. The best fielding side has the most chances of winning," - Steve Waugh
“Im sure Sachin wants to have a good tournament, sure he wants to be part of a World Cup winning side, but hpefully he is not” - Ricky Ponting
“We all know how important the World Cup is for us and for our country. The message for other teams is that no one should underestimate us." - Shahid Afridi on Pakistan's chances of lifting the Cup