ICC Cricket T20 World Cup

This Friday sees the start of the second World Cup in twenty20 Cricket. After 2007’s inaugural tournament in South Africa this years tournament is in the home of Cricket itself, yes you’ve guessed it, it is in England!

Forget the Indian Premier League (IPL), this is when the real stars take centre stage in a tournament designed to keep interest at a high level and not dwindle away like the IPL.

The first tournament in South Africa proved successful with India defeating their arch-rivals Pakistan in the final in Johannesburg. Now it is England’s turn to deliver on the world stage, by hosting this tournament.

 India celebrate their 2007 World Twenty20 title

12 teams have reached these finals which will include 29 games played over 2 1/2 weeks which will keep the interest levels of hardened cricket fans throughout, whilst also playing as International teams and not unknown IPL teams will increase the interest of the general viewing public.

Sadly there will be no Sachin Tendulkar at this tournament but many of the worlds top cricketing stars will feature including Chris Gayle, Ricky Ponting, Yuvraj Singh, Brendon McCullum and Kevin Pietersen but I want to see the up and coming stars of the game as well as a surprise name or two.

My five player tips are as follows;

  • Suresh Raina, 22, India – formidable left-hand batsmen, yet to establish himself at test match level but his big hitting ability is suited to twenty20 cricket, he will establish himself at test level, it is just a matter of the little master retiring.
  • David Warner, 21, Australia – Another big hitter, made his Australia one day debut before his first class debut which is a first for Australia, on that said debut he hit 89 runs of 43 balls versus South Africa, had a decent IPL recently.
  • Martin Guptill, 22, New Zealand –Big hitting right-hand batsmen who hit 122 not out on his one day debut in January 2009, has a point to prove as twenty20 level so this could be his tournament.
  • Adil Rashid, 21, England – Right arm, leg-break bowler, and as a close friend of mine has been saying for a long-time “he’s the future of English spin bowling, Swan is only keeping his seat warm”, time will tell but 140 first class wickets in 43 matches back this up.
  • Dirk Nannes, 33, Netherlands – An eccentric multi-talented Aussie deemed not good enough for Australia. 15 wickets at the recent IPL and a winner with Middlessex in twenty20 domestic cricket last year, may prove them to have been wrong to leave him out.

So who are your player tips? And who are you tipping to win the tournament?

You obviously can’t look past India as they are the current champions and have some of the strongest batsmen in world cricket. I personally hope England do turn up but this has proven to be a difficult form of the game to adapt to even for some of the squads big hitters, though hopefully Kevin Pietersens 53 not out versus Scotland will get his eye in.

My outside tip and this may surprise you would be the West Indies as they have some fantastic cricketers and Chris Gayle and his team will appreciate a slightly warmer climate and if Gayle hits big then they surely can compete at the highest level.

The format of this tournament is more favourable to all cricket followers with groups of 3 playing each other once and then moving to the Super 8s (two groups of 4), then onto semi-finals and the final, which is to be played at Lords on Sunday 21st June 2009, 3pm start.

Enjoy the cricket over the next few weeks and for more information click on the link. http://www.cricket20.com/db/t20_wc/default.asp

Finally I find it farcical that FIFA are planning to experiment with two extra officials patrolling the touch-lines in next seasons UEFA Europa league. This is not the correct move, surely one of these two officials could sit in the stand and adjudicate through the use of television on ALL decisions, not just those in the penalty area.

To allow football to move forward Sepp Blatter needs removing from the sport and we need someone with the strength of character to move football into the 21st Century as many sports have already done.

Cheers for reading

Gaffers

P.s. Well done to Robin Soderling for beating Rafael Nadal in the 4thRound, French Open in four sets. It came a month after the Swede lost 6-1, 6-0 in Rome.

It also brings to an end Nadal’s 31 game unbeaten run at Roland Garros.

I for one backed Nadal for this tournament, so who is going to take advantage of this slip? It won’t be Andy Murray that’s for sure!

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