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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Australias World Cup 15

1999 - England under the captaincy of Steve Waugh
2003 - South Africa under Ricky Ponting
2007 - West Indies under Ricky Ponting again?

Will the Aussies make it thrice in a row? Odds are stacked heavily in favor of the Aussies to win the World Cup once again. A win would make it a fitting farewell to the team coach and other players who are not likely to play in the next version (like Glenn Mcgrath, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting). Looking at the strengths of the Aussies, it makes it easy to pick their team for the WC2007.

Phil Jacques, Marcus North, Adam Voges, Travis Birt, Shaun Marsh, Mark Cosgrove, James Hopes, Andrew McDonald, Nathan Hauritz, Daniel Cullen, Shane Harwood, Ben Hilfenhaus are not likely to be picked in the final 15, even though Hilfenhaus bowled in couple of ODIs and looked quite impressive in his brief stint. The others seem to have just an academic chance of making it to the Caribbean. They havent appeared for the Aussies in any of the matches ongoing in the Tri-Series. Without trying out any of them, dont think the Aussies will take them for the big series.

Batting
The opening slot seems to be recaptured by Matthew Hayden by his string of scores in the recent tri-series, alongwith Adam Gilchrist. Shane Watson is the other option that is available to the Aussie selectors. Katich has not been in the Australian outfit for quite sometime now. That might be the negative against him at this point.

Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds make it a strong middle-order for the Aussies. Brad Hodge would be the stand-by for any injuries to the regulars, though he has not been able to take good use of most of the opportunities given to him of late. The Aussies will definitely go with Watson and Symonds if they have a chance of making it to the squad in the latter matches. This makes the team vulnerable in the initial set of matches with players like Hodge. Symonds' absence upsets the balance of the team as well as removing one of the best fielders in the Aussie team. Clarke would be then expected to turn his arm over during the matches.

Wicket-Keeping
Adam Gilchrist and Brad Haddin are the two wicket keepers in the 30 selected for the World Cup. No one has any reasons (including injury) to look at anyone other than Adam Gilchrist. Brad Haddin cannot make it to the squad based on his batting alone.

Bowling
Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Nathan Bracken are the ones who will be the first preference for the World Cup matches. The backup bowlers include Mitchell Johnson, Cameron White and Brad Hogg. Depending on the conditions for the respective matches, White, Hogg or Johnson will be played. Shaun Tait seems to miss out in the bowling division. Tait seems to be a force to reckon with, more in the test matches than the ODIs. Cameron White has not been also able to prove his worth in the recent ODIs, bowling only half of his usual quota of overs while being able to contribute well with the bat. But, because of the injury to Symonds, he would have to be selected by the think-tank.

Hence, my team for the World Cup would be
Adam Gilchrist (wk), Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting (capt), Shane Watson, Cameron White, Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark, Glenn McGrath, Nathan Bracken.
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