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Session-dashboard - Tracking Test Matches as they progress.
Tracking T20 run-chases in an innovative manner - See here.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Shake-up in all the international teams around the World

As expected, the World Cup has resulted in various changes in team personnel in almost all the teams around the World. Some have been forced, some have been expected but as usual, the only team which looks as though there was no change are the champions, Australia. Despite the absence of the stars like Mcgrath, Warne, Langer and Martyn, the team has rolled over the Sri Lankans just like the team of old. They are on a 14 match winning streak, thanks to great bowling by Brett Lee and his supporting cast. They were obviously helped by the batsmen who scored more than 500 runs in the first innings of both the test matches, putting pressure on the rival batsmen.

Sri Lanka have been known to be poor travellers and this was proved once again during their tour of Australia. Vaas has aged and this is seen from his ragged performances against the Aussies. Murali was completely ineffective and this meant that the Sri Lankans were always behind. The new batsmen like Vandort, Silva did not pass the test that the Aussies threw - whether they can make the comeback to greatness is doubtful.

The Kiwis seem to be the hardest hit, especially on the test arena. They were not able to handle the pace of Dale Steyn and capitulated in all the four innings of their test series against South Africa. The batting, after the exit of Astle, McMillan, Hamish Marshall, seems to be weak. The bowling on paper (Bond, Oram, Mills) seems to be good but not being healthy enough to cause problems.

South Africa has taken the bold decision to induct the Morkels into the teams in the shorter versions and Dale Steyn in the longer version. Shaun Pollock has been left out of the test team and the team did not feel his absence at all - such was the impact of Steyn. The batting seems to continue from where it left.

Pakistan has been feeling the pressure of Inzamam's retirement from the game, especially on the captaincy front. Shoaib Malik is still young enough to handle the extreme challenges that the game can throw up. The batting will now revolve around the Yousuf-Younis combine, though Misbah has shown signs of excellence in the recent matches.

The Indian team has not changed much - even though a very different-looking team won the T20 World Cup under a new captain. The seniors have combined well with the youngsters to show a competitive face to the rivals. The Australian tour will be a litmus test for the new captains as well as the aging superstars - a draw series (like the last time) will be as invaluable as a test victory. Anil Kumble seems to be tough enough for the series in Ozzie-land - he has a similar gritty person to help as the coach (Gary Kirsten). If the team can replicate the stubbornness that these two bring to their game, the Indians are capable of throwing a surprise.

To round of the also-rans, the West Indians started a tour of Zimbabwe, probably expecting a easy series win. The result was what might be expected of a team that is in the lower rungs of international cricket - a win for Zimbabwe. Can the Windies come back to their old might? It looks doubtful by the day. Only a miracle can turn the team around.
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