I haven’t posted anything in a while as I’ve been doing other things, but now I need a new distraction so I thought I’d write about something. The 2011 Cricket World Cup starts this Saturday, so that’s sure to provide me with some ammunition. It will be hard for England to play any worse than they did in the one-day series against Australia, a 6-1 defeat which I failed to predict after they lost the first game. A few players had problems with injuries which stopped them from playing the later games of that series, but only Eoin Morgan will miss the World Cup. England also have Stuart Broad coming back from the injury he picked up way back during the Second Test in December, which should, in theory, strengthen the team, but he will be lacking in match fitness. I think the warm-up games will be important for him, but unfortunately he’s got an illness which means he’ll miss the first one. I expect some of the bowlers who played the bulk of the series in Australia will be rested for the warm-up matches, and possibly the first proper match against the Netherlands, as there hasn’t been that long of a break for them.
England definitely have a chance to do well in the tournament, as they are strong in all departments, but the batting line-up is still prone to the occasional collapse and they also have trouble knowing what score to aim for batting first, but these are problems they have the talent to overcome. Fielding and bowling wise they are as strong as any of the other teams. As the matches are being played on the Indian subcontinent, where pitches are conductive to spin, England’s most important players will probably be Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy, who will likely be the two spinners in a five man bowling attack. If those two bowl well even the best batting line-up will find scoring difficult. A possible problem for England may be Swann’s fitness, as he picked up an injury in Australia. It should have healed by the start of the tournament, but if it reoccurs it could seriously damage England’s hopes, as the current best spinner in the world, Swann is effectively irreplaceable. But as long as everybody stays healthy, I think England have a great chance. They’ll need their fair share of luck to win, but I think that’s true of any knock-out tournament, in any sport. I hope I’ll be posting some good news on here in the coming weeks.