Friday, 13 February 2015

CWC 2015

Fantasy Bob feels he has barely caught his breath since the last Cricket World Cup, on which, for some reason best known to himself, he felt compelled to comment on these pages; but he finds that the event is on him again.

The opening ceremonies have passed - mercifully, no Scottie dogs were pressed into service - and the teams are limbering up for the first of the 49 games that are needed to identify the champions.

FB is delighted that this time Scotland are among the 14 teams contesting, and equally delighted that 3 of his Carlton colleagues are in the Scotland squad - although it should be acknowledged that none of the 3 has yet reached the starry heights of playing under FB's stern captaincy in the Carlton All Star Fourth XI.  He hopes this lack of big match experience will not stand against them.

Carlton's Big Three - Gardiner, Mommsen and Evans -
all have benefitted from not playing with FB
He can only wish them and the rest of the squad well.  For once the run into the tournament has been good - with solid wins over Ireland and Afghanistan and a magnificent run chase against the W Indies which fell just short of the 314 required to win.  Many commentators expect that 300 is going to be the going rate for an innings in this competition, so it was timely for Scotland show that they have the power in their batting line-up to get to that total.

Scotland come as one of four associate nations who all share a similar objective to put as much egg on the face of the ICC as possible.  This is the last time that CWC will offer such opportunities to mix it with the full member nations since the ICC have insisted that future tournaments will be on a format will make qualification a remote possibility.  So much for trying to develop and strengthen the game beyond the present powerhouses.  So FB hopes that Scotland can cause some upsets in their group games.

It will not be easy - for first up is host nation New Zealand who have had their best year ever and in Brendon McCullum have one of the better ODI batters around.  So good have NZ been this year that they are FB's dark horses for the trophy.

But first they have to get past Scotland.

This is also a hurdle that Australia face - and FB finds it hard to see past the Aussies for the title.  An explosive batting line up, Mitchell Johnson and a home crowd.

But first they have to get past Scotland.

England also face this challenge.  And England have looked unconvincing in the lead up to the tournament - that their new skipper (who should be playing for Ireland) is scratching for form has not helped them.  Easy meet for Scotland?  Wouldn't that be a fine thing?

Come on Scotland - do us proud.

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