The biggest, baddest and the most ruthless tournament of the world cup has started with South Africa and England squaring off in the initial encounter. This world cup is going to be special. Not for its competitiveness and stellar performances but for some of the myths and walls that will be brought down.
Most ICC championships have always had a thunder about the current champion of that time, but this edition is as unpredictable as English weather. You can have your forecast, but don’t bet your money on it.
When we talk about records and perceptions, Virat Kohli is someone who must be spoken of. His despondent and unimpressive show with the bat in ODIs in England in 2014 cannot be obliterated. Though he did redeem himself in the Champions Trophy, there will always be that small problem of some radical bowling attacks in this world cup. As much as I would hate to admit, Virat will have his struggles in this tournament as well. Unless supported by Rohit and Shikhar, the pressure can be ominous for the Indian captain.
Secondly it would be highly immature and outright cocky to write off Afghanistan as a minnow or not amongst equals. They have upset teams like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the Asia Cup and even managed to tie a match with India in the same tournament. Rashid Khan is a formidable force and his reputation as a sinister spinner can wreck any team’s morale and confidence.
Australia, South Africa and Pakistan may perhaps find themselves on an even keel considering how their bowling performs. Of all the teams that have won their matches based on tight bowling, Australia gets the most points and this despite Mitchell Starc nearing retirement age. The return of Steve Smith and David Warner may bolster their chances, but Aaron Finch’s captaincy is something that can cause some confusion.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have their task cut out. Play out of your skins or be outplayed and be relegated from the tournament. New Zealand have been dark horses for a while now and expecting them to repeat their 2015 exploits could be a tough ask especially under the captaincy of Kane Williamson.
England are the clear favourites and their chances in this tournament are better than ever before. All they have to do is not remember the last 3 finals they have lost to other teams and stick to their plan of scoring massive totals like they did against Pakistan.