World Twenty20 2012 September 17, 2012

Fun format has serious issues at stake

The international Twenty20 game, for the sake of its own future, sorely needs to re-establish its primacy with a successful World T20
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It is an overburdened mind that cannot spare some time for revelry and, in the next three weeks in Sri Lanka, the World Twenty20 offers the international game the chance to discover its lighter side. No form of the game can promote the attraction of cricket to a new audience so quickly, nor provides such immediate appeal.

For the connoisseurs who carp that Twenty20 is a poor substitute for the intricacies of Test cricket, it is time to lighten up or look away. The two extremes of the game satisfy very different needs and it is perfectly possible to enjoy both without admitting to a personality disorder. The best players in the world have assembled for a meaningful tournament and there is fun to be had.

Quite who will win the World Twenty20 is impossible to predict with any confidence, but India, South Africa, England and West Indies have the look of semi-finalists and, with no outstanding side in the tournament, India have the capacity to beat South Africa in the final and follow up their win in the inaugural event in South Africa in 2007, a win that was greeted with an open-top bus ride through Mumbai that stopped traffic for hours, ushered in the IPL to satisfy a nation's craving for more and changed the cricketing landscape forever.

That is a reminder that there are more important issues at stake beyond the winning team. The international game, for the sake of its own future, sorely needs to re-establish its primacy with a successful World Twenty20, just as it also needs the ICC to preside over a 50-over World Cup confident in structure and purpose that can once again connect to a maximum extent with the public.

Failure to provide such a spectacle over the coming weeks will provide fuel for those who argue that Twenty20's future is best removed entirely from international cricket and left to individual countries running franchise operations, led by an unfettered IPL that, for all the excitement that it has brought for millions, will be expanded beyond the level where its presence remains good for the game.

Should franchise cricket, not just in India but in lesser leagues around the world, expand beyond the point of sanity, the rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer and the ability to invest wisely in the game worldwide will be severely compromised. Talk that the IPL could be expanded to 10 teams should Deccan Chargers resist attempts to exclude them is further proof that ambitions are not yet sated.

Sri Lanka's ability to deliver the show that cricket needs cannot be taken for granted especially as one of the grounds, Hambantota, stands in a sparsely-populated area a long journey from what remains a largely imaginary port city of the future - at best part a vision of the future that will not be fully realised for decades. Elephants may pull in the tourists, but for the moment cricket must make do with a white one.

There would no better time for Sri Lanka Cricket to show itself capable of putting a history of mismanagement and politicking behind it and displaying good governance. The costs of building new stadiums for the 2011 World Cup left it with debts approaching $70m, players went unpaid for months and the ICC has had to provide loans and guarantees of $2.5m to enable this tournament to go ahead. It is to be hoped the October monsoon does not intervene.

Failure to provide such a spectacle over the coming weeks will provide fuel for those who argue that Twenty20's future is best removed entirely from international cricket and left to individual countries running franchise operations

The best teams refuse to accept that the result of a Twenty20 game is largely random, and convince themselves that, more often than not, skill, instinct and ingenuity can win through. Twenty20 is no longer played half-heartedly by insecure professionals unable to suppress the belief that they were somehow demeaning themselves, but by sharp-witted cricketers awash with adventure and imagination. Twenty20, like Test cricket, is also a game of the mind - it is just a mind retuned to the need to second-guess opponents in a game where risk is not minimised but embraced.

Sri Lanka's former captain, Kumar Sangakkara, has counselled: "Be ready for a stiff breeze in Hambantota, swing and seam in Pallekele and a good batting surface at the Premadasa in Colombo. Each venue will have a different challenge and sides will have to adjust accordingly."

West Indies have not won a major tournament since the Champions Trophy in 2004 but they have not been as widely fancied for a generation - one poll on an Indian website suggested 35% of supporters tipped them to win - and their most destructive players have made an impact in the IPL and beyond.

But when they lost their opening warm-up match against Sri Lanka by nine wickets with more than four overs to spare it summed up the unpredictability of the tournament, not just because of the nature of Twenty20 but because of the nature of the teams. Never have so many teams packed with so much destruction inspired so little confidence. West Indies might need to reverse that result against Sri Lanka in Pallekele in the Super Eights to reach the last four.

This World Twenty20 is so well balanced that it is easier to find reasons why teams will not succeed. India will be at home in Sri Lanka, they are buoyant after the return of Yuvraj Singh and they are not quite so weighed down by expectation, certainly not after the way they succumbed to Pakistan in their warm-up match when victory seemed assured. It will take a couple of thumping wins to give them the air of victors.

The worries expressed in India that Sri Lanka's pitches might not turn as much as they would like are understandable, but they will be spared Pallekele, where the quicks might be most effective, throughout the tournament and that must be to their advantage.

India's Super Eights group is potentially daunting, likely also to comprise South Africa, Pakistan and Australia. South Africa are challengers and have tag-teamed the No. 1 ranking with England in recent weeks, but they still seem to have a stronger suit in the Test and ODI formats.

That anticipated grouping surely lessens Australia's chance of putting behind them the embarrassment of being ranked, earlier this month, below Ireland. The Big Bash League will doubtless invigorate their Twenty20 cricket, and enable them to recover from their initial reluctance to embrace the format, but they will need huge runs from Shane Watson and David Warner at the top of the order to make a strong showing.

Pakistan, for all their heroics against India in their most meaningful of pre-tournament friendlies, do not look as strong as when they won World Twenty20 in England in 2009, and have yet to settle to a pattern under a relatively new coach, Dav Whatmore.

The announcement by the PCB's chairman, Zaka Ashraf, that their director-general (cricket), Javed Miandad, has been sent to Sri Lanka "to look into some team issues" does not inspire confidence that the coach and his new captain, Mohammad Hafeez, have successfully implanted a new vision of unity and purpose. Pakistan should trust Whatmore and Hafeez for the next two years to get on with the job.

England's concern will be that they are caught cold by Afghanistan in their opening qualifying match in Colombo on Friday. They field a young top order of T20 specialists, none of them regulars in the Test side, and, assuming Afghanistan are dispensed with, their seam attack should go well in Pallekele. Their challenge will become most daunting on their return to Colombo for the semi-finals.

With New Zealand, for once, not presented as dark horses - Bangladesh must fancy their chances of a minor upset in Pallekele on Friday - England, West Indies and the hosts, Sri Lanka, look likely to be in the shake-up for the two semi-final spots.

Sri Lanka do not inspire confidence even though they have reached three global finals since winning the 1996 World Cup. They have played only nine Twenty20 internationals at home, all since 2009, and have won only three of them. It will take an entire kit bag of wicked Malinga yorkers to arrest a record like that.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY cric4world on | September 18, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    winning a world cup is about winning quite a few matches most importantly the knock out ones. and for that u need strong bowlers and batsmen to fall back on.dats y teams like SA and aus have less chance bcoz they r top heavy but nothing to fall back on.their paces go for runs then no spinners to pull them back into game, if u get rid of top 3 or 4, they start limping.a heavy top cant win u 4-5 games in a row bcoz its very hard to maintain the rhythm against different oppositions.so teams like WI, SL and PAK have more chance bcoz if top order fails they have match winners at bottom, if pacers go for runs they have spinners to pull them back into game.n then PAK bcoms more favourite bcoz pacers r good enuff n spinners r more then good enuff, n they have heavy match winners at 6,7 and 8. india is just too weak with pace n spin only ashwin is worth mentioning. so my favs r pakistan until they implode, after that its anybody's trophy

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | September 18, 2012, 18:25 GMT

    T20 is a form of the game in which many or most of the really competitive matches are decided by small, sometimes tiny, margins. Everyone here seems to be focussed, or over-focussed on the big teams, each shouting for his/her favourite. This does not make for sensible debate. What would be a profitable area for to look at would be the respective fielding merits of each side. I will make a confident prediction: the side that fields exceptionally well, holds its catches, moves aggressively onto the ball in the deep, prevents ones becoming twos, & keeps the extras to an absolute minimum will go a long way. In this respect, I think that the Windies with their natural athleticism will do well. It is seldom that a sloppy fielding side prospers for long. And can we have an appreciation of all good & exciting play, from wherever it comes, or are we going to spend the entire tournament watching with one nationalistic eye? Maturity of outlook is a wonderful thing!

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    This is a summary as I see at the moment. Distant history not considered INDIA: Very strong batting and weak bowling. This contrast makes it difficult to predict anything. SRI LANKA: Very disciplined but thats all. No X-factor to lift them from tough situations. Definite semi-final, then anyone's bet. PAKISTAN: For all the "hidden talent' unless it shows up sometime, no further than super 8. AUSTRALIA: Just no human resources. Genuine also rans here. ENGLAND: No KP. No cup. SOUTH AFRICA: Same as Lanka. WEST INDIES: Gayle, Pollard, Narine. If they cant win it I dont know what can. But no sensible guy bets on Windies. NEW ZEALAND: Same as Aus BANGLADESH: Tough group, unimpressive run in. Perish in 1st round IRELAND: Could be the coming-of-age moment. Being with Windies n Ozzies is a great opportunity. AFGHANISTAN: A talented novelty. May tr.ouble but not more. ZIMBABWE: Get whipped, go home

  • POSTED BY Desihungama on | September 18, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    Mr. Hopps - You are forgetting the fact Team Pakistan is always in need of a father figure around them. Be it Imran Khan in 92 Cup victory or Younis Khan most recently 2009 World 20 victory. Javed Miandad was not sent to play the role of a spoiler but to provide that father figure role that Dave Wathmore may be missing.

  • POSTED BY cric.info. on | September 18, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    Concluded that David Hopps will not be watching T20. Hopps can u..?? :)

  • POSTED BY electric_loco_WAP4 on | September 18, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    @SamonandTrout the last I checked Aus are definitely above the minnow with day light between .Now mate there aint a lot between the top 8 "powerhouses" esp in the T20s.Now mate applying common logic (will gladly prescribe good logic textbooks for college tests if you wish)you would conclude them to be among the "favourites" if not THE favourite eh....

  • POSTED BY ysfcapricorn on | September 18, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    For heavens sake David Hopps, this is the most funny article on Preview of worldT20. You wanna bet on your semifinal prediction? Trust me there will be no south africa, no west indies, no england.. I mean england is going to produce stupid results out there in sub continent conditions, and you mark it, they will get a upset in this tournament. and about west indies and south africa,, just no way. they can't make it to the semi.

    This article seems to be written by someone who doesn't know the dynamics of the game.

  • POSTED BY swervin on | September 18, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    it is ridiculous to forecast a winner in 20-20 - IMHO it is such a short game that it is almost random who wins and there is certainly no real likelihood that any team will be dominant in this format over any long stretch of time - it is not to be taken seriously

  • POSTED BY Khalid_Shuja on | September 18, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    In my Point of View, last four teams would be like that Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and South Africa. Last Two Teams Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

  • POSTED BY Bruisers on | September 18, 2012, 12:57 GMT

    England and semifinals!!? Are you kidding me Mr.Hopps?

  • POSTED BY cric4world on | September 18, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    winning a world cup is about winning quite a few matches most importantly the knock out ones. and for that u need strong bowlers and batsmen to fall back on.dats y teams like SA and aus have less chance bcoz they r top heavy but nothing to fall back on.their paces go for runs then no spinners to pull them back into game, if u get rid of top 3 or 4, they start limping.a heavy top cant win u 4-5 games in a row bcoz its very hard to maintain the rhythm against different oppositions.so teams like WI, SL and PAK have more chance bcoz if top order fails they have match winners at bottom, if pacers go for runs they have spinners to pull them back into game.n then PAK bcoms more favourite bcoz pacers r good enuff n spinners r more then good enuff, n they have heavy match winners at 6,7 and 8. india is just too weak with pace n spin only ashwin is worth mentioning. so my favs r pakistan until they implode, after that its anybody's trophy

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | September 18, 2012, 18:25 GMT

    T20 is a form of the game in which many or most of the really competitive matches are decided by small, sometimes tiny, margins. Everyone here seems to be focussed, or over-focussed on the big teams, each shouting for his/her favourite. This does not make for sensible debate. What would be a profitable area for to look at would be the respective fielding merits of each side. I will make a confident prediction: the side that fields exceptionally well, holds its catches, moves aggressively onto the ball in the deep, prevents ones becoming twos, & keeps the extras to an absolute minimum will go a long way. In this respect, I think that the Windies with their natural athleticism will do well. It is seldom that a sloppy fielding side prospers for long. And can we have an appreciation of all good & exciting play, from wherever it comes, or are we going to spend the entire tournament watching with one nationalistic eye? Maturity of outlook is a wonderful thing!

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    This is a summary as I see at the moment. Distant history not considered INDIA: Very strong batting and weak bowling. This contrast makes it difficult to predict anything. SRI LANKA: Very disciplined but thats all. No X-factor to lift them from tough situations. Definite semi-final, then anyone's bet. PAKISTAN: For all the "hidden talent' unless it shows up sometime, no further than super 8. AUSTRALIA: Just no human resources. Genuine also rans here. ENGLAND: No KP. No cup. SOUTH AFRICA: Same as Lanka. WEST INDIES: Gayle, Pollard, Narine. If they cant win it I dont know what can. But no sensible guy bets on Windies. NEW ZEALAND: Same as Aus BANGLADESH: Tough group, unimpressive run in. Perish in 1st round IRELAND: Could be the coming-of-age moment. Being with Windies n Ozzies is a great opportunity. AFGHANISTAN: A talented novelty. May tr.ouble but not more. ZIMBABWE: Get whipped, go home

  • POSTED BY Desihungama on | September 18, 2012, 16:47 GMT

    Mr. Hopps - You are forgetting the fact Team Pakistan is always in need of a father figure around them. Be it Imran Khan in 92 Cup victory or Younis Khan most recently 2009 World 20 victory. Javed Miandad was not sent to play the role of a spoiler but to provide that father figure role that Dave Wathmore may be missing.

  • POSTED BY cric.info. on | September 18, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    Concluded that David Hopps will not be watching T20. Hopps can u..?? :)

  • POSTED BY electric_loco_WAP4 on | September 18, 2012, 15:01 GMT

    @SamonandTrout the last I checked Aus are definitely above the minnow with day light between .Now mate there aint a lot between the top 8 "powerhouses" esp in the T20s.Now mate applying common logic (will gladly prescribe good logic textbooks for college tests if you wish)you would conclude them to be among the "favourites" if not THE favourite eh....

  • POSTED BY ysfcapricorn on | September 18, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    For heavens sake David Hopps, this is the most funny article on Preview of worldT20. You wanna bet on your semifinal prediction? Trust me there will be no south africa, no west indies, no england.. I mean england is going to produce stupid results out there in sub continent conditions, and you mark it, they will get a upset in this tournament. and about west indies and south africa,, just no way. they can't make it to the semi.

    This article seems to be written by someone who doesn't know the dynamics of the game.

  • POSTED BY swervin on | September 18, 2012, 13:55 GMT

    it is ridiculous to forecast a winner in 20-20 - IMHO it is such a short game that it is almost random who wins and there is certainly no real likelihood that any team will be dominant in this format over any long stretch of time - it is not to be taken seriously

  • POSTED BY Khalid_Shuja on | September 18, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    In my Point of View, last four teams would be like that Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and South Africa. Last Two Teams Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

  • POSTED BY Bruisers on | September 18, 2012, 12:57 GMT

    England and semifinals!!? Are you kidding me Mr.Hopps?

  • POSTED BY atuljain1969 on | September 18, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    As per me foll. could be the semifinal line up :

    1. West Indies 2. Pakistan 3. Sri lanka 4. India/ New Zeland

    any takers ?

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | September 18, 2012, 12:44 GMT

    ire, bangla, windies, afghan are semi finalists..with afghan and ire fighiting in finals and Afghan win over a last ball flourish to SIX over mid wkt (aka Dhoni style) Ahmadi..A new champion is born..and they alll lived happily ever after. (Er..contd..3 Afghan playes are the most sought in IPL 2013 with KP released from his contract after sending tex messages about Viru and Mahela to his ex-RCB mates Kholi and Kumble)

  • POSTED BY Sharath274 on | September 18, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    I think Pak has to be among the top contenders... they have one of the best combination for this format..their bowling is very strong and batting will hold good since its only for 20 overs and they bat deep with Malik at No.7... fielding is one area where they would be weak...Similarly Srilanka can also go all the way if they can handle the home crowd pressure, as they have a good team with a nice blend of youth and experience...I wud be very surprised if these two teams dont make it to the semis..

  • POSTED BY MightyOne on | September 18, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    The clue to the victors was in the 4th from last paragraph. If all was well in the Pakistani dressing room they would have no chance. Now that officials are trying to put out fires and ructions are forming within their camp, Pakistan will be unbeatable. Even as an SA supporter I can't see them winning this, which to my mind makes Australia the outside darkhorses to come through and try and repeat their heroics of stopping a Pakistan team at war with itself - hope Hussey has his pads on!

  • POSTED BY aaaaatif on | September 18, 2012, 11:48 GMT

    Just to wake up most of the PEOPLE HERE, PAKISTAN, INDIA, SOUTH AFRICA and AUSTRALIA ARE IN THE SAME GROUP IN SUPER EIGHT and so is the format that even if they come second or first in the first round, the groups would not change...........predicting INDIA, PAKISTAN AND SOUTH AFRICA will be in semis is just ignorance.because there only can be two teams from each super-eight group.......I think sub-continents teams have a greater chance than other teams...

    We know how England's record in SL and that also of WI and SA in SL....WI has a good bowler in narine but remembe last wc's quarter final against PAK, their batting is dismal against spin to say the least

  • POSTED BY Sharath274 on | September 18, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    Based on seedings, India,Australia,SA & Pak will be in one group and the other group will have England,WI,Srilanka & NZ/Bdesh. Defy India will be in the tougher group as SA & Pak are very strong and we can never rule out the Aussies.The other group will most likely have Sl,WI as 2 semi-finalists.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    i'm english but i dont think england look anywhere near as strong as they do with kp...dunno y writer has tagged them as favorites along with others...on paper windiz are the best but i dont think they will even reach semis cuz they dont have the mentality to win and no matter how good they are they cant play consistently.. saffers are not as strong as they normally are when they enter a big tournament...but maybe this thing just might work in their favor...also writing off the unpredictable pakistan is absolutely foolish ccuz it doesnt take them long to find their feet in these tournaments

  • POSTED BY SamonandTrout on | September 18, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    @electric_loco_WAP4 Australia favourites...you mean the team that are ranked below Ireland...hahaha

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 10:42 GMT

    In this article the author Mr. David Hopps has miss calculated Pakistan team strengths. He did not even bother to put it in his last four, but I think Pakistan team have the capability to reach last four easily. In my opinion last four team would be like that India, Pakistan, Srilanka and South Africa.

  • POSTED BY adillove on | September 18, 2012, 10:32 GMT

    @Sarthak Joshi: I think you are right no team needs to get down full of batsmen nor with 7 bowlers any team with good balanced lineup and good fielding can win remember that in this format one successful batsman can bring you victory like K Akmal did yesterday but the teams shouldn't depend on there heroes well fielding and good batting bowling combination can make win even England which you guys don't really take as a good team!

  • POSTED BY Fast_Track_Bully on | September 18, 2012, 10:26 GMT

    Unpredictable. No real favorites in the tournament as it(T20) will not test any ability or skill. If you can hit the ball out of the park, even if with some luck, you will win. It will not test bowlers ability to bowl good balls. they will get wickets for bad balls only. And based on conditions, we can say Asian teams as favorites + WI who has more big hitters. All the best to everyone!

  • POSTED BY karthikeyantrk on | September 18, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Ireland will surely give shock for AUS. Wait and see... My fav is WI because they are very strong team. Gayle, D Smith, Dar Bravo, Dwa Bravo, Pollard, Sami, Samuels, Ramdin, Narine, Rampaul, Edwards....They have some good alternatives also...

  • POSTED BY concerned_cricketer on | September 18, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    Made interesting reading. I agree with the writer with regard to the predictions or rather the inability to do so.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 10:11 GMT

    definately bangladesh is coming up to super eight that sir David hopps.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    Shakib Al Hasan will create a world record in this tournament.

  • POSTED BY Hammond on | September 18, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    All I can say is that I won't be bothering watching a ball.. that and Go The Rabbitohs!

  • POSTED BY RednWhiteArmy on | September 18, 2012, 9:42 GMT

    The defending champions & current number 1 team England will be very, very tough to beat as usual. The only other teams that can win it are Sri Lanka & South Africa end of discussion.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    nations semifinal chance...ind, lanka,pakistan, south africa..the four nations that can play spin well....others hardly have chances in srilankan pitches

  • POSTED BY khan586 on | September 18, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    I really don't understand y u guys are always saying India are favorite. It's not about playing about so much cricket. It's about talent and Pak players are matchless. You'll see this soon. Don't you see what pak have done in last 3 T20s and what's India's output. I don't know why are you so blind.

  • POSTED BY shan228 on | September 18, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    I think India in the treat of losing even to Afghanistan after performance against Pakistan

  • POSTED BY nsam on | September 18, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    very funny article... :LOL ,,who wrote this eh ;) .. wi and eng in semis... :P ..huh hah ha hah a

  • POSTED BY TheGreatestGameEverPlayed on | September 18, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    I am anxiously waiting to see how Indian inadequate bowling attack is gonna deal with Afgan power hitters. They may not bowl or field well. they may not have a strategic game plan. But sure hell they do wanna send every ball out of the park. And the funny thing is more often they do connect..lol

  • POSTED BY Hamzaad on | September 18, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    @David Hopps

    sorry sir, but I am a bit amazed that you are significantly involving yourself in a dialogue with the fans over some issues which media has thrown out of nothing. Miandad is a great player and a mind, and he may have went there to give some advise to a weak batting unit. But you have pinpointed it in a wrong way and by your replys here I am feeling that all other cricketing boards are angels having no issues at all. Come on Sir, give use equality with others. Even though we are being unable to play in our country, we dont get chance to play in IPL, we dont get revenue for our home series being played in India ...... I hope Pakistan wins this cup and gives the nation some thing to cherish and shut all others mocking Pakistan

  • POSTED BY electric_loco_WAP4 on | September 18, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    Hopps has high hopes hopeless nonhopers England.Sadly an annus horribili for the Poms is going to get worse with even their world t20 champs reign(what's it been1 year?) about to end and 'spin' out of their sweaty grip.Only saving grace they can hope for is try not to embarass themselves yet again(Gosh!!!) facing frontline/part-time,off/leg,right/left/underarm whatever spin treat that's awaiting them . Meantime,at least they can be proud of the hard-fought win they MIGHT sneak in vs Afghans.There's no spirit like the England team spirit even when they are losing .Team spirit matters most afterall...Expect Aus,SA,SLand Pak to lineup the semis with Pak giving the favourites Australia a real fight in the title clash.Aus taking the WT20 2012 title in a close finish.

  • POSTED BY S-A-M-1994 on | September 18, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    BIG LOLZ @ THIS ARTICLE

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | September 18, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    i don't know how writer considered england as a semifinalist ? considering that englang is likely to be in the super 8 with sl , wi , nz . david hopps thinks that england will knocked sl out , lolz . the semifinalists will be : sl , india , wi , pak / sa .

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    David Hopps. I think you made this article up as you went. I am not sure if you have any idea what you are talking about. How did you get those semi-finalists and what did you base it on? I think you just picked them out of a hat.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 7:17 GMT

    india has strongest batting line up in the tournament but their bowling is weak so play with 5 bowlers my line up : sehwag, gambhir, kohli , yuvraj ,raina , dhoni , pathan ashwin harbhajan zaheer and dinda . in t20 u dont need full batting line up plus irfan ashwin harbhjhan are more than handy with bat who can slog + remember these three have got test hundreds . dinda is a very good death over bowler so should be considered before balaji if they go with this line up where excpt gambhir and dhoni every one cn bowl and zaheer and dinda every one can bat also zaheer can slog a bit they will suerly reach semi or final and can even win the tournament

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | September 18, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    Anyone's guess. But England seem a little behind the times with their young team of t20 specialist big hitters. If you cast your eyes around the rest of the world, their teams have their top batsmen in as well. It became clear from the IPL that the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid and other top international Test batsmen had a role to play in t20. The best sides seem to contain a mixture of both. Flower seems a little too impressed with youth. It's not just the absence of KP, it's the absence of senior players. But I hope they do well.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 7:03 GMT

    @ Mehdi Ali I wasn't specifically thinking of Javed Miandad's involvement as it happens although I can see why you would. It was more a general comment about the PCB's reluctance over the years to empower captains and coaches to run things as they see fit. By the way, the Pakistani guys at my own cricket club in UK also think I will be proved wrong - but they expressed it more kindly than some of the junked messages on cricinfo. @ many others: why does a view you don't agree with, or that does not support your team always have to be called BIASED. maybe it is just a Preview piece you don't agree with? Why always so much nationalistic anger on cricinfo?

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    this has been the worst analysis of wc t20 in recent weeks. But i can't blame the writer, he looks a bit biased without checking the details and facts of what teams are capable of doing on such pitches. India, SA, Eng and and WI in semi finals--- you got to be kidding man... India has a chance along with SA but england star power is absent and that is the cause f worry for them. They don't have a consistent player who can win matches for them so one wud definitely rule out england. WI is definitely not because they depend of gayle and we know this chances of playing every match to his strengths are pretty low. therefore, WI has very very litte chance. the teams that writer rules out are SL. SL is one of the best teams because of power Sanga, Jaya and Malinga and they can win matches easily for them and im sure they are there in semis. Australia is dull but Pakistan, how can any one ruled them out, i can't think of it. you need to see how they played even in the presence of miandad.

  • POSTED BY Pappu_bhai on | September 18, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Exactly.Nobody are favourite here. Even a week team like Srilanka can win this cup because of unpredictablity.

    Lets c if SL create miracle.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    Not a big fan of this article. Saying there is no clear favorite and then writing off certain teams is a bit premature. I'd focus purely on results.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    @ Author Mr. David Hopss... Its not the matter of trust that Pak has appointed Javed Miandad. Its just to give players a confidence some tips. And I am sure If an english / aussies or SA has done that you would have appreciated. What about England when they have hired MUSHTAQ AHMED as their bowling adviser? didnt they had a confidence on Andy Flowers and captain's ability? DONT BE BIASED. I am not angry coz u have written off PAKISTAN but I am angry the way you have raised a question about appointing JAVED MIANDAD. And moreover yes if PAKISTAN win the tournament (with GOD GRACE IT WILL) I love to follow ur tweet "I AM FOOLED" No harsh feelings and i know the above is only reflect of your own view. Thumps up although a good piece to read ;)

  • POSTED BY raza.malik on | September 18, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    i am quite sure the winner will be from the previous World T20 winners!!!

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    @Ashik Imran. David Hopps. You can also hope. I like your dream to see Ireland & Afghans fighting it out in the finals. I also hope. But, hopes are like wishes. And, you know the old proverb, "If wishes were horses...."

  • POSTED BY khurramsch on | September 18, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    yes true, no clear fav this time. t20 is not about who is best, its who will do good that day. and specially these PLAYGROUND boundries less than 60m , it will make event more open to win for any 1.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    @Hemant Gandhi 20/20 always depend on luck and quick decisions.will see who have the no chance for to be top 4.IND will loss that chance to be in top 4.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    LOL... this article don't make any sense at all.. it seems author didn't have anything else to do... come on, are you kidding???? you are writing off Pakistan / Australia from top four.. hahahaha... you are funny

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    When Pakistan win the tournament I will write a piece saying that I have been a fool. I am sure everyone will celebrate that. But Pakistan will have a far better chance of success if the PCB backs Whatmore / Hafeez and lets them get on with long-term planning with full support.

  • POSTED BY fr600 on | September 18, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    SA or PK, others are weak.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    My choice is WI, PAK,IND,ENG will reach it to semis

  • POSTED BY Hamzaad on | September 18, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    Yeah Sarah Malik is right :) .....Seriously, IMO Aussies are one of the strongest team, they might have not played well Ajmal but who has? and the way they thumped Pakistan in the last game shows their superiority in power hitting. Warner, Watson, Hussies, Maxwell, all are too good. On the other hand I do pray for a Pakistan win, and pray once in a blue moon Afridi the BOOM BOOM fires ...... or Razzler performs a Abu Dhabi beating of South Africa..:)

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 5:38 GMT

    I hope to see Ireland , Afghainstan in the finales..........:)

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 5:30 GMT

    @ abinoic: Somewhat agree with you that t20 is 1 horse game and players you mentioned are capable of firing. However, that does not mean that horses from team on other side won't fire. If horses of other team like Maccullum,De Villiers,Styen,Morkel brothers,Amla,Levi,Sehwag,Virat, Raina,Dhoni,Ashwin,Gayle,Pollard, Narine,Akmal brothers,Ajmal,Afridi,Sangas, Dilshans,Taylor,Mallinga,Anderson and many others starts firing then Aussies are also going to get fired in a moment.

    :)

    So forget everything and watch out for the excitement these war horses will create. I am enthusiastic. :):):) And always give opposition their due respect.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 4:51 GMT

    india ,south africa, australia and sril lanka will be the top four with the finals between india and australia west indies would be a tough team to beat but Wi depends heavily on 4-5 players and one bad day they could be struggling so i choose sri lanka over WI + homeadvantage four Sl and many people are not considering ausies i think they are still better than eng and pak

  • POSTED BY cricket_fan_1980 on | September 18, 2012, 4:25 GMT

    I am a hundred percent certain that Afghanistan will win the tournament, beating Bengladesh in the final by between 3 and 7 runs (or wickets). Bengladesh will be Zimbabwe in one semi-final, and Afghanistan will beat New Zealand in the other. The player of the tournament will actually be an umpire.

  • POSTED BY TommytuckerSaffa on | September 18, 2012, 4:18 GMT

    Firstly there is absolutely no comparison between the mental strenght required in Test cricket vs T20. One form of the game is a test, the other is a slog. It is a complete lottery, any team could win. If youre a betting man you would go for Pakistan and WI, if you are a bias scribe you go for England.

  • POSTED BY sharidas on | September 18, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    For all practical purposes, Twenty20 is close to the heart of most people who played cricket as kids. In the growing up years, most had played only the shortest form of the game...there were even restrictions like- if one hits the ball over a certain wall there were no runs...mainly because it was hard to fetch it back. Hence the popularity of this form of the game. In the current WorlCup Twenty20, there can be no clear favourites. The initial Three team groups itself could be tough, considering that the form in just Two games will decide a team's fate. Come, the knock-out it needs only onegood game to push you further. Still, a fair bit of skill will be on display, whether it be batting, bowling and fielding.........Let the deserving team win the trophy !

  • POSTED BY Marcio on | September 18, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    @Dubious. i wouldn't worry too much about @Matty1979. He has had major Australia "issues" for several decades now, suffering from recurring nightmare syndrome. This is which is why he mentions Australia in every post, striking out wildly and incoherently at "the old enemy". It's like a 'Nam flashback. Only instead of the stealthy enemy materialising out of the jungles of SE Asia, his nightmare is Australians plundering runs and smashing wickets. All good stuff!

  • POSTED BY WishW on | September 18, 2012, 3:50 GMT

    Mr David Hopps..I'm sorry mate...but half of what you have said here doesn't make cricketing sense..actually more than half...all I can say is... Sri Lanka all the way!...:)

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 3:49 GMT

    Ofcourse evryone is supporting their team..... but from a neutral point I really hope that Windies win...... they are the only team that play with real flair. Gayle with the bat and Narine with the ball seem an invincible pairing but rest must also support

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    I don't understand when the author talks about WI chances and relates the loss in warm up game vs Srilanka to unpredictability. I guess he didn't follow the match! Because WI had a second choice team with major players including Gayle, Dwayne Smith and even their captain missing. India, Pakistan and West Indies have more than real chance. Calling South Africa as a finalist is funny if not a joke.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | September 18, 2012, 3:18 GMT

    Every team has a chance in 20/20, and everyone is praying their team gets the luck. This WC is just a giggle and not to be taken too seriously. I for one am not writing too many teams out of this. If i had too punt I am going for WI/PAk to do really well. NZ/Aus are demoralized, Eng in the sub everyone already knows about and Ind/SL bowling might let them down. I hope the 'lesser' nations do well too and give us a great tournament.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 3:13 GMT

    SAF, PAK, WI and IND will be top four...who wins depends a lot on how they play on that day...all four are capable...surly no chance for AUS, NZ, SL and BD...ENG will be a border case....

  • POSTED BY abinoic on | September 18, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    every one is demoralizing ausies, meanwhile i would like to see ausies snatching the troffies from all the so called favourites. remember t20 is a game of a single horse in a race. ausies have many of them. once warner or watson or david hussey or mike hussey or white fire, every one is gonna get fired

  • POSTED BY GRVJPR on | September 18, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    Whatever be the quality of Indian Bowling attack, India Will Win this tournamnet. There Captain is best when it comes to muster wins in an ICC tournament. When it comes to crunch, MSD will come up with just the right moves. It's not about talent, its about using right people at right time, and MS Dhoni is far superior than any captain at this moment. And he has proved it earlier as well by winning World Cups even with weak side.

  • POSTED BY Zahidsaltin on | September 18, 2012, 1:35 GMT

    They are living in a fools world who propose that T20 should be taken off the ICC self and left to the individual countries for franchised game. T20 is glamour and money just as beach volly is to vollyball. It is going to be the most popular form of cricket in future.

  • POSTED BY Zahidsaltin on | September 18, 2012, 1:30 GMT

    Dhoni will commit a big mistake if he doesn't bowl Kohli for at least two matches. Kohli's confidence in batting will give him control over his line and length.

  • POSTED BY Zahidsaltin on | September 18, 2012, 1:28 GMT

    HAHA. David Hopps really sounds funny when he puts England forward as one of thefavourits and writes Pakistan off. With Kamran and Razzaq back for Pakistan and KP not being part of England combined with the importance of the venue, no way that England can surpass Pakistan. Pakistanies will really feel being unlucky if they do not reach the last two.

  • POSTED BY Dilectus on | September 18, 2012, 0:56 GMT

    It is amazing how these English writers David H. and Alex Winter in Switch Hit are completely dismissing any chances of Pakistan winning this WT20, when everybody knows they have the best record in WT20s and clearly have as much a chance to win this one as any team. Still Alex refers back to England's hard fought series win over Pakistan in UAE 2-1 when Pakistan was even without their 5 first choice players and was experimenting with new blood. I must say Good Luck team England without KP.

  • POSTED BY on | September 18, 2012, 0:14 GMT

    Oye Pakistan is a strong contender too :P

  • POSTED BY Marcio on | September 18, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    In the eend all this hypothesising mans nothing. There simply are too many unknown factors and wild cards to make any form predictions. Every team I can name has both obvious strenghts and obvious weaknesses. Interesting to note about one team the writer writes off - Australia. None of his listed favourites could win their most recent T20 series against AUS - SA, IND, ENG, WI. All these were series were 1-1 draws. AUS was ranked #10 a few days ago, and ENG were #1 a few weeks ago. Yet ENG scraped home against AUS yesterday in a warm-up game. If that doesn't tell you something about T20 cricket and the level playing field, then nothing will. There simply haven't been enough T20 games played at international level to draw definite conclusions.

  • POSTED BY Dubious on | September 17, 2012, 22:29 GMT

    MattyP1979, I really fail to see how you consider Australia a minnow.

  • POSTED BY Hardy1 on | September 17, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    Really is going to be an unpredictable tournament. I would say India do seem as if the team most capable but you look at Zaheer Khan and the guy has never done well in T20 cricket, why is he guaranteed a spot? Balaji hasn't been able to replicate his IPL form, although Irfan has looked decent. I think Ashwin and Irfan hold the key, if those two can bowl well then India should win the tournament, but you never know which is what makes this tournament interesting (and kinda uninteresting in a way too, since you're not really seeing the true skill levels of the players present).

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    watchout for Bangladesh nd watch out for Shakib Al Hasan.....................

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 21:20 GMT

    LoL, the writer doesn't even consider Pakistan to be in the semis ... i agree with india's batting strength but let's not forget the way india played in last T20 worldcups... My Semis would be Australia, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka ... India strongly lacks standard bowling in their squad and totally relying on ur batting line up can only win IPL for indianz!

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 21:03 GMT

    Those counting Indian team as serious contenders must not forget that the team has a 0-6 win-loss record when it comes to super- 8 format in 2009 and 2010 ICC T20s. That is, they weren't able to win a single one in the super-8s. Although, I would like India to win as I'm an Indian.

  • POSTED BY ahweak on | September 17, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    India are less likely to win. Pakistan is, as always, unpredictable. They could end up winning it. England and Australia may not go very far. This time it really is an open field.

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    I agree with the fact that India should go ahead with 6 batsmen and 5 bowlers. Irfan Pathan is more than a useful allrounder in T20 cricket. India needs the bowling depth more than the batting. 3 Pacers( Irfan,Zaheer,Balaji) 2 Spinners(Ashwin,Harbhajan/Chawla)

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    With Malinga and Jayawardene SL are always in contention. Every team has equal chance but I guess teams like Bangladesh may surprise.

  • POSTED BY MFNadeem on | September 17, 2012, 19:37 GMT

    You got to be kidding me Hopps, if you right off Pakistan in T20 World cups. Look at their previous record in WCs. They were twice in the Final, and once only "an over away" from being in the Final. They have three of the best bowlers of all time in T20 cricket. They have the likes of Razzaq, Malik, Imran Nazir, Jamshed in the playing eleven. And you think they aren't looking good to be in Semi Final????

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | September 17, 2012, 18:58 GMT

    Should be a close fought contest. Even some of the minnows like Irl/NZ/Ban/Aus could get quite far. But I suspect it will be the home nations and defending campions near the end.

  • POSTED BY crazy.mechanic on | September 17, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    Agreed that this is an unpredictable tournament...but India wining is a far fetched call. If Sri Lankan pitches have a slightest of turn in them, I have no doubt India will make it to the final! As far as other teams are concerned....really I can't predict. Who knows Ireland wins thus time and we by nxt year we will have IPL-II( Ireland Prem. League), where English players can flex their muscles.

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    Pakistan, India, And West indies are strong favorite to hold the 2012 twenty 20 trophy.And don't, forget South Africa as always favorite in any tournament...

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    Huh! I think the writer should be the analyst of IPL lol ...

    This is really a wrong predictions or if not then thinking, Today's warm up match must clear your dumb thinking and also if you have not seen SLPL which was on current conditions then please have a look on its scorecards of every match It was all about Paki and Sirlnks Players anyways...

    You must be surprised with the results at the end....

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    Nice article, Dave. However, there are few astounding things to be considered though. Pakistan has beaten India by a mile. Sri Lanka is always dangerous at home, especially after some better series recently.

    West Indies is a vastly improved side in recent times, the defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka not withstanding. India have never won against the Kiwis in T20's, and even lost one that they should have won, very recently.

    The part I agree with you is that there are no clear favorites. This should be an interesting World Cup in the Emerald Isle, no doubt about it.

  • POSTED BY ansarri on | September 17, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    it seems as if Mr Hoops was in a hurry to complete the article. he has uderated Pakistan considerably.

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    India need to go with 1 more specialist bowler. 6 batsmen and 5 bowlers.

    Guatum Sehwag Kholi Raina Yuvraj Dhoni Irfan Ashwin Chawla Zaheer Balaji

    This way, if 1 or even 2 screw up their bowling, Dhoni can jump to Sehwag, Kholi, Raina or Yuvraj to fill 4 overs (1 over each)

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  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    India need to go with 1 more specialist bowler. 6 batsmen and 5 bowlers.

    Guatum Sehwag Kholi Raina Yuvraj Dhoni Irfan Ashwin Chawla Zaheer Balaji

    This way, if 1 or even 2 screw up their bowling, Dhoni can jump to Sehwag, Kholi, Raina or Yuvraj to fill 4 overs (1 over each)

  • POSTED BY ansarri on | September 17, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    it seems as if Mr Hoops was in a hurry to complete the article. he has uderated Pakistan considerably.

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    Nice article, Dave. However, there are few astounding things to be considered though. Pakistan has beaten India by a mile. Sri Lanka is always dangerous at home, especially after some better series recently.

    West Indies is a vastly improved side in recent times, the defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka not withstanding. India have never won against the Kiwis in T20's, and even lost one that they should have won, very recently.

    The part I agree with you is that there are no clear favorites. This should be an interesting World Cup in the Emerald Isle, no doubt about it.

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    Huh! I think the writer should be the analyst of IPL lol ...

    This is really a wrong predictions or if not then thinking, Today's warm up match must clear your dumb thinking and also if you have not seen SLPL which was on current conditions then please have a look on its scorecards of every match It was all about Paki and Sirlnks Players anyways...

    You must be surprised with the results at the end....

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    Pakistan, India, And West indies are strong favorite to hold the 2012 twenty 20 trophy.And don't, forget South Africa as always favorite in any tournament...

  • POSTED BY crazy.mechanic on | September 17, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    Agreed that this is an unpredictable tournament...but India wining is a far fetched call. If Sri Lankan pitches have a slightest of turn in them, I have no doubt India will make it to the final! As far as other teams are concerned....really I can't predict. Who knows Ireland wins thus time and we by nxt year we will have IPL-II( Ireland Prem. League), where English players can flex their muscles.

  • POSTED BY MattyP1979 on | September 17, 2012, 18:58 GMT

    Should be a close fought contest. Even some of the minnows like Irl/NZ/Ban/Aus could get quite far. But I suspect it will be the home nations and defending campions near the end.

  • POSTED BY MFNadeem on | September 17, 2012, 19:37 GMT

    You got to be kidding me Hopps, if you right off Pakistan in T20 World cups. Look at their previous record in WCs. They were twice in the Final, and once only "an over away" from being in the Final. They have three of the best bowlers of all time in T20 cricket. They have the likes of Razzaq, Malik, Imran Nazir, Jamshed in the playing eleven. And you think they aren't looking good to be in Semi Final????

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 20:28 GMT

    With Malinga and Jayawardene SL are always in contention. Every team has equal chance but I guess teams like Bangladesh may surprise.

  • POSTED BY on | September 17, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    I agree with the fact that India should go ahead with 6 batsmen and 5 bowlers. Irfan Pathan is more than a useful allrounder in T20 cricket. India needs the bowling depth more than the batting. 3 Pacers( Irfan,Zaheer,Balaji) 2 Spinners(Ashwin,Harbhajan/Chawla)