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Former New Zealand batsman and captain

Could it be New Zealand's World Cup year?

A few predictions and some surmise about the tournament from a year away

Martin Crowe

February 25, 2014

Comments: 139 | Text size: A | A

Hamish Bennett celebrates a wicket, New Zealand v India, 4th ODI, Hamilton, January 28, 2014
New Zealand have made it to six World Cup semi-finals; time they went all the way © Getty Images
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With a year to go to the next World Cup, it's timely to assess the state of the teams who will participate. It is from this moment on that teams will need to begin, if they haven't already, to think and plan the small steps to glory.

If hunger comes from starvation, then England, South Africa and New Zealand should be hungrier than the rest, as these three have never won a World Cup out of the top eight major nations. In ten World Cups, England have made three finals, South Africa have made three semi-finals (in six Cups) and New Zealand have made six semi-finals. What chance do they have in the next one? How long can they go on starving for World Cup success?

England have fallen. They got stuck in their old thinking, were distracted from growing organically. Many casualties can be found on every street corner. Their rehabilitation and restoration is due to start, yet, a year out, you sense they have left it all too late. No doubt their focus will be on the next Ashes to follow, yet presently even that seems a bridge too far. Of course England will come again, for they have immense pride and resources, but their indecision is a natural national trait and they must overcome that first.

South Africa are a powerhouse on many fronts. They think big. However, when it comes to World Cups, their thinking under pressure has been suffocated. They seem to feel the weight of a nation - no small burden - and their focus becomes anxious, hesitant, and taut. This affliction of no Cup wins has become a millstone around their neck. Yet, being southern-orientated, they should feel the conditions are to their liking. Jacques Kallis has one last itch to scratch, and AB de Villiers is about the best allrounder in the world, so the temperament can about-face. Therefore, AB will need to lead with new concepts and rumination, leaving outdated beliefs behind.

New Zealand are always fancied to contest in these tournaments. We love the Goliath story. We like being David. And at home we know we can rise up, close enough to look Goliath in the eyeballs. We have endured much pain from six semi-final failures, from recent events where enough was enough. The tide turned with Ross Taylor's renaissance, then others followed, then Brendon McCullum rammed a stake in the ground. This team will be prepared like no other team before it, therefore the likelihood of them breaching a new frontier is plausible. The question is: will they dare to dream the unthinkable?

India will defend with the knowledge that away from home soil they too often think of limits and inadequacies. They won the last Cup, the first nation to do so at home, because they were well led: MS Dhoni at the helm, Tendulkar and Sehwag by his side. They felt good in their own skin, playing a brand of cricket suited to the conditions. With 12 months to go, they will go searching for the combinations. The key ingredient will be Dhoni himself. Somehow he must reinvent his game, his leadership and tactics, to a new world, to a new way, and fast. He should rest for a time prior to the event to consider all this. He is that good that if refreshed and renewed, he could make up that lost ground. Dhoni's thinking is key; lately some of it has bordered on the utterly bizarre.

What of Australia? Up until recently they have been a tragic shadow of themselves. By dropping their guard on Test cricket as a priority, and moving away from their basic instincts, where players expressed themselves without fear, their world caved in under babysitting management. Thankfully the Ashes became a marathon and the initial front-runner, England, hit the wall spectacularly, while Australia drew on their anger. They responded with a sledgehammer. Their gander is up, the strut is back, but you sense the mask of insecurity is only a thought away. Their invincibility is definitely buried for good. They are just another contender. Yes, they have a thriving nursery of vibrant firebrands and aggressive attackers. Yet their underbelly appears pappy and spongy.

At home, however, under belting sun, they will fight and scrap hard. Familiarity will suffice and their depth of cavalry will outflank oncoming challenges. The Aussies will gain early ground, but will they sustain it? Michael Clarke is showing signs of fatigue and, like Dhoni, he will need careful managing and thought. Timing his run will be paramount.

Which leaves the last three of the top-eight-ranked likely quarter-finalists: West Indies, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. What can you say about these enigmatically variegated teams?

We all love the Calypso flair, the potential West Indies possess. We loved the past heroes, Garry Sobers, Viv Richards, Brian Lara and Malcolm Marshall, for they took us to places unknown. We want them to wake up and entertain us again. Frank Worrell and Clive Lloyd grabbed them and shook them and demanded they conform as one, not as many diverse parts. And as one they responded to inspired leadership. Who will do that for them now? Darren Sammy? Not a chance. But Dwayne Bravo just might. It is he who has the reins at present, and rightly so. Will he create like-mindedness? These island crusaders can't be written off. In truth, deep down, they just might rise like Lazarus did.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan look vulnerable. Their leaders are fine men yet are limited tactically. To me Kumar Sangakkara is the only one truly capable of leading his troops intuitively and defining a way forward. Yet his role is destined to be to just bat. A waste, I feel, for I regard him as one of the greatest and most thoughtful cricketers to have played the game, the finest ever from what was once Ceylon. With no mystery to their bowling, Sri Lanka will struggle on energetic pitches. The opening match of the Cup in Christchurch, against New Zealand, will be a tell-all encounter.

Pakistan are clearly a mess, again. With no Imran, Wasim or Miandad to inspire them, they will frustrate many, including the odd opponent. They are fine cricketers, just not a fine team. I have never understood their thinking, ever. Correction, with the exception of Imran in 1992.

With respect to the rest, they are there to spread the word of the great game and to fight for every ball. They will be welcomed by the hosts and they will provide stories of pain and hope. Then they will depart after round-robin and pool-play with dignity, so the Cup can get on to the business end of discovering who is the world champion of one-day cricket once more.

It's a shame that the top eight don't all play each other, and that luck will probably play a part at quarter-final time. An unbeaten team may play the bottom team of another pool, lose a toss, and go down to Duckworth-Lewis, such is the fluky nature of a competition with so many minnows involved. In essence, the quarter-finals will reflect the exact nature of the Champions Trophy knockout - which, by the way, is somehow back in vogue once more. I prefer the knockout phase to start at semi-final time, a fair reflection of the top four teams having survived a severe examination.

So a year out, where is the thinking? Who is removing the old thoughts and replacing them with new, enlivening ones? Who is pretending and who is suffocating slowly? Who will time their run, as most winners have done so coolly and cleverly before? Who will do what India did so unexpectedly in 1983? Or Sri Lanka in 1996? Or come back from the dead, as Pakistan did in 1992, or Australia in 1999? Will playing at home be the key, as it was finally for India in 2011? It's a fascinating call.

And so I reckon, recent events and happenings considered, that Australia and New Zealand will contest in each semi-final and West Indies and South Africa will oppose them. They are my four based on my thinking about their thinking, of now, of the time ahead. It's a thinking based on how home-town comfort has become king lately. I'm thinking a southern hemisphere victory.

A year to ponder.

Martin Crowe, one of the leading batsmen of the late '80s and early '90s, played 77 Tests for New Zealand

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Posted by espncricinfomobile on (May 3, 2014, 17:21 GMT)

It's SL IND AUS in semis with any other out of the rest..

Posted by android_user on (February 27, 2014, 17:37 GMT)

Despite supporting Pakistan, I really wish South Africa win it if we can't which is very likely. Our team is in a mess, let's admit it. Who knows though, there is still plenty of time till the WC. We could potentially have a settled batting line up by that time. Like always our bowling is never much of our worry.

Posted by m812 on (February 27, 2014, 0:29 GMT)

Unless a team is as invincible as the Windies team of 70s early 80s or Aussies from 1999 to 2007 predicting a winner is impossible. Writing of any team in current day scenario is suicidal since none of the teams have that aura of invincibility. No one expected India to win in 1983 but they did win it in England. No one gave India a chance in 1985 B&H cup in Australia ( A mini world cup) . Still they won it with their limited resources if one may say and then they won the C&B series in 2008 defeating Ricky Pontings team in best of 3 finals a team consisting of Symonds, Gilchrist, hayden and brett lee. Even in 2003 everyone said India wont make it far but they reached finals without any lost game. On other hand Pakistan won it in 1992 in Aus ( although rain helped them qualify or else SA-Eng was a sureshot final game). Then SL won in 1996 despite bieng underdogs. So in short writing of any team is not a good idea because cricket has a funny way of proving all predictions wrong.

Posted by whocareswhowins on (February 26, 2014, 20:38 GMT)

L[ke the article. However, remembering Pakistan's victory under Imran Khan's captaincy in 1992, I have a gut feeling that Pakistan will do well again. Misbah is a good man, but they need a charismatic captain, in my humble opinion. Brendon McCullum for NZ and AB for SA should do well and lead their respective teams to the semis. The 4th spot is going to be up for grabs.

Posted by StevieS on (February 26, 2014, 19:05 GMT)

Naman Kashyap you do know we recently won the ODI series verses South Africa in South Africa right?

Posted by   on (February 26, 2014, 18:33 GMT)

I highly doubt that New Zealand are biggest contenders to win this world cup.I agree that they have performed well in recent times but not as impressive as Australia or South Africa.In fact I would say they maybe be able to reach as far as seme-finals but definitely not more than that..As for me I would consider the biggest contenders to be Australia and India.Australia because they are doing exceeding well as a team and India because I strongly believe they have the best batting line-up in the world and I have always seen them performing brilliantly in the big tournaments.Also I didn't name South Africa because I was think they are horrible in handling pressure situations as they couldn't win the 2011 world cup with the team which was much better than present team..

Posted by drpramit on (February 26, 2014, 16:58 GMT)

one year is a long time and things can go very fast in World cup. Not always the best team had won World Cup, no team is invincible like WI in 70s n early 80s or Australia in 2003 & 2007. Coming to new zealand, yes they have good finishers, all rounders but they dont have power to hold nerves especially when it comes to big matches. They may lead the table like 92 WC, but WC becomes WC when it comes to knock out. SA, Eng, Nzl & Aus these 4 should reach SF.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2014, 16:43 GMT)

good one crowe, i can never ever understand the pakistani way of i get a lot of flank from friends for that.

Posted by android_user on (February 26, 2014, 16:42 GMT)

Rsa should win it, if they play to their potential...they seem to have a settled players. .& 2 best batsmans in the business(ab&hash) kallis brings ballance to the side&steyn is class above...,, they have good aggressive opener in decock. .,a good finisher in Miller,, jp is a good batsman and is more then handy with the ball..., Vernon,Parnell are the 2 bowlng allrounders... and morne & tsotsobe bring variation to the bowlng lineup. .. one with a pace&bounce(morne) &the other with accurate & good line & length(tsotsobe) ,,,, And to add to that, they have good bench strength in faf,McLaren,elgar,Hendricks,&gm smith(who will make a way for decock in the xi) and I hope they will do it to (1)kallis (2)remove the tag of chokers (3)and to make up to the past missed chances which this team really deserves x-factor players:de kcock, ab(best batsman in world) ,hash,steyn-gun so iam backing the proteas this time

Posted by NALINWIJ on (February 26, 2014, 12:42 GMT)

Great analysis Martin. Australia's rugby world cup coach in 1991 Bob Dwyer said that they won the 1991 rugby world cup because they had more ways of wining than others. Australia won 2003 and 2007 because of that but the current team has a lesser number of trump cards. Everyone in the next world cup has an achiles heal and the world cup will waste a month before the likely 8 will play in a lottery of quarter finals so it is who has a little extra in strength and form that can win 3 in a row.NZ is never better than even money in any match. Pakistan bats will falter in one match out of 3. England has lost it's trump card KP. SL has a problem with pacy pitches.WI lack depth. India vs.SA likely final with NZ/AUS likely to give a run for the money.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2014, 10:30 GMT)

New Zeland really played well in the series against India and India played poorly in South Africa and New Zeland. If the world cup was in sub continent India would have been in the Final (Win or Lose cant say).Down under there is no hope at all for India so better not waste time in dreaming that India may win worldcup. There are players capable like Virat, Dhoni, Buvnesh Kumar,Shami Ahmed and Pujara but 11 players make a team.The other players out of the 15 player squad are selected against monetary gains by the selectors for eg. Chawla's selection in the squad (out of the blue) Mr 4 Semi Finalists Australia,New Zeland, South Africa (if captained by Du Plesi) England (after a tough revamp due to Australia Tour debacle) but England has a good pool of players who can be grafted and can make the cut (Sub Continent Teams no chance except Pakistan who can be a dark horse.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2014, 7:59 GMT)

New Zealand have some good young talent emerging and also have a good WC pedigree reaching the SF stage consistently. Aus will be tough to defeat on home soil. Saffers will have to overcome their chokers tag which I am not convinced they can do with the current crop of players. India don't have the bowling and am not too sure their batters can carry them to Semis. Pak definitely have the talent but who knows which team will line up a year from now? England are poor in ODI's and are a team in trauma after their ashes debacle. This leaves SL with their many all rounders and big 3 and Windies to make up the semis line up with NZ and Aus. My guess Aus will beat SL in final.

Posted by siva26 on (February 26, 2014, 7:57 GMT)

Crowe's analysis is one sided forgetting the fact an asian team pakistan won when it was held in aus/nz.but fact is teams which have been great going one year before the world cup have bowed out at the initial stages itself and the teams out of form suddenly do well in the world cup. Asian teams pakistan and india may spring surprise and you can never count them out.

Posted by MurtaMac on (February 26, 2014, 7:20 GMT)

I expect South Africa to finally win the World Cup next year. Asian teams will be bounced / swung out. Leaving SA and Aus as prime contenders. NZ should at least make the Semis but it is hard to see them bearing either Aus or SA from there on.

Posted by shane-oh on (February 26, 2014, 6:55 GMT)

@ru4real - actually, India played very well in the ODI series, which produced some cracking games. NZ just played slightly better each time.

Posted by shane-oh on (February 26, 2014, 6:53 GMT)

@ jonesy2 - wow, looks like Crowe struck a nerve there. Open your other eye mate.

Posted by SpidermanXI on (February 26, 2014, 5:58 GMT)

Good Article especially the part about the quarterfinal. What I believe can be done is to have playoffs instead of Quarterfinals. The top 2 teams from each group should get 2 chances to progress to the semis. This will also make group matches interesting as there will be extra incentive in finishing in top 2. This would have avoided South Africa getting knocked out in the last world cup just by having one bad day inspite of the fact that they finished at the top of group. With current format, world cup is all about playing 3 good matches starting from QF which is not good for the game.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2014, 4:58 GMT)

Those suggesting in the comments that the Black Caps are dreaming, let's look at a few factors and finish with the line-up: - The Black Caps are at home and versus Australia (the co-hosts) the match will be played at a sold-out Eden Park in Auckland. If Ryder is back and opening, and he likely will be, our side is literally (on it's day and they are becoming more frequent) too hot to handle. Look at the 4-0 series thrashing of India when NZ began as underdogs with the bookies in EVERY match. - The grounds (not small but not massive) in NZ cannot hold our hitters and we do not have just one or two either. We have true all-rounders, class swing bowlers (the guy saying our pitches do not swing, does not get swing, as the pitch has nothing to do with swing - it is atmospheric) and an excellent fielding unit. - Who would want to play this side? 1. Ryder / Ronchi 2. Guptill 3. Williamson (vc) 4. Taylor 5. B. McCullum 6. Anderson 7. Neesham 8. N. McCullum 9. Mills 10. Southee 11. McClenaghan

Posted by   on (February 26, 2014, 3:56 GMT)

when the world cup was held last time in nz and aus, martin crowe thought he had it all covered with dipak patel, greatbatch and the like...but pakistan went on to win the world cup...even this time it is going to prove wishful thinking for crowe...NZ hammered india recently but that does not mean they will beat teams like aus, sa and the windies

Posted by   on (February 26, 2014, 3:42 GMT)

India & S Lanka: Dependant on Batting. Pakistan: Dependant on Bowling. NO CHANCE FOR ASIAN TEAMS.

Posted by kensohatter on (February 26, 2014, 3:36 GMT)

@Shane-oh... Sour grapes?!? As an Aussie supporter why would I have sour grapes especially when it comes to a conversation about the World Cup!! Seems like you dont understand what the term sour grapes actually refers to... Gees I thought calling NZ a semi final team was actually complimentary. I was being realistic. Im done with this thread now plenty of delusional thinking.

Posted by .Raina on (February 26, 2014, 3:31 GMT)

It is interesting to note how the fans seem to react to any reality check...especially from PAk & SL. Of course, the fans would always support their home team -- no matter what!! But any reasonable discussion needs to be based on FACTS. <Br> No doubt, AUS , SAF, NZ and even ENG have been playing some good cricket in the recent past; but probably NZ is the only country that has consistently punched above its weight in the international tournaments-- read World Cups, but they run out of gas after Semis. SAF has a record not many teams want to envy; and even SL/ENG have reached the finals many times without going over the line too often (Actually it is just ONCE). PAK/AUS have very good bowling sides, but not a reliable batting line-up. WI are also very un-predictable. IND may not have won the WC many times itself but they have always been the team to beat...especially since 2000's...and that would again be the case this time around. <Br>And the pitches won't be spiced up for bowling...

Posted by   on (February 26, 2014, 3:23 GMT)

A few things are very obvious.

a. India can be eliminated straightaway. We do not like bounce. Unless BCCI rigs ICC to prepare Indian style tracks as happened in the last Champions Trophy.

b. Australia are the favorites. With a fantastic bowling line up and good all round players, Australia would be a tough team to crack. Warner could emerge the player of the World Cup.

c. SA has too much of choking legacy to be considered a prospect. But, with de Villiers, de Kock and Kallis in their line up, SA can be a strong contender.

Posted by satchander on (February 26, 2014, 3:13 GMT)

I feel SA, Aus and NZ will be favourites. I am an Indian fan but feel India does not have any chance on the bouncy pitches in Aus and NZ - especially going by how they performed in NZ recently and in Aus in 2012 (CB series). But will be happy if I am proved wrong by some miracle :-)

Posted by wasee751 on (February 26, 2014, 2:19 GMT)

Its good, you are not considering Pakistan a potential winner because Pakistan has always let us down as supporters when the world had tagged them as favourites. We were not favourite in 1992 and yet we won. We were hot favourite in 1999 and 2003 and failed to lift the cup. Then we won T20 world cup as underdogs. But surely we won't be an easy team to beat provided we go on full strength with Irfan,Gulf and Junaid to attack. Indian can pose a real threat if they bring Yadav to attack with Shami and Bhuvi but please no Ishant. And also Denish Kartik in for Raina's place.

Posted by bobbo2 on (February 26, 2014, 1:35 GMT)

@ cheraithunder. NZ also won series against SA in SA and England in England. And India lost in NZ because they are average. India has some good players but with no bowlers they can't defend anything. They won every toss and still loss the series 4-0. And it was nothing to do with conditions or a lack of swing. NZ, Aus, and maybe WI, ENg and Pakistan will be chance at the WC.

Posted by class9ryan on (February 26, 2014, 1:27 GMT)

If World Cup were to happen 2 weeks later in OZ & NZ, the Aussies, the Kiwis would have started as favorites alongside Sri Lanka ( who have a excellent record in ICC tournaments and also in Australia), South Africa ( who have a world class bowling attack & two of the best batsmen in the world ) and the mercurial Pakistan. But its still more than 350 days to go and teams like INDIA and ENGLAND can come back into contention. I think the article is just too early to discuss the balance and stature of any side of the top 8 at the moment.

Posted by Nik84 on (February 26, 2014, 1:24 GMT)

Yeah I agree with Crowe. This format is bogus no incentive for the teams who won the league games very well. Whats the point if you give your hard work in league matches and then your match winner gets injured for a game (QF) and u lose coz of that or even one bad decision or bad day. Minnos should show their talent first in T20, on Fast pitches it will hard for them to survive. World cup should be 10 Test playing nation play each other once. Whats the point of u a world champs who beat 3 minnos and goes in QF then on win 3 matches not fair. Like for Ex Srilanka in 1996 never played SA, NZ, WI, PAK and won the tournament. Now we matches will be boring and with less crowds 1992 was almost full house for every game. or atleast they should have had super six or something. Now team will focus to beat few minnos and rest their best players (as tactics)as league matches have no importance anyways. Then focus on knockout.moreover the grps are also same as ICC champ trophy.Should follow 1992 :

Posted by criclanka on (February 26, 2014, 0:53 GMT)

Apart from the comments you made about sanga, prediction you made about SL and PAK is tataly wrong. Martin you made all your predictions based on one tour.WC is going to held in 2015. Before that we have T20 WC and SL tour of NZ. so SL will have achance to get accustom to NZ conditions and that will further enhance SL chances...ENG will have no chance in 2015 WC. SA was beaten in their own backyard not so long a go by PAK. So that leaves AUS,IND/NZ,PAK,SL in of the asian teams will featue in the final and other team on the final will be AUS. so Martine stop day dreaming....this is not the first time you disgraced Asian cricket teams.... please wake up....

Posted by Masking_Tape on (February 26, 2014, 0:36 GMT)

They will make the Semi Finals as usual. And that's that.

Posted by Murupara_madness on (February 26, 2014, 0:11 GMT)

With regard to the NZ team the absence of Ryder (and lets face it he is looking a lost cause) at the top will be a concern. Guptil seems to be taking his time a bit recently and the initial impetus provided by Ryder will be missed. There could be case for moving Mccullum back up to that openers spot and putting Neesham in at 6 (move Anderson up to 5), Mccullum has the experience in the roll and will provide the initial pace with the added benefit of getting Neesham (who is looking the goods) into the starting line up. Sure Mccullum wont be there to take advantage of the second PP but Anderson / Neesham / Ronchi could do that job just fine.

Posted by Venkat_Gowrishankar on (February 25, 2014, 21:46 GMT)

Well memories are short for the public I mean no expert ever predicted that india would win the Champions Trophy in England last year. The money was on Aus/Pakistan/WI and Eng. Look what happened, the rest is history.

Posted by iceaxe on (February 25, 2014, 20:57 GMT)

Still a year out, so can't read too much into this, however, I'm delighted with the recent performances of NZ. Will be great to see a team who hasn't won before to take out the competition.

Posted by pipsonian on (February 25, 2014, 20:56 GMT)

What are the odds of Pakistan surprising everyone ? they perform great when they have been counted out. They say history repeats itself. There are a lot of similarities between the teams in 1992 and now. Don't give up on them as yet. They have proven time and again that this is a team which performs in the face of adversity.

Posted by CodandChips on (February 25, 2014, 20:09 GMT)

Personally I feel all they are missing is an opener. Maybe Ryder or Rutherford, although the later seems to have gone off the boil. Not too sure about Ronchi either, but he has improved since being moved down the order.

Guptill, Taylor and McCullum are 3 of the best batsmen on the planet currently.

1.Guptill 2.Ryder 3.Williamson 4.Taylor 5.McCullum 6.Anderson 7.Ronchi 8.McCullum 9.Southee 10.Mills 11.McClenaghan

Always appear dangerous. Ill never forget the match at the ageas bowl. Also had New Zealand not tied 2 matches in the WT20 which they lost in super-overs, they might have got to the semis.

Posted by MrKessel on (February 25, 2014, 20:04 GMT)

It seems really strange to me that the only team to win the World Cup down under was from the sub continent. Not only that most of you are writing off all Asian teams which is just plain stupid. I urge you all to look up any ICC tournament for past decade and you will see 1 or 2 Asian teams in the final four. Lastly this is far too early to make any reasonable predictions and Kiwis touting their horn after beating a team which hasn't won in oversees in God knows how many years.

Posted by cheraithunder on (February 25, 2014, 19:01 GMT)

Aus are the favourites in this WC.. look at their team, warner, finch, watson,clarke , smith, bailey, maxwell,faulkner,haddin,counternile, johnson, starc,mckay,bird, doherty...this will be the team to beat, and tat too in favourable conditions they will be unstoppable.. noway nz will be able to pull it off... their recent victories are in bilateral series, in home, in well manipulated tracks...they prepared tracks with only good bounce, and they didnt allow any swing or reverse swing..if there had been any swing as it used to be in nz, indian bowlers would have done a lot better.. both bhuvi and shami can swing it both ways.. but they have carefuly neutralized them.. but this cannot be done in a multination tournament b'coz in the same pitch used for india odi's, SA and AUS and even PAK will destroy NZ....

Posted by Robster1 on (February 25, 2014, 18:55 GMT)

Yes, less knock out and more of a group stage would have made for a much better tournament - 1992's affair was so much the better for having a ten team group with all playing all and then the top four going onto the semi finals. Every match then had real meaning. Too many minnows have diluted things.

Posted by switchmitch on (February 25, 2014, 18:54 GMT)

write off sub continent teams? Ok... that keeps happening all the time and yet they are the ones who constantly appear in the finals of all major tournaments. They win too but no... the glorified thinkers of the game continue to ignore that fact and make up big articles based on "surmise" "ponderables" and "Predictions"

Posted by rapidvelocity on (February 25, 2014, 18:34 GMT)

just 2 words - KEEP DREAMING !!

Posted by android_user on (February 25, 2014, 18:28 GMT)

Agree with most of d points

Though according to me, AUS, NZ, SA, SL will be the semi-finalists

Though I am an Indian I think after 5 Tests, 5 ODIs.... in England and then 4 Tests just before the World Cup in Australia could hamper India. The bowlers may get worn out or may be injured. With just 3-4 ok fast bowlers u can't play so much cricket continuously. India would need to manage their bowlers during Tests in AUS.

1) The top 4 from each group should qualify for Super 8s. 2) Have 2 groups of 4 teams. 3) Top 2 of Group A and bottom 2 of group B in one group. 4) The teams carry their points of match against the team in their group. 5) The teams play the two teams (who were in different group in Round 1) 6) Top-2 teams of each group qualify for semis and then finals

This way there would be 11 matches (excluding placing play-offs) Instead of 7 matches we have now. This would actually mean that a team doesn't end-up losing just bcoz of 1 bad game in quaters.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 18:26 GMT)

It is too early to start making any predictions about the World Cup which is still a long way off. A lot of things can change in a year. Martin was a good batsman, and he really excelled in the WC which was played in NZ and Australia, but as far as your thinking is concerned it can be a bit hasty.

Posted by jplterrors on (February 25, 2014, 17:51 GMT)

He's not wrong no way a sub cont team will win

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 17:43 GMT)

With all due respect to Martin C. ; It's quite too early to come to a conclusion that NZ will the next world cup. Yes they got strong hitters and some okay players who would score big in their day, but WC is one level above. It's all about how you cope pressure as a team and adjust to situations. That's why Asian countries do well in big tournaments even when they are out of form. True that current NZ got some serious form in recent past, but do they have the temperament?

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 17:42 GMT)

Just for the record a year on. The semi-finalists would be: 1. Pak 2. NZ 3 SA 4 Aus Now lets see if my prediction is better than Crowe's. He is a great great player nevertheless. Regards

Posted by pitch_curator on (February 25, 2014, 17:29 GMT)

I am surprised Martin does not talk one of the most important factors in winning world cups - in any sport. The ability to perform in crunch games when the pressure is high and convert the pressure to perform into motivation. It is all nice to say SAF is good in ODI but they have been knocked out of the world cup in their very first knock out game in EVERY single world cup since 92. Clearly they cannot perform on the big stage An if you have three knockout games (including QF) then they will do well to reach the semis. NZ and Eng are only marginally better. I think AUS has been the mentally strongest team in world cups. They have not gone out easily in the last 7 world cups even when their team was not so good. SL come next based on their performance in the last 10 years. They dont seem to have the team composition this time though. Australia will be hot favorites but I have a sneaky feeling India will do a lot better than many experts are predicting. Pak will be the dark horses.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 17:28 GMT)

When was the last time when any one of Big boys of South Asia ( Ind / Pak / Sl) had not reached the finals ....True it was 1987. Sine then atleast one of these teams has reached the FINALS ( not just lost semi's like NZ or SA). Striking out whole of South Asia is not understandable....

Posted by CoolJayesh on (February 25, 2014, 17:15 GMT)

Always enjoy his articles which has that innate honesty that is not prevalent today... He writes from his heart. And to top it all, one of the greatest innovators in terms of strategy in ODI's . A cancer survivor, a great batsman,captain , leader and a very humble human being .. Qualities which are hard to find these days...

Posted by dogandbone on (February 25, 2014, 17:10 GMT)

If anyone is backing NZ based on the recent results V India and WI then they are misguided....both touring teams were very weak and very disappointing. Sure NZ have a chance but they still rely on a couple of players to get them through. The younger up in coming players show some promise but lets see how they travel over the NZ winter.

Posted by Brahams on (February 25, 2014, 16:49 GMT)

Well, Martin C. has several interesting observations and a few outrageous predictions. Regardless, I love his writing - he is becoming one of my favorite cricket writers. Poetic writing - like his batting - with elegance and panache.

Posted by stormy16 on (February 25, 2014, 16:38 GMT)

Interesting article this and I agree with Crows semi-final line up except Windies. I would give that spot to Eng even without KP! This is based on the conditions and I assume it will be pace, seam and bounce and Eng are strong contenders in those conditions. Interestingly those left out are mainly spin based attacks which is not expected to play a major role in Aus/NZ.

SA will be hard to match on paper and for the nth time in a WC, will surely go in as favorties with Aus close behind. NZ after this summer have shown some real positives and have a good bunch of pace bowlers and a few x-factor guys in the team backed with a decent spinner in McCallum. They will be hard to beat at home.

Posted by jonesy2 on (February 25, 2014, 16:22 GMT)

what a load if rubbish. Australia are the run away favourites and if anyone else even gets close it will be a huge surprise. the passage written by crowe on Australia is cringeworthily poor and ignorant I don't know what team he has been watching but they are the best in the world by so far its actually bordering on boring

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 16:22 GMT)

Hey Martin before say anything to Pak , Look at the stats of your team. Pak has thrashed Newzealand many times and far better than Newzealand . In 2011 worldcup , Pak is the only team who played a great Cricket after India. Beat the Australia as well. Pak beat SA in their country ,( a series ) . Pak is the only team who beat India at their home by 2-1 . So Kindly look at the stats and then talk about Cricket . And just remember 1992 and 1999 semi final when Pak devistated the New Zealand. In 2007 T20 Pak beat NewZealand in semis. In 2009 T20 , Pak destroyed NewZealand. So what more you want ?? I have stats to prove you that Pak is one of the most capable team to win this worldcup but sorry to say that NewZealand does not have such ability to win such a big tournament. By winning just a single series against India at Home does not mean that NewZealand can win WorldCup!!

Posted by shane-oh on (February 25, 2014, 16:10 GMT)

@Hardy1 - he has included Sri Lanka and Pakistan, read the article again. When he says "the rest", Crowe is essentially talking about the Associate nations, who are there to grow the game but who very few would rate a decent chance of winning the trophy.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 15:51 GMT)

The predictions & desires etc will all prove to be just a myths ! It is not a tri-series kind of scenario and it is the prestigious World Cup, every Team is playing up for and charged up. So it is too early to call who will be fighting in semi-finals and who will all be the underdogs etc ! Let us give some more time for things to settle & stabilise before the Kiwis really are able to grab the so far eluded World Cup. Best of Luck !

Posted by Hardy1 on (February 25, 2014, 15:28 GMT)

Also while the super 8 stage is more fair I don't really think it's anywhere near as interesting as going straight into the quarter finals. It would make the tournament too long as well.

Posted by Hardy1 on (February 25, 2014, 15:25 GMT)

"With respect to the rest, they are there to spread the word of the great game and to fight for every ball", sorry but I have to disagree with that statement, it's not respectful at all. Sri Lanka have been world cup finalists 2 years in a row & Pakistan looked like the only team capable of stopping India winning the last one. I'm an India fan but if someone else were to win it I'd like to see South Africa do so, since they really haven't done themselves justice being overall probably the 2nd best ODI team since readmission. Plus there's the prospect of a good send-off for Kallis, even though he was never the best ODI player. Can't see West Indies or England doing it but looks like it'll be a great & evenly matched world cup.

Posted by rajithwijepura on (February 25, 2014, 14:21 GMT)

Let everyone make SL underdogs. They have done it in almost all World tournaments and you know what has happened. SL never ever started any tournament as favorites, yet they reached finals of last 4 World cups. Winning the final is another thing. But to reach final in last 4 world cups is something extraordinary and no one has done it before except Sri Lanka. Wait and watch....

Posted by ADARSH100 on (February 25, 2014, 14:02 GMT)

According to their winning chances : 1) Australia - Home conditions and expressive players but the problem is with their consistency in winning. 2) South Africa- Strength and Power as always but the problem is how they cope up the pressure situations well. 3) England- They still need to find the right mix to win the matches. But their advantage is all about their familiarity of the conditions. 4) Sri Lanka- Strength is their BIG 3 and few good players. If the big 3 fails to deliver, Lanka is yet to find the right mix of match winners. 5) New Zealand- Their familiarity with the conditions is their strength along with few experienced players. They still lack that 'X' factor and bunch of experienced players to play big. 6) India- Batting is the key. Bowlers need to fire and need to change their mind. Find a way to win away home. 7) Pakistan- Bowlers are their strength along with Misbah. They is inconsistency and need to find the right mix. 8) West Indies- If all players fire-YES Or NO

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 13:19 GMT)

The author has shown once again that he is very anti Pakistan, calling Pakistan a mess is dis respectable, have you actually seen any Pak games recently, beating England 3-0, winning in SA and chasing the highest total in test on the fifth day, if this is what the author calls a mess, then it says alot about his intelligence.

Posted by Smart_animesh on (February 25, 2014, 12:47 GMT)

@shane-oh :: At home conditions every country excels.. Newzeland is no better than Bangladesh on foreign soil(remember they have to play in Australia too). BTW- do you remember the six that Dhoni hit to win world cup... and you say India won luckily!!! lol..

Posted by shane-oh on (February 25, 2014, 12:35 GMT)

@pitch_curator - oh dear. You missed my point, which is ironic because I agree that these tournaments aren't won through luck, well not only luck anyway. I was referring to an earlier comment and how nonsensical it was. I assure you, I'm not jealous of India.

Posted by HennopsRiverEnd on (February 25, 2014, 12:18 GMT)

One way or the other other, the Proteas are always one of the favourites, deservedly so. But some of us as fans have expectations at an all time low when it comes to world cups. All we have is the Test Mace to keep us smiling...

Posted by shane-oh on (February 25, 2014, 12:07 GMT)

@Sandt - "SL, Pak is much better than NZ any time anywhere". The facts, sadly, prove you to be unquestionably incorrect:;opposition=7;template=results;type=team;view=results;opposition=8;template=results;type=team;view=results

Sorry about that.

Posted by pitch_curator on (February 25, 2014, 11:54 GMT)

@ shane-oh - Don't know how you have arrived at the conclusion that India were lucky to win the two world cups. In the last world cup, barring the SA match where India lost the plot in the last 8-10 batting overs India virtually dominated every other match they played in from ball one. Even the game that was tied against England their # 10 batsman hit a six in the last over to bring it close. How were they lucky? I can only think of Australian teams of 2003 and 2007 who have played more dominating cricket to win world cups. I would think the only Pakistan in 92 are the lucky winners. They were lucky to sneak through to Semifinals because of the washout against England where they were certain to be beaten. But then they played three excellent games to close out the tournament. No one wins world cups on luck. This statement only shows your jealousy. To perform on the big stage with big stakes is an ability. SAF, NZ and Eng clearly do not have it. It has been proved time and time again.

Posted by Sandt on (February 25, 2014, 11:33 GMT)

A second player like Crowe is living in dream world.I wonder he is after reading this article. SL, Pak is much better than NZ any time anywhere. And dont think that after beating India NZ has become world class team capable of lifting WC. it is only a joke. This indian team was a goner once they pick this team with current bunch of bowlers and some poor batsmen. If they pick the right combination they are competitive team. Not NZ. No chance for that

Posted by kentjones on (February 25, 2014, 11:31 GMT)

I agree withMC that New Zealand has a good chance in this year's WC. They have a strong batting line-up that could turn on the pace when needed with some good hitters, and also consolidate and rebuild if required, their bowling can be both incisive as well as steady as situation demands. However the thing that I believe that can make them dangerous is the winning habit that they have recently acquired. This is a side oozing with confidence and winability. The dominant way they have knocked over the mighty India should make others take notice. There have been some strong NZ teams in the past who were worthy contenders, but they fell away, much due to a lack of confidence in those crunch moments that can win or lose a game. Key to their success in this WC, is to carry that win streak and dominance, if they can, deep into the competition rather than scrape into the QF If they do so, then NZ can go all the way. This is an exciting time for NZ cricket and I share MC optimistic belief

Posted by shane-oh on (February 25, 2014, 11:23 GMT)

@fullawareness - I'm not sure it's possible to overrate a batsman with a test average of over 58, an ODI average of over 40, and 52 international centuries to his name. In the last few years as his powers have somehow increased, he has become a strong contender for 3rd best batsman ever.

Posted by shane-oh on (February 25, 2014, 11:07 GMT)

@ Smart_animesh - mind you, India have only won 2 cups and in both cases were extremely lucky. Does it makes sense for me to claim they were lucky? Probably not...

Posted by Smart_animesh on (February 25, 2014, 10:40 GMT)

Crowe has gone out of his head.. Has Newzeland ever won a major tournament baring champions tophy (that too luckily) in 2000???

Semi 1: Australia vs. India

Semi 2. South Africa vs. Srilanka

Posted by bobbo2 on (February 25, 2014, 10:01 GMT)

NZ will be strong if the top order fire.

Posted by Mutunga on (February 25, 2014, 9:48 GMT)

NZ will be tough to beat in home conditions. Anyone who thinks otherwise is making a mistake. Likewise for Aus, who have home conditions right up to a potential final.

I don't think MD Crowe is as crude as most of you are making him sound. He was not writing any of the major teams off, nor did was he silly enough to stick his neck out and predict an NZ win.

If the world cup was predictable, it wouldn't be much fun to watch.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 9:24 GMT)

i dont see new zeland making it to the finals.Cuz i dont see them beating the likes of australia, south africa and pakistan. Pakistan because they have a pretty decent record against the kiwis at home.They are a fighting side. always in there but still dont have the bowlers to win them a worldcup. Australia have the best chance, south africa if they dont choke. Paksitan with their un predictability cannot be ruled out either. India desperately needs bowling spearhead. a kumble or maybe zaheer khan if he can be what he once was starting to become.

Posted by himsez on (February 25, 2014, 9:18 GMT)

I feel that this Year the semi final will be between the following. I hardly believe that WI would make the cut. They just lost to Ireland? Here are my four

Aus vs Ind NZL vs Eng

I figure the big three will be there to cash in the cheques ;) It will be AUS vs NZL final. Then I guess anyone can win and its looks like NZL

Posted by DJRNZ on (February 25, 2014, 9:09 GMT)

@jackelk - WELL SAID!

The majority of comments on this article are mind boggling!

People either don't know much about about NZ's recent results and just focus on the Bangladesh series, are unaware of how our young players have developed or are so incensed that Crowe didn't pick their team to be a favourite they have lost thier cool and decided to have a mindless rant that has no basis.

There are always one or two comments that make you shake your head but there are several made today! - relying on Vetorri? LOL..... he hasn't played for NZ in yonks!!!!!

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 8:52 GMT)

"Pakistan are clearly a mess, again. With no Imran, Wasim or Miandad to inspire them, they will frustrate many, including the odd opponent. They are fine cricketers, just not a fine team. I have never understood their thinking, ever."

Has Martin been even watching Pakistan team lately?? What he said might have been true for most (if not all) of the Pakistani sides till now but under Misbah, we have, quite surprisingly, been the exact opposite. We don't have any match winners left but we are a much better team now than our individual capabilities combined.

Posted by shane-oh on (February 25, 2014, 8:44 GMT)

@Alexk400 - Guptill is one of NZs best ODI batsmen, and is an automatic pick in the ODI team. The other opening slot is potentially problematic unless Ryder ends up playing, in which case we have as scary an opening partnership as anyone in the game.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 8:43 GMT)

This time world cup probables are Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. These three has the best limited overs players and best skippers at this moment. Baz, pup and Mr.Awesome are right persons to win the trophy who could handle the team well enough.

Posted by shane-oh on (February 25, 2014, 8:42 GMT)

@Iceman29 - been a NZ cricket fan for many years. Participated on these pages for many years. Never once saw a NZ fan calling anyone flat track bullies. Sorry, but you imagined that. Also, as pointed out already many times, NZ have had sustained ODI success over the last 12 months, despite the set back in Bangladesh. You should probably look into the records of sides before commenting on the records of sides.

Posted by shane-oh on (February 25, 2014, 8:40 GMT)

@jackelk - well said. I didn't have the energy to destroy all of the completely illogical arguments people have come up with on this thread, so thanks for doing it so well.

Posted by DJRNZ on (February 25, 2014, 8:37 GMT)

You guys need to read the article again to understand what Crowe is saying. Where does he say NZ will win??? can someone quote where Crowe states that please?

He says it is plausible we can win, as it is with any team.

Many of you need to read this again or take reading lessons.

As Indian fans found out, making predicitons (as they did before the NZ series) is a risky thing to do. What happened there? Oh thats right! India lost to a 'minnow'!

However, here are my predictions........ NONE - Anything can happen on the day and I think there will be a few suprises.

Posted by shane-oh on (February 25, 2014, 8:32 GMT)

@kensohatter - very misguided comments. NZ's strength this last summer has been based on the fact that they have had almost all their batsmen firing, especially so in the ODI arena. Williamson is in the midst of achieving what very few have before him. Not world class? Or sour grapes continued?

Posted by DJRNZ on (February 25, 2014, 8:29 GMT)

Always makes me laugh how offended Pakistani fans get when someone expresses an opinion they disagree with.

End of the day this is just one man's opinion. I think you guys need to relax.

Posted by android_user on (February 25, 2014, 8:20 GMT)

@Iceman29 These flat trackers won against Sa in sa and Eng in eng. And furthermore, we are low in rankings for some reason but can't see why India are at top. Stay "Ice cool" man.

@Tanveer Ahmad NZers respect Pakistan very much. It is your fault that you just couldn't understand the messege Martin is trying to give.

Posted by fayyaz03 on (February 25, 2014, 8:12 GMT)

Dear Martin! How can you write off a team who can beat S.Africa in S.Africa? And how can you count a team who cant even beat bangladesh being a visitor? Cricket is not only the game of home/away conditions. It is a game of those spirited men who can beat anyone anywhere.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 8:05 GMT)

"Pakistan are clearly a mess, again. They are fine cricketers, just not a fine team".

Martin, thanks for your bias and Anti-Pakistani views, frankly I am shocked to hear this then again maybe not as its clear that the ghosts of 92 still haunt you and you clearly hate Pakistan as they always had the number of the Kiwis. So you think Pak dont have any match-winners since Imran, Wasim, Javed- have you heard of the likes of Afrdi, Misbah, Gul and Ajmal???????? Yes Pakistan dont get cricket at home and became victims of Spot fixing Saga but you might be surprised to know that they are one of the top 2 or 3 teams in the World with their ODI record since 2011 and recently a Cricinfo poll picked Pakistan as the best current ODI team in the world regardless of rankings. This has included series wins against SA, India, WI, SL and NZ(all outside Pakistan). I would say you have a real sense of humour if you think Pakistan are not a fine side. Pak, Aus, Ind and SA will contest WC 2015 semis,

Posted by fayyaz03 on (February 25, 2014, 7:56 GMT)

Sorry Martin. I disagree. Not because you underestimate Asian Teams, but you overestimate the abilities of Newzealand after watching them beating India. If that is the criteria, since WC2011, India have been beaten by England, Australia, South Africa and Pakistan as well.This NZ team is yet to face some fast bowling test. Your last article about Kohli was a gem. But your analysis about Pakistan and Srilanka are shocking. This is not a test series Martin where you need to have everything correct. It is a tournament where even one exciting, in form, and hot player can take the team through like Wasim in 92 klusner and Shoib in 99, Tait in 07, Afridi in 11 etc

Posted by SyedArbabAhmed on (February 25, 2014, 7:54 GMT)

It always made me smile when somebody write off Pakistan

Posted by kensohatter on (February 25, 2014, 7:47 GMT)

@jackelk The headline is "Could it be NZ world cup year" in the article Crowe talks about winning the tournament. Also if you note I also stated that NZ would field a strong side and I tipped them to make the semis but would have trouble against Aust and SA. Struggling to see how you only rate Clarke and Watson above Kiwi top 7... If we made a combined XI I can count only 2 kiwis who would make the side and thats only if you count Vettori fit. Seriously who exactly do you think are better than Warner, Finch, Bailey, Maxwell? Also I said IF Vettori was fit and believe me they are going to need him @Ithkrall BJ Watling should be a walk up start by world cup time Not sure why you guys are getting angry or what we are arguing about. NZ are a solid Semi final side but in my opinion they will need a miracle to beat SA or Aust to make the final.

Posted by Lakpj on (February 25, 2014, 7:46 GMT)

You must never ever underestimate Pakistan and SL. In 2003 and 2007 there was only one team that was going to win. THat was Australia In 2011 many predicted that a sub-continent team would win. So i think like 1999, 2015 WC is open for anyone. But seriously speaking I don't think WI will have a chance they even struggled to beat Ireland on their own backyard.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 7:32 GMT)

There is nothing wrong in Martin Crowe hoping the best for his country. However, the best chance was in 1992, just wish you did not lose to Pakistan twice.

This time, New Zealand will not win Martin, there will not be only India against New Zealand. Only India under Dhoni can allow Brandon Maccullum to score three double hundreds including a tripple. The other countries are more reasonable.

Posted by android_user on (February 25, 2014, 7:31 GMT)

@Iceman29 These flat trackers won against Sa in sa and Eng in eng. And furthermore, we are low in rankings for some reason but can't see why India are at top. Stay "Ice cool" man.

Posted by nav84 on (February 25, 2014, 7:19 GMT)

I remember Pat Symcox saying similar stuff about Asian and Non Asian teams before 2003 WC. We all saw where SA, India and SL ended up in that WC.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 7:13 GMT)

I think Crowe has forgotten how many times Pakistan has beaten them in WC Semis. Don't worry, we ll remind you in 2015 :)

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 7:02 GMT)

The only team that has limited potential is New zealand,its funny how you say you can not understand Pakistan's strategies becuase they have always been a far superior side and there brand of cricket might be too difficult for you to comprehend,sorry Mate :)

Posted by Percy_Fender on (February 25, 2014, 6:54 GMT)

I agree with Martin that New Zealand could win the next WC of the 50 over format. The thing is that they have slowly but surely been improving the quality of their team over the last 3 years or so. They have a pretty formidable pace attack in a few technically excellent batsmen, some real nerveless big hitters and an improving leg spinner. This WC is due to be played in Australia and New Zealand which is home for them. India having broken the jinx of home teams not winning the WC, that aspect is taken care of. What is more is that while Australia have been thumping their chests for the last 2 months over their Ashes win, their batting is not too good. We saw what happened to them at Port Elizabeth. In Milne,Hardy,Anderson Taylor,MacCullum and Williamson you have absolute gems. I was impressed with the way they played in the first half of the English summer when they were there last. Their bowling had England on the mat. It is just that they couldn't cope with the swing. I favour NZ.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 6:48 GMT)

Martin has touched on a few points here: (i) Format (ii) Form and strategies (iii) history and nostalgia.

On Form, clearly the fairest format that also suited the times, was in 1992 when a round-robin format was played to choose the top 4. It meant all matches were meaningful, teams had 8 games to get to the semis and recover (as Pakistan did) if they started poorly, and meant no one team (or teams) were advantaged or disadvantaged by being put into a group. All played all meant every team for itself. This format however worked because essentially it was confined to the 9 test teams of the day. The WC now seeks to go beyond and incl associates. This makes a league round-robin as unsustainable to confine a tournament to around a month. I think the CWC should go the way of other sports and apply qualification across the board - to all members - so that the finals become more meaningful.

Form and strategies this far out are too unpredictable to foretell.

Posted by Alexk400 on (February 25, 2014, 6:47 GMT)

NZ need two good solid openers who do not lose wickets in first 10 overs. One has to be attcking type to counter attack opposition fast bowler make them go to plan B. Also NZ need one out and out 150kmph fast bowler who knock out opposition tail. Thats it . All other pieces are there. Guptil is 12th man for his fielding. :)

Posted by ithkrall on (February 25, 2014, 6:40 GMT)


Watling doesn't even play in the ODI team so I have no idea why you think NZ would be dependent on him.

Posted by analyseabhishek on (February 25, 2014, 6:40 GMT)

Against India, Corey Anderson seemed to provide a whole new dimension and x-factor. Add to it the effective seam bowling, Vettori's spin and solid batting from Williamson, Taylor, McCullum and they could be pretty handy. I suspect McCullum's magnificent rearguard triple century, the first ever for New Zealand might just give them that extra boost, that extra self confidence in crunch situation that champion team require. Indian team per se is not bad- it all depends on how the bowlers bowl. They performed well during ICC trophy in England and India came out on top. They failed in New Zealand and Indian batsmen could not compensate for their profligacy. I for one have no clue which side of the bed they get up from!

Posted by siddhartha87 on (February 25, 2014, 6:37 GMT)

nothing can stop the Aussies from winning wc 15. While their test team continues to impress their limited over side is a true powerhouse.I hope New Zeland goes one step ahead this time and make it to the semis.

Posted by Iceman29 on (February 25, 2014, 6:33 GMT)

Lost to to Bangladesh in subcontinent hopelessly and they almost vanished from world cricket for sometime and now a two series wins in home conditions against WI and India and they think themselves as world beaters......NZ team and fans have been jumping around for sometime now based on the home series wins.....what's worst is that they call others as home track bullies....

Posted by jackelk on (February 25, 2014, 6:32 GMT)

@kensohatter vettori has only played 3 ODIS in two years so he is not really depended on .Watling is not the first choice ODI wicket keeper and Williamson is well on his way to being a very good player . Gudptil ,Ryder(if hes there) ,Williamson ,Taylor , MCullum is not too bad a top order plus Anderson and Ronchi. Maybe your confusing test team with one day team? Also compared to the Top 7 your named for Australia , New zealand beats them in averages only Watson and Clarke having a slight edge on Williamson and Taylor. Although I do not think New Zealand will advance past semis and that australia will be in the final On a different note why dont people mention beating england and south africa at home in ODI series and just focus on losing to Bandladesh ? Also Martin Crowe has not said new zealand are favourites just that his pick is for them to make the semis which they have pretty good record for making.

Posted by barryrichardsfan on (February 25, 2014, 6:25 GMT)

Oh yes NZ are strong contenders alongwith Aus and SA, but their batting isn't that good as pathetic Indian attack made it look. Talking of Ind , nobody gave them a chance in 03 world cup on SA pitches and we all know how they fared. I have all my hopes on Virat Kohli to make the tournament his own with able support from MSD. PAK have the best bowling unit and it is a matter of time if their batters get along well. Windies are far too inconsistence and SL lacks class in those conditions.

Posted by first_slip on (February 25, 2014, 6:23 GMT)

NZ Just wan one test against India and now their experts say they are going to win the world cup, and pakistan and SL have no chance, you dont need to go far, just check NZ players records and the are nO Autralia or No Sri Lanka when it comes to world cups

Posted by kensohatter on (February 25, 2014, 6:18 GMT)

Theres a lot of early talk on this thread about Sri Lanka and Pakistan... really? You could have a combined Sri Lanka pakistan team and it still wouldnt make the semis. Maybe thats a solution... Have a sub continent (pak,SL, Ind) side then a eng/WI and NZ combined side. Id still say AUst and SA would make the final!!

Posted by fullawareness on (February 25, 2014, 6:15 GMT)

Sangakara is highly OVERRATED as a 'thinking mind' in the game. He is just another cricketer, pretty good, but just that.

Posted by caldruid on (February 25, 2014, 6:14 GMT)

I see these four sides in the semis: AUS, NZ, SA, PAK. SL could break in but they need to ensure that their younger batsmen play consistently without leaving too much for the older trio to do. The rest of the sides haven't got a prayer.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (February 25, 2014, 6:12 GMT)

West Indies won't make the semis and at least one if not two sub-continental teams will make it as well.

Posted by mrcricket300 on (February 25, 2014, 6:09 GMT)

NZ are playing the world cup at home. They obviously have a good chance.

They will be in the semi finals at minimum.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 6:07 GMT)

@K Shyam Sundar: The world cup is not being hosted in Bangladesh. Quite simple really.

Posted by android_user on (February 25, 2014, 6:06 GMT)

@k shyam sundar Bangladesh is in subcontinent. Did YOU expect your no. 1 ranked team to lose against no. 7 New Zealand? Ha!

@others moaning about Martin not supporting other teams. You see, he said sa, oz have a good chance and DID NOT UNDERMINE pak and sl. Can't you all read well and not whinge about it? NZ have as much chances as the other teams. Someone out there says Williamson doesn't has class. Only Mccullum and Vettori? How about Taylor, Southee, Anderson, Neesham and all? When it comes to your team, you're best and it comes to others, they are useless? What sort of an attitude is that? But who am I to say. Let's wait for World cup.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 6:02 GMT)

@K Shyam Sundar. The world cup is not being held in Bangladesh.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 5:55 GMT)

@K Shyam Sundar Because the same team has fairly recently beaten South Africa and England at home, and blanked what was the #1 ranked team.

@kensohatter NZ is not overly dependent on BMac, given Kane, Ross and Guptill are the best ODI batsmen available (Kane & Ross in particular looking incredible recently). Watling and Vettori haven't played an ODI for a wee while so I don't see how they are dependent on them (although I personally prefer Watling as keeper, based on form Ronchi is the best shot for now).

Personally, so far NZ & Aus are the favourites, India, SL (if the old 3 keep firing) will be solid but not win, SA will choke (again), ENG & WI won't do as well as the rest of the top8, but Pakistan may be a wildcard in the tournament. Semis prediction: NZ, AUS, PAK and SA/SL/PAK.

Posted by Nams2013 on (February 25, 2014, 5:52 GMT)

Fine words used for Pak - They are in a mess and no one play much of international cricket with them, good bunch of talent but too much negative attitude. Aus, NZ, SA are my favs

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 5:51 GMT)

Someone kindly remind Martin Crowe, that Indians are the defending Champions Trophy winners as well, and did so on home soil. Crowe seams to be basing his judgements on bilateral series being played in New Zealand in recent times, World Cup is a complete different ball game, and it requires big time players who rise to the occasion. Just because WI drew in NZ and India lost, doesnt mean that WI will do better than India. WI are a side that is clearly in shambles, and even struggled to beat Ireland at home. Looking at the groups, quarter finals should like like, Aus vs WI, NZ vs Pak, Eng vs Ind, SA vs SL- with Aus, Pak, Ind and SA qualifying for semis

Posted by Iceman29 on (February 25, 2014, 5:49 GMT)

A series win against a weak Ind bowling attack and Mr.Crowe is predicting NZ winning the world cup...wait until you guys play Aussies, SA and Pak to some extent (only for the bowling) and you will know where your team stands...

Posted by android_user on (February 25, 2014, 5:49 GMT)

@K shyam sunder pls that was Bangladesh this is in NZ .All non subcontinent teams are thrashed in subcontinent but in home conditions they are dangerous like all other teams

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (February 25, 2014, 5:45 GMT)

I dont know where WI came in on the equation?! I would defiantly include a subC. team in the equation. NZ have come back together no doubt but they have to use this 1 year precisely to get it right, fill any voids and get positive results and go into the worldcup as a real favorite and there's no doubt they can run away with the cup! Lets see which way the ball swings for all teams! Good luck to all and P A K all the way!!

Posted by coolpir on (February 25, 2014, 5:36 GMT)

Pakistan has the best winning ODI record in NZ dear among Asian countries. let me assure u again this time again they will be more dangerous because of the big 3 issues. just look at the U19 what they are doing. They have quality bowling attack of Saeed, Hafeez and Afridi in spin department and Umar, Irfan, Junaid in fast bowlers, do not compare recent wins against a weak bowling attack of India?

Posted by nabeel-84 on (February 25, 2014, 5:28 GMT)

Sorry to say Martin Crowe (respect you As a legend) but totally disregarding pakistan in any form of cricket, You do that your own peril. Last time pakistan was in new zeland if you recall NZ were handed over a good battering in tests and One days. You dont seem to follow pakistan cricket much which is understandable but be ASSURED the pak bowling line will cause major problems for any team in the world cup. Yes the batting is a problem and Yes the administration is pathetic but the bowling talent is as good as anyone in the world. And last i checked bowlers win matches (yes one dayers things have changed) But still bowlers will surely keep you in the game even in one dayers.......

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 5:21 GMT)

@ kensohatter - clearly you have little knowledge of NZ Cricket. Vettori won't play the world cup, sadly. Watling doesn't play in the ODI team. Top order consists of Guptil, Ryder - maybe, Taylor, Williamson and Mculum. It's a strong line up. Aus will be formidable and always are but I would not fear that side. I can never understand why Maxwell get's to play international cricket!

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 5:19 GMT)

Pakistan a mess???Martin you are forgetting Pakistan played 2011 Semi's, won the asia cup in Bangladesh and then beaten SA is the recent odi series held in SA, I agree that the batting line is something that is quite vulnerable but Pakistan has one of the best bowling attacks in the world.Pakistan team can surprise on their given day so writing them off will be unrealistic.

Posted by sanjayasenewirathne on (February 25, 2014, 5:19 GMT)

This is one of worst articles ever published on cricinfo. Mr.Crowe, do you think WI will be in the semis instead of India ,SL or Pak ? And SL is vulnerable? They got two experienced Fast bowlers in Malinga & Kulasekara and two fast bowling allroundres.

And SL win 8 matches in Aus vs Aus and only lost 6 since 2009.And pakistan have very good Fast bowling attack. In 2015 WC they will use more batsman friendly pitches like last champions trophy which held in england. Because of that Indian will be main contender too.

NZ lost 4-0 against bangladesh last year, and you think they will win the WC 2015? That's hillarious !!! They will kick out of tournament before the semis LOL

I think AUS, SA, IND and SL will reach semeis

Posted by MeijiMura on (February 25, 2014, 5:17 GMT)

@K Shyam Sundar, Given that next year's World Cup is being played in Australia and New Zealand and that New Zealand will play all of their pool games including the one against Australia in New Zealand not to mention having a home quarter-final and a home semi-final should they make it then I'd give them a huge chance of winning the World Cup. If New Zealand were to win the World Cup the only game they would need to win away from home is the World Cup final itself. Australia and New Zealand are the clear favourites for next year's World Cup. I can't see any other countries making the final. It will be an Australia v New Zealand final.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 5:17 GMT)

Pathetic observation from a very dignified name in cricket. I agree highly with his analysis over Team Australia and South Africa but nothing else he says is based on logic. He is just talking like a biased and over optimistic Kiwi who never have found themselves in a position to overcome their nerves in any big semi-final. Look what he says they have played 6 Semi-Finals. Whats big deal in playing Semis?? Never ever has NZ reached the finals of a mega event so how could you even imagine they will beat giants like Australia, South Africa, India, Pakistan and even Sri Lanka. I rate West Indies and England to be the weakest in the coming world cup. India will take the pride of winning the last world cup and play with confidence opposite to what Mr. Crowe said. Pakistan is a mess?? Yes they might be the mess to your eyes but this has always been attached as a pedigree with this team to come out of the blues and knock the doors. Remember the 1992 and 1999 Semis?? They thrashed you Kiwis.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 5:14 GMT)

The article is adding injury to the nations which are struggling ... Martin Crowe you can write that before 12 months ... never forget WESTINDIES, PAKISTAN, SRILANAKA are surprise package where as other teams are concerned ... INDIA is a very good side for one days. They will play upto the mark and come hard to all other teams. Where as Australlia can beat NewZeland at any time any place ... simlarly South African and England can repeat the same. NewZeland has just lost a one day series against Bangladesh ... and I am damn sure even Pakistan on NewZeland's own pitch can defeat them easily. We will see is it NewZeland or Pakistan if they met again on Semi's.

Posted by kriketeer on (February 25, 2014, 5:00 GMT)

Martin I agree southern hemisphere team might win. But cant predict from semi final stage. I would say AUS, NZ, SA and one sub- continent team will be there.

Taking into account the nerves of SA and NZ in semifinals it should be AUS and the other sub-continent team that should be in the final. SA and NZ are good teams but No offence... they are chokers...

Posted by android_user on (February 25, 2014, 4:50 GMT)

@k shyam sundar Bangladesh is in subcontinent. Did YOU expect your no. 1 ranked team to lose against no. 7 New Zealand? Ha!

@others moaning about Martin not supporting other teams. You see, he said sa, oz have a good chance and DID NOT UNDERMINE pak and sl. Can't you all read well and not whinge about it? NZ have as much chances as the other teams. Someone out there says Williamson doesn't has class. Only Mccullum and Vettori? How about Taylor, Southee, Anderson, Neesham and all? When it comes to your team, you're best and it comes to others, they are useless? What sort of an attitude is that? But who am I to say. Let's wait for World cup.

Posted by .Raina on (February 25, 2014, 4:41 GMT)

Martin C, Thanks for a very partial call. It is highly unlikely that NZ would be able to make it to the semi-finals this time around (even after considering its great past record in the World Cups, and home advantage). One of the AUS and SAF should make it to the Semi-Finals, and possibly the Finals. It is also possible to have a AUS -- SAF Final, but the probability is pretty low. <n/> My presumed standings at Qtr final stage: <n/> A1: Aus, A2: Eng, A3: NZ, A4: SL; <n/> B1: Ind, B2: SA, B3: Pak, B4: WI; <n/> A1--B4 --> AUS <S1> <n/> A2 -- B3 --> PAK <S2> <n/> A3 -- B2 --> SAF <S3> <n/> A4 -- B1 --> IND <S4> <n/> S1 -- S4 --> IND <F1> <n/> S2 -- S3 --> SAF <F2> <n/>

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 4:40 GMT)

sorry Martin not agree with your analysis. you have all the right to project your team to heights of hope but you cannot ignore the facts.have you seen Pakistan's record in 2013 (i think you missed all) they won in India against India, they won in South Africa in Africa, they won in West Indies in their home, what else you can expect from a team who is unable to play at home. seven series ODI series won (all away). with kind of bowling attack Pakistan have and the combination of seniors and juniors in batting, i am putting my money on Pakistan. at least they will reach Semi final. do not underestimate SL, they are in transition period but can be dangerous. loser will be England, West Indies or may be India (all have seen the performance of world champions out of home)

Posted by jj0685 on (February 25, 2014, 4:35 GMT)

Got to agree with Martin Crowe. NZ have a good chance of winning the World Cup. Australia and South Africa would also be had to beat. Not forgetting Sri Lanka who could suprise everyone and win the cup.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 4:27 GMT)

can Martin Crowe explain, how he expects a side that cannot win a series in Bangladesh can become a world champion?

Posted by AkhilaDahanayake on (February 25, 2014, 4:20 GMT)

Dear Martin Crowe, im surprised that your talk makes no sense. True that New Zeland has the home advantage, but cummon, u cannot write off SL and PAK as vulnerable. Just check the recent records of SL in ODIs, in AUS and NZ. Actually now they perform better outside the subcontinent. And PAK is a mess, thats true, but u must respect their captain, Misbah, hes a good head. And their bowling, I think its only second best after south africa. But they got what other teams hasnt got. Quality pacers, and quality spinners both in one team. To me, weakest are the West Indians, and Indians, and English.

Posted by kiwicricketnut on (February 25, 2014, 4:17 GMT)

nz used surprise tactics in 92 and it nearly worked, we have used more orthidox tactics since then but still not got past the semis. while our plan at the moment is working of only being 3 down at the 35 over mark then going bananas, its not exactly a secret, teams will figure us out if we don't change the plot from time to time, rather than being safe i think the team that wins the world cup will be the one that trys something revolutionary that changes the way the game is played, it could be something as simple as changing when you take the power play but more likely something nobody has thought of before, like what crowe did in 92 opening the bowling with a very average spinner. i really hope nz is dreaming up something different, putting all your eggs in one basket is never all that smart, then again it is working well, probably our best chance with the players we have to win it, even a final would be nice, im picking srilanka, oz, sa, nz semis.

Posted by   on (February 25, 2014, 4:14 GMT)

hi martin have great respect for you. am so sorry new zealand will not win this world cup

Posted by kensohatter on (February 25, 2014, 4:06 GMT)

Usually enjoy Martin Crowes articles but this was very one sided. If the world cup was tomorrow id say NZ have a great chance but a NZ success is dependent on Mcullum and Vettori who will both be a year older. They have no top order to speak of and much will depend on watling and williamson both who are not exactly world class. Their bowling is improving but even with vettori they are a bowler short. Australia will be very tough to beat at home and the no.1 ODI side will start favourites. Their side will look something like Warner, Finch, Watson, Clarke, Smith, Maxwell, Haddin, Faulkner, Johnson, Doherty, Mckay and they have depth in every area Batsmen - Hughes, Bailey. Bowlers - Harris, Pattison, Starc, cummins, lyon, bird. keepers - paine and wade. So injuries wont hurt them in the same way they will hurt other teams. Its going to be a formidable line up on their own turf and they are a side that knows how to win the world cup. My prediction - Aust to beat SA in final. NZ,Ind semis

Posted by DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on (February 25, 2014, 3:24 GMT)

NZ? No chance of winning world cup?

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