Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Legendary Australia captain Ian Chappell believes that India, Australia and South Africa are favourites to win the 2015 World Cup.
Chappell also noted that England pretty much have no chance of winning the World Cup after they were thrashed 3-1 in their recently concluded ODI series against India.
“As teams enter the home straight in preparation for next year’s World Cup, it seems that three of the big names are in an advanced state of readiness and a fourth is primed for an early exit,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo. “The winner is likely to come from the trio of Australia, India and South Africa, with captaincy playing a role in any success, whilst West Indies is the dark horse. As for England, captaincy is likely to play a part in the dark days ahead, and the outstanding feature of their World Cup trophy cabinet is likely remain a 39-year-old piece of velvet carpet.
“Against India, the style they produced seemed to revolve around avoiding eating a late dinner. Alastair Cook may well believe that Graeme Swann’s assertion, ‘England doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of winning the World Cup’, is not helpful, but that doesn’t mean the comment isn’t as accurate as one of Swann’s probing off-breaks.”
Chappell also stated that India, who are the defending champions, will have to be at their best and not falter on Australia’s renowned pace-friendly pitches if they are going to win their second successive World Cup.
“Though they are the defending champions, there are lingering doubts about India’s ability on bouncy pitches,” he wrote. “Is the batting up to it and do they have the pace bowling firepower to utilise these conditions? The seam bowling will suffice in New Zealand’s more friendly conditions but in Australia they may be found out.
“If India can survive long enough they might be rewarded with a semi-final against Australia at the SCG; that would be their best chance of consecutive final appearances.”
Chappell pointed out that Australia will be targeting to score 300 every time they bat first since their squad is filled with big-hitters like David Warner, Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell.
“There’s no other team in the competition with that amount of firepower (especially upfront) and Australia shouldn’t have to worry about pitches that are spin-friendly during a home World Cup,” Chappell wrote. “Australia will be desperately hoping Michael Clarke can remain fit for the competition. His dodgy back is now causing him regular problems, and coming at the end of a tough season, the World Cup will stretch his resilience as well as his hamstrings.”
Chappell added that South Africa also have a good chance of winning the tournament, but will sorely miss all-rounder Jacques Kallis.
“His absence has tilted the balance slightly and there is now an unwieldy reliance on AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis to score heavily, and on Dale Steyn to strike regularly,” he wrote. “Bowlers like Morne Morkel and Wayne Parnell can be wildly inconsistent and a bad day in a knockout match can spell doom.”