4 May 2007

World Cup XI

Well, everyone has a go at naming their World Cup XI - here's a couple I noticed:

Cricinfo's: 1. Hayden, 2. Gilchrist, 3. Ponting (c), 4. Jayawardene, 5. Pietersen, 6. Styris, 7. Hogg, 8. Bond, 9. Muralitharan, 10. Malinga, 11. McGrath. Twelfth man: Clarke.

Viv Richard's: 1. Hayden, 2. Sangakkara, 3. Ponting (c), 4. Pietersen, 5. Jayawardene, 6. Gibbs, 7. Styris, 8. Tait, 9. Bond, 10. McGrath, 11. Muralitharan.

So who would I pick?

1. Hayden, 2. Gilchrist, 3. Ponting (c), 4. Clarke, 5. Hodge, 6. Styris, 7. Symonds, 8. Bracken, 9. Malinga, 10. Muralitharan, 11. McGrath. (Twelfth man, Hogg, if the wicket will take a lot of turn)
Yes, I know, it's made up of 8 Aussies, 2 Sri Lankans and 1 Kiwi, but Australia were far and away the best in the tournament. Clarke averaged over 87 at a strike rate of 95 and is a class fielder and yet was overlooked by most selecting their World Cup XI. Hodge didn't get much of chance, but he played great innings and had a strike rate of 129 (bettered only by Shane Watson in the tournament). He is also a great fielder. Styris just edges out Kallis who is unlucky considering he averaged over 80, but his bowling was less effective than Styris. And lastly on the batsman, Symonds gets in ahead of the likes of Pietersen, Kallis and Jayawardene because he averaged 63 at a strike rate of nearly a run a ball, but more importantly he's shown his versatility. He can adjust his batting to suit the situation, he is a great fielder and he can bowl spin or medium pace, giving his skipper options.

Of the bowlers, everyone would pick McGrath and Muralitharan I asume, although Hogg is incredibly unlucky to miss out given that he was more economical than Murali (4.00 v 4.14) and took 21 wickets in the tournament. For me Malinga gets the "fast bowler" birth as his nearest competitors were Bond, who didn't take enough wickets despite topping the economy rate charts with 3.05 per over, and Tait, who was too expensive. Malinga falls somewhere in the middle. And lastly the forgotten Nathan Bracken. Why does everyone overlook him? Is it because of those shaggy blonde locks that make him resemble a pop star rather than a cricketer? Bracken took 16 wickets at an economy rate of 3.60 and at a very reasonable strike rate of 26.8 - that gets my vote.

So no more arguments! The World Cup XI is:
1. Hayden, 2. Gilchrist, 3. Ponting (c), 4. Clarke, 5. Hodge, 6. Styris, 7. Symonds, 8. Bracken, 9. Malinga, 10. Muralitharan, 11. McGrath.