Yes, I said it. The tournament has lost a lot of the luster due to the absence of India (and to a certain extent, combined with the absence of Pakistan). So grudgingly, I follow the scores, just to keep my fantasy team adjusted to current form.
Some of the highlights so far:
1. Australia seem to be unbeatable at current form. It is scary to think that they have beaten everyone, where except for Hayden, there have been different star performers every game! No wonder McGrath claimed they can go unbeaten through the tournament. They are not my favorites when I think with my heart, but they are when I think with my brain (and if there is money to be put!) 😉
2. South Africa is a close second among the teams and probably in their best form currently. They have only lost to Australia and they can comfort themselves that at least it is the clear #1 team in the Cup.
3. Sri Lanka may be the dark horse in the tournament. Before Sri Lankan fans burn me, I would like to clarify why I say that – I think they have been hidden under the aura of Australia and it may be good for Sri Lanka to have it that way. The pressure will be lesser and once you reach the semis, it is anyone’s game on any day. For now, I am keen to see what happens when they play Australia on April 16th. Of course we know how exciting the Sri Lanka/South Africa ended up being!
4. New Zealand may be the only other team with any chance of making some noise. Yes, sorry England and English fans – you guys are just not consistent and talented enough to beat the above three teams. You will be a distant 5th or maybe even 6th after West Indies, though it looks less likely the way the West Indians are playing!
Bangladesh and Ireland are probably just happy to be where they are, and should not be a cause for concern to the top 4.
One trend I have seen among the Indians at work and otherwise, is that they have stopped caring about the World Cup in general. The standard question I get is “So what the heck is going on with the World Cup? I stopped following you know .. damn .. those idiots!” and I think they assume I am following it closely so they can get some updates 🙂
Some other friends were telling me that they were having trouble getting rid of semis and finals tickets they have since the package they bought included many games and they were not going to hang around for the semis and the finals. Can you imagine – there are tickets for the semis and the finals and no one wants them! And its not like the stadiums in the West Indies are all 100K capacities! Its just sad for the country and the board that such a spectacle is reduced to such shameful mess. Even Brian Lara was disappointed with the attendance for the HOME team!!
On a lighter note, I am languishing in the Cricinfo Fantasy League because I kept Chanderpaul for a long time and I had Stuart Clark for a while in the Super 8’s. Dropped them and got Graeme Smith and Makhaya Ntini. Let’s see how it goes now.