India and Sri Lanka Joint Favourites For 2016 World T20

The dust has barely settled on Sri Lanka’s maiden World T20 title, and already they have been installed as joint favourites to defend the trophy in 2 years times.

Sri Lanka pulled off a magnificent victory over a strangely subdued looking India yesterday, in a tense, but ultimately fairly comfortable victory.

I don’t think for a minute India were subdued, as it was a final after all, it was purely down to the way that Sri Lanka kept the pressure on the Indian batting, with only Virat Kohli (man of the Tournament) making any significant contribution.

130 never looked enough for India, and with Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara playing in their last ever T20, it wasn’t enough. I was pleased for both the two Sri Lankan greats, they are two world class batsmen, and are also testament to the fact that you don’t have to be a big hitting rope clearer to be successful at this format of the game.

Moving on to the next tournament, and with it being held in India in 2016, it is no surprise to see India installed as 4/1 favourites with William Hill (£25.00 Free Bet) to win what could be their second World T20. Alongside India in the betting though, is Sri Lanka, who are also 4/1.

With the tournament being held in Asian conditions, it’s no surprise to see these two as favourites. Sri Lanka’s current favouritism is probably down to a slight over reaction to their victory yesterday, and I think over time India will become the outright favourites.

India are a developing side with room for improvement, Virat Kohli is getting better and Duncan Fletcher will have a long term plan. While Sri Lanka have the impossible task of replacing Jayawardene and Sangakkara.

In short, if you fancy Sri Lanka to retain their trophy, I would wait as I can only see their odds drifting. There’s no reason why they won’t be competitive in 2016, and with it being played in Asian conditions they will already have an advantage over England, Australia, South Africa, etc.

Congratulations to West Indies

I wrote towards the end of September that I thought the Windies had a strong side on paper and were serious contenders to win the T20, I also wrote that I thought they were a bit too sloppy in the field, and that could cost them. But that if their batsmen click, it could be irrelevant.

Well the batsmen certainly clicked against Australia in the semi-final, that’s the sort of win (if one was going to come) that I expected from them. When you have over 200 on the board, you can probably afford to be a bit sloppy in the field.

What I didn’t expect to see from this West Indies team was the sort of victory they pulled off earlier today against Sri Lanka to lift the trophy. With the exception of the excellent Marlon Samuels and a late knock from Darren Sammy, the Windies batting fire power failed to take off.

At the start of the match, if someone had told me West Indies would only get 137, I would have thought that wouldn’t be enough to win. Having watched their batsmen struggle to score, at the halfway stage I knew that West Indies had a competitive score.

I thought that Sri Lanka wilted under the pressure. They are obviously very reliant on Sangakkara and Jayawardene, and when they didn’t come off, the rest didn’t have an answer.

It was obvious when Mendis got ran out off a misfield (the Windies weak point in my view) by Bravo that it was going to be the Windies day.

Personally I am delighted for them. They have got some great limited overs players in their team and they are great to watch when they perform. I’m also delighted for Darren Sammy who in the past has had to cop a lot of unjustified flak about whether he is even good enough to be in the side, never mind captain.

It’s also great to see an unfashionable team win, sorry if that offends any West Indian readers, but it’s been a long time since the days of all the greats. If this team makes the Windies fashionable again, then I will be delighted.

Onto Cricket Betting, and now that the T20 is out of the way hopefully more of the bookmakers will start to price up the India V England series. So far Ladbrokes are the best online price for India, offering 8/13 on the home side winning the series.

Hopefully more money will come into this market now as I want to try and start trading the series winner market, to hopefully ensure some profit before a ball is bowled, so I can then concentrate on the Test matches. I suppose the upcoming Champions League could divert attention away further still.

One reason for leaving this market alone at the moment is Kevin Pietersen. If all of a sudden he is added to the squad, England’s price should shorten, this could create an opportunity to lay England as there may be an over reaction if he is recalled, and then we could just back them and trade out for a profit when the market settles down again and readjusts.

No Great Surprise

It wasn’t a massive shock to me to see England go crashing out of the World T20 on Monday, to be honest I believe it was the culmination of a sustained period of shoddy management and a lack of joined up thinking.

Any regular readers of this blog will know that for a few weeks now I have had a bee in my bonnet about the lack of leadership and poor decision making that I believe has been taking place for some time now.

I’m not going to go over the top and hammer the players for what has happened, as I think they are (on the whole) a decent, inexperienced bunch of talented blokes, some of whom have a decent future within the game.

What I am annoyed about is the lack of joined up thinking over the past 12-18 with this T20 side, and the management in general.

Who exactly is England’s strongest T20 XI at the moment? With the exception of Broad, Finn, Swann and Morgan, I am struggling to think of another player who has a spot nailed down in this side.

Compare this to the XI who won 2 years ago, of which I can name 10 of the players off the top of my head.

For a few years the 50 Over side seemed to be the ‘let’s have a look at him and see if he has test potential’ team, now it appears to have moved onto the T20 side.

This side seems to have had no level of consistency with selection lately. Where have all the experienced guys gone? This team is way too inexperienced for one, I have no problem with chucking youngsters in, but not a whole host of them in one go.

Craig Kieswetter has been asking to get dropped from the limited overs’ sides for about 12-18 months now, so England leave it until the ‘do or die’ game to do it. And then throw Jonny Bairstow in at the deep end with the gloves!

The batting was too inexperienced and hasn’t played enough games at this level. Where have the likes of Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler had the chance to face the likes of Malinga before?

You can’t chuck young blokes with no experience in against world class performers like this in a world cup and expect them to succeed, it’s ridiculous. They had no chance, it’s totally unfair on them in my view.

And the ECB’s stance on the IPL, where these guys could perhaps gain some experience? Don’t mention it!

I’m no fan of IPL, and it’s been proven that your players don’t have to play there to win a World T20, but your players do need some experience of facing this class of cricketer.

At the moment England have discarded too many of the players with experience, and for that, I blame the management.

In a further twist of management failings, I see that Kevin Pietersen is now expected to be welcomed back into the England fold sometime this week.

At last!!

Maybe some light will now be shed on what the delay has been to all this, if I don’t hear any explanation, then I’m going to assume that it is down to the management not sorting it out quick enough. The same management that allowed this situation to develop.

I heard Ryan Sidebottom talking on the radio this morning, it was quite interesting what he had to say. He pointed out that for the sake of the England cricket team, the Pietersen situation needed to be resolved. Agreed!

He then went on to say that not one player he has spoken too would turn down the chance to play in the IPL. It did strike me as slightly ironic that this whole situation seems to have arisen out of one players desire to play IPL, but yet the rest of the squad (some of whom are supposed to be anti Pietersen for some reason) would jump at the chance if offered it.

I’m well aware that Bopara and Broad, and possibly others have turned down the chance. But I think the point that Sidebottom was making was that the majority would gladly go there if offered.

I think it’s pretty clear by now that I think that the England management have to up their game somewhat. They have again allowed English cricket to slip from the top of the tree, as opposed to building on it. We didn’t even manage to consolidate our position.

I do hope that when Pietersen is given his contract and they have all kissed and made up, that a bit of common sense is arrived at and he is added to the India touring party.

Let’s see what happens.

At last, some excitement at the World T20

For me, today was the first real exciting day of the World T20 with the thrilling finish in the Sri Lanka V New Zealand match, and the West Indies V Eoin Morgan match which followed afterwards.

It has been a bit of a frustrating few days with a spate of rain effected matches before today, so I hope this is the turning point for the competition and that the whole tournament takes off now.

Not sure what to say about England, don’t want to criticise them too much as they are out there with a pretty inexperienced side, and in all honesty I didn’t expect them to be contesting the trophy with this side.

That said, there was two pretty awful shots at the top of the innings, the bowling hasn’t been great considering it is supposed to be the more experienced part of the unit, and the fielding hasn’t been too clever, for which there is no excuse really.

Just why we have such an inexperienced team is another story and bug bear of mine, but we are where we are and that’s that. The most stupid thing about it all, is that Pietersen is actually out there working for television.

Anyway I’m not going to go into that again.

I did today listen to TMS while I was out at work, Niall O’Brien has joined the commentary team (I presume for this tournament only) and I thought he was a decent summariser.

He did have me in a state of shock when he claimed that Craig Kiewswetter’s wicket keeping had improved over the last 18-24 months, but I bow to his superior knowledge in that department. Although I will add, it must have been bloody bad to start with.

Of the West Indies, well I’m not 100% sure what to make of them. In the (so called) summer when they played England, I thought they had a strong side on paper and could be a serious contender for winning this competition.

I still do to an extent, but their performances in the field against Australia and England could have been better. Maybe against England they took their foot off the gas as the game was won early, although that is not a great attitude to have.

While against the Aussies, they were in control after they had batted and somehow contrived to lose with some bloody awful bowling in my view.

With the bat, they are awesome, I’m not just not convinced they are tight enough in the field, although that could become irrelevant in any game if the batsmen click.

In cricket betting terms, West Indies are joint favourites with South Africa with some online bookmakers at 4/1 or 9/2. Other bookies have South Africa (just) as their outright favourites. Personally I think the Saffers are very capable of winning this competition, but if you’re thinking of investing in them, remember they still have their chokers tag!

If you fancy chucking your money away, England are 16/1 with some online bookmakers to retain their title, give me 50/1 and I might just have a couple of quid on them!