England will be top of bookmakers list | Daily News

England will be top of bookmakers list

Today where ever cricket fans gather, be it in their favourite watering holes, hotels, kiosks, clubs or the ordinary folks in market places, the talk invariably switches to the 2019 World Cup to be conducted in England and Wales beginning next month.

To the credit of the ordinary folk it must be said that they are better informed, and know more about the game and they talk good cricket sense and it is interesting and a learning experience listening to them.

It is similar to the race card. The ordinary punter is poor in his English but when it comes to the racing card, his English is ‘spot on’ and he can read the present form, the past, read the names of the horses and jockeys and wager without any hassle.

As for us who have been in the cricketing business for well over five decades, and closely scanning the teams picked by the countries participating in the World Cup, we tip England to hold aloft the trophy after the final this time round.

We say this because, England who gave the game to the world and who have never got even a feel of the glittering WC since it all started in 1975 in their backyard, have picked their best warriors who could help the country engrave its names on the trophy for the first time.

Playing in conditions that they are familiar with and on wickets on which they are aware how it will play, bookmakers are sure to have them as hot favourites. But there could be many a slip between the cup and the lip and if the glorious uncertainties of the game could well play its hand.

All teams will be praying that it will be a hot summer and not a cold and rainy summer that England is famous for. It is accepted that all four seasons, Spring, Autum, Summer and Winter can be experienced on the same day. That’s how fickle English conditions could get.

Whatever the conditions, it will favour England most and they do have the elements in the team to make this happen.

In Irish born Eoin Morgan they have a very clever thinking, hard hitting left hander who can take any attack apart with his belligerent hitting and showing the way and being an example for the rest of the team to follow.

Morgan will lead England for the second time. He was captain too in the 2015 squad, but tumbled out in the group stages. However the England selectors have placed their faith in him and it will be interesting to see how he and his team go.

The team will have enough crowd support led by that vociferously cheering Barmy Army. Crowd support is essential to inspire and get the team to perform. So as I said earlier the climate, the conditions, the wickets and the crowd will favor England and if they fail to lay their hands on the trophy this time round it will be sad.

England have fared very well in their preparations this time round winning most of their matches played and whether they will add to that success and will be praying to the cricketing gods to look benignly on them and provide that magic touch and luck that is so important for success.

How success has eluded them since the originating of the World Cup in England in 1975 and then conducting it in ’79 and ’83 is inexplicable. Only the cricketing angels can explain that. They will hosting it for the fourth time this year.

England have been losing finalists in 1979, ’87 and ’92 led by Mike Brearley, Mike Gatting and Graham Gooch. That is how far they have gone.

In ’87 under Gatting they had their best chance of winning but a ‘cock’ or a ‘cow shot’ only those who have played will know those terms, as those shots were called then, the reverse sweep which he mistimed and offered wicket keeper Ian Healey a dolly catch off his counterpart Allan Border is still vivid in the writer’s mind. And England supporters were cursing Gatting for his irresponsibility.

Incidentally I met Gatting at Lord’s Cricket Ground, the home of Middlesex Cricket Club for which club Gatting played in 1976 when I was the guest of the Commonwealth Office of Information after a Diploma Course in Journalism in West Berlin. He was introduced to me as England’s emerging cricketer.

He maintained that tag and went on to captain England. On the topic of Gatting one also remembers his clash with Pakistan umpire Shakoor Rana for moving a fielder when the bowler was about to deliver that finally led to his deposing as captain. Gatting was known for his hot temper.

England have had the ignominy of being shunted out of the tournament in the group stages in 1999, 2003 and 2015. The last being under the present Captain Morgan.

For the record the past England captains were: 1975 Mike Denness, ’79 Mike Brearley, ’83 Bob Willis, ’87 Mike Gatting, ’92 Graham Gooch, ’96 Mike Atherton,’99, Alec Stewart, 2003 Nasser Hussain,’07 Michael Vaughan, ’11 Andrew Strauss, ’15 Eoin Morgan.

So Eoin Morgan will be the great white hope for England again. Will he proudly hold aloft the WORLD CUP and the UNION JACK? Only the end of tournament will tell.

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