India – The hosts, the arguably(?) best team at the moment, though the reality should be clear after the SA tour. Only thing I can say is, they would be unfortunate not to win this cup. They have The Best batting line up in Tests & ODIs, in Dhoni they have a smart enough captain and perhaps the best keeper batsman beside Sanga (yeah I Know McCullum!), bowling, they have Zaheer and well.. Others! Bhajji, we are still hoping he will perhaps perform, Praveen Kumar and Nehra are good to okayish for ODIs. Although in the end it shall all depend on Batting and ofcourse The God.
Man to look out for - Are you asking Me?
Sri Lanka – Good team, great composition and since this is the sub continent, they are always there. Have got a good batting line up and in the form of Malinga and Murali(?) they have the power in bowling. Yet, to me the most important person of this tournament for them could be Matthews, the player you would love to have in ODI’s, he can bat well, he can always be depended for a good spell and quite frequently wickets. He is the man to look out for!
Man to look out for - Angelo Matthews is my pick.
England - Aah! The new darlings of world cricket, courtesy them belting Australia out, everyone’s hailing the Poms. They have some of the better batsmen in the world at this time (which has always been rare in my memory). Their pacers are nice enough and yet they have the spinner so required for sub-continent, again for the first time in my memory they have a world class spinner. They have done that recently (T20 world cup). They are the hot favorites, if not the 2 hosts, and had the WC not been scheduled in the subcontinent, they could well have been the second favs after India
Man to look out for – Eoin Morgan,He is the one Sachin tipped. He’s exciting, the ideal guy for sub continent.
South Africa - Oh the perennial favorites, and the perennial chockers. They never have had any problems , they have been almost the best team always, they would have players, they will win matches and yet something or the other would happen. In Amla and AB, they have the 2 best ODI batsmen, Smith is there and Kallis, is still there, he’s never gonna leave you. They have Steyn and (?) Morkel. Only problem they seem to have is of a quality spinner(which they never have had) although some Pakistani player who shifted to SA could be an answer.
Man to look out for - Well they have always been a team.. May be AB? Amla?
Australia – Australia, Australia!! Oh mighty Australia. How far have you fallen. If only not for the fact that they are Australians, they def would have been atleast 1 and probably 2 spots down . Yet since they are Australia and they are still the no 1 side in the world. They remain in fray! In Ponting, they have a dilemma, he is one of the best batsman in the world and this is gonna be his swan song, he is going to try so hard to save his legacy which (depending on Ashes result) could have been trodden down upon or barely there. He’s gonna give it all to it and although his sub continent record say something different, but his last tour to India is something he can count upon. He definitely is the man to look for in this squad. One thing which they have going in their favour is, they have had success at sub continent more than the English, SA(ODIs), WI and likes. They are more familiar to subcontinent
Man to look out for - The Old Horse, Ricky Thomas Ponting
Pakistan – Perhaps for the first time ever, you rank them in the lower category. They have always been mercurial, they will always surprise you, that’s why even mediocre pakistani teams have been rated highly. Yet, this time, it feels like too much has happened. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bangladesh can defeat Pakistan comprehensively.
Player to look out for - Are there any left?
West Indies – This is where it starts getting inconsequential. You have all your lives hoped for a Caribbean revival but it has never happened and although they have fared okayish in sub continent but still 2nd level.
Player to look out for – ?
New Zealand – Would have put them above the windies but a 4-0(even if you don’t consider Bangladesh as minnows) and a 5-0 loss, it just doesn’t give me confidence at all. They have the players who can perhaps by the sheer grit save matches for you, but this is not test matches we are playing. They just don’t have the fire power and in the sub continent, you cant do without it.
Player to look out for - I’d rather not look at them
Bangladesh - Could I put them above NZ, given the current affairs? Somehow the conventional wisdom sets in. With their slow left armers and a guy names Shakib-Al-Hasan, they definitely are going to the 2nd round, specially given the home crowd. Their they might won some matches but don’t see them going ahead. Although stranger things will happen. Readers – Can they make this one a SL 1996 kind of triumph?
Players to look out for - Shakib
Zimbabwe - !
PS: Bear with the arbitrary links, checking out a WP feature.