Posted by: tootingtrumpet | March 3, 2011

The World Cup – Which team will win?

The Prize!

At this stage of the World Cup, we have had a look at all the sides and opinions are being established. He is the Trumpet’s view of leading contenders –

India – Batting every bit as strong as expected and fervently supported on home territory. Bowling lacks penetration and much depends on the creaking but crafty Zaheer Khan staying fit. Fielding is also a significant weakness, with too many camels in the deep. Will the surfeit of talent in one discipline outweigh the paucity of talent in the other two? The bookies think so, as they have India at 3.75.

South Africa – We are used to South African teams with impressive batting and penetrating pace, but this South African side have added containing and wicket-taking spin, with Imran Tahir very impressive already. So why are SA as long as 5.0 in the markets? Despite listeners and colleagues at refusing to give any weight to this evidence, the Trumpet’s contention is that SA have a lack of mental strength that has prevented them achieving their potential in the past. Though these players are different – in the same way that mental strength ran through two generations of Australian players, I’d suggest that we can claim that there is a lack of mental strength that runs through two generations of South African cricketers. Is this the XI to lay that ghost? Odds on 5.0 suggests that the market believes that SA will not deliver results to match their talent – again.

Sri Lanka – Probably the best balanced side of all – pace, spin, experience, hitters, accumulators, fielding, home advantage and well led. Perhaps too much depends on the shaky fitness of Malinga and the ageing limbs of Murali, but it’s hard to see why they are as long as 5.5 with the bookies. My tip to win the trophy.

Australia – As much pedigree as one could want and still on an unbeaten run, but look a little short on class compared to their winning sides of the past. All the eggs in one basket when bowling, but extreme pace is available to Punter whenever he wants it and that never hurt Clive Lloyd. Not the best in the field, but might have enough firepower with bat and ball to win matches. A touch long in the market as 6.0 and my tip for the final.

Pakistan – Well, what can one say? Almost a parody of themselves, so up and down are the men from cricket’s most unpredictable country. If everyone plays to potential, they win – the opposition don’t matter. But that “if” is an enormous word when Pakistan are on the paddock. 7.5 is their odds in the market, but I’d suggest that it’s skinny considering the number of ways that Pakistan can lose a cricket match.

England – Fielding looks tired after a long time away from home, but the batting looks strong and deep. Unfortunately, the bowling looks very dodgy, failing to build scoreboard pressure through choking runs or dismissing batsmen. Experienced players though, who know how to win a tournament, albeit in T20, so there’s a chance they might just click and win three do-or-die matches and the trophy… if they progress from the group stage. Odds of 11.0 look a shade generous.

West Indies – A collection of players rather than a team, but there’s matchwinners in Gayle, Bravo, Pollard and Roach. However dilatory fielding and lack of support bowling surely scuppers their chances. Long at 26.0, but that’s probably fair.

Also rans – can still cause upsets, but not serious contenders for the Cup.


The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at and on Twitter at @garynaylor999




  1. You needling a Kiwi friend of yours?

    • I can’t see the Kiwis as genuine contenders for a Finals slot – same with Bangladesh. They’ll probably be the two left on April 2 now that I’ve written that!

      • Well you included the Windies! We all keep waiting for them to do well, because they have Gayle and Pollard. But they haven’t beaten a top-eight side in an ODI since June 2009.

        • True Dave – but I feel they have a chance, albeit slim.

  2. I’d suggest SA are still 5.0 for the same reason Australia were bookmaker favourites to win back the Ashes and Spain were never odds on to win the football last year. Punters have long memories of being burnt when it comes to big sporting events and need some enticements. But second favourite, behind the hosts is nothing to be sneezed at. Such odds might change once the road to the final becomes clear.

  3. Bookies odds probably mean little. The prices they offer are not necessarily indicative of their genuine assessments so much as the money flows they’re seeing. Who does most betting on cricket ? The answer is quite obviously Indian people. I’m guessing the money coming from India, or the Indian diaspora in other countries, is dwarfing the sort of money coming from anywhere else. You only need to look at the ludicrously short prices offered on England winning the football World Cup every four years to see the way that patriotic betting can shape bookies prices. It must be even more of f factor here, which explains why India are such a short price and everybody else is offering decent value.

  4. I find that the bookies are a reliable guide to tournaments – though they can obviously be wrong about individual matches. I suspect India are a tiny bit shorter because of the money flows, but not much. The bookies got Spain right in WC2010 – weakish favourites. They had a crocked centre-forward and were often one bad refereeing decision from drawing those 1-0s. Aus were favourites for The Ashes because home teams usually are in Test series.

  5. Presuming the selectors come to their senses and the ICC allow it Mike Hussey’s inclusion will see Australia’s chances improve significantly.

    I don’t think they can win it, not because they aren’t good enough, but because four successive major titles in any competitive arena is very rare.

    The match tomorrow against Sri Lanka will be very interesting indeed.

    • And the reason that’s rare is because have a team that’s good enough four times in a row is rare enough. Any affects of their threepeat status will be mental, and probably of least relevance after 1)whether they’re enough and 2)chance events that are independent of anything before.

  6. India’s abilities and odds are as usual vastly exaggerated. I don’t think they’re anywhere near the team the media has made it out to be.

    • India are not my favourites for the WC either. But the fundamental reasons (in a stock market sense) for their odds are (IMO): a) We are World No. 2 in ODIs based on performances over the last 2 yrs or so; b) We are the reigning Asia Cup Champions (won last year); c) MS Dhoni can be overly defensive at times (like most modern captains), but he is second to no other skipper in this WC…and the man has had a golden run over the last 3 years — T20 WC Champ, No. 1 Test ranking, CWB series win in Oz, IPL, Champions League, etc.

  7. Gary, your SL (Winners) vs Aus (Rup) final call sounds pretty good to me.

    But SA could be surprise winners yet. Surely their poor run at WCs has to end some time! And they certainly have the team…especially after Tahir’s entry.

    ( PS: Read an Ali Bacher interview…he said a witch doctor told him SA would come very close, but no cigar in the end!)

  8. With today’s washout not going anywhere near far enough to answering our questions, it is looking more likely the Punters first WC loss as captain will be his last.

  9. I absolutely agree to your call of saying SL is the favourite. In fact, I myself wrote a couple of pieces on them on HoldingWilley stating why I find them favourites. The only reason for concern for them is their middle order, which isn’t the greatest ever.

    The loss against Pakistan might be one of the reasons for them being at 5.5

  10. I can’t beleive how England have gone from a team who were excellent in the field but struggled with the bat, too a decent looking batting unit who now can’t bowl or catch. It’s a remarkable turn around.

    I actually give Pakistan a chance. I think their team looks quite strong from No.3 upwards, maybe the openers could cost them, I don’t know.

    But I do think they are currently very under rated.

  11. It’s Australia. Really, no other side has the class. India lack in bowling/fielding, Pak’s batting as shown against Canada is a russian roulette, Lanka has 2.5 batsmen, Saffers are Saffers.
    England can sneak through to knockouts and then step up the gas – they have the team but they’ll probably come short against classy aussies and classy Ponting.
    India should be happy if they make it to semis with this bowling attack

  12. Really cant say. I am supporting India. They have performed brilliantly so far. However, there are minor flaws. One really cant predict.

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