Cricket World Cup may not capture the world’s imagination in quite the same way as its footballing equivalent, but if there is one event on the cricketing calender that players don’t want miss, then it is this one. Just ask former New Zealand cricketer Jacob Oram. In 2007, the Black Caps all-rounder threatened to amputate his injured finger if it meant missing out on the World Cup. Thankfully it didn’t come to that (Oram later insisted he’d been joking when he made the comment) as he recovered from his injury to help New Zealand to the semi-finals.
With New Zealand and Australia joint hosting of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. The tournament starts on February 14 with the final to be played in the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 29. The Red Bulletin asked Oram for his guide to who and what to watch out for.
THE RED BULLETIN : Who do you fancy to win the World Cup?
JACOB ORAM: This may be a sit-on-the-fence type answer but I honestly think there are four or five teams with a realistic chance. New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and India all have quality players. If I had to choose one team it would be South Africa. They look imposing.
Which team/s do you see as dark horses?
Normally I’d say New Zealand. We’re perennial underdogs but also high achievers. However, this year we have form, consistency, depth and confidence, so we probably can’t call ourselves dark horses. For me Pakistan and Sri Lanka are flying under the radar. For whatever reason, teams from the sub-continent tend to be erratic, but that makes them scary. One day they’re terrible, the next they’re unbeatable.
Which players are you most excited about seeing?
Obviously a lot of the New Zealand guys: Brendon McCullum, Corey Anderson, Daniel Vettori, Adam Milne, Tim Southee and Kane Williamson are exciting local talents. From an overseas perspective, you can’t go past the big hitters and fast bowlers. AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn from South Africa, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson from Australia, Chris Gayle (West Indies), Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) and MS Dhoni (India) will be big draw cards.
Are there any up and coming young talents you’re expecting big things from?
Adam Milne is a 22-year-old kid from Palmerston North who can bowl as fast as anyone in the world. He’s been clocked in excess of 150km/h which is right up there in terms of pace. Quentin de Kock from South Africa is an opening batsman with an amazing record, while Akshar Patel is a spin bowling all rounder from India who has had a great start to his short career. The return of young quick bowler, Pat Cummins is a good thing for Australia, while Moeen Ali gives the English something of an X-factor at the top of their batting order.
What would your greatest World Cup team be from this selection?
I’m biased towards guys I played against and there are 11 other players I could have picked. Still I reckon this team wouldn’t lose too many games.
1. Sachin Tendulkar
2. Adam Gilchrist
3. Jacques Kallis
4. Ricky Ponting
5. Brian Lara
6. AB de Villiers
7. Yuvraj Singh
8. Wasim Akram
9. Shane Warne
10. Glenn McGrath
11. Muttiah Muralitheran