Cricket, glorious cricket! Who will be the 2021 ICC Champions?

Dear Editor,
Millions of cricket fans are following the 2021 ICC Cricket World Cup Championship that is presently being played in the UAE. The matches will be played at the three popular venues of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. It will be fun and excitement to see the super 12s battle for supremacy.
Under the present playing conditions, India and Pakistan will be seen as hot favourites to take the title. However, defending champions West Indies will be looking to win their third title, thus winning back-to-back T20 titles.
The pitches will not be favourable to the genuine fast bowlers, hence the spinners will be more effective; and on the slow pitches, the quicker bowlers will have to bowl an immaculate line and length. The spinners will enjoy big turns, and the bounce and spin will be threatening.
Bowlers will benefit tremendously from superb fielding.
Looking at the various T20s tournaments around the world, it cannot be denied that we will be seeing some superb fielding and fascinating catches.
The game of cricket depends heavily on runs scored in the innings. The batsmen will have to get scores for their team to win matches. Looking at the batsmen in the tournament, spectators and fans can expect to see some exciting batting. The batsmen who will be scoring runs quickly and hitting the ball all over the ground will be the match winners, while the Test match accumulator of runs will have to wait for Test match cricket.
Remember the name Carlos Braithwaite? Defending champions the West Indies are without him. It will be interesting to see skipper Kieron Pollard, Andre Russel and Nicholas Pooran getting runs in the middle order. These three batsmen can score runs very quickly and destroy any bowling attack, if they get going. The West Indies’ early batters Evin Lewis, Lyndel Simmons, Andre Fletcher, along with Shimron Hetmyer and the solid Roston Chase, must play important innings.
The batting, on paper, looks great and threatening. However, the West Indies’ bowling looks feeble, and the world’s number one all-rounder Jason Holder is missing from the squad that will be playing for the defending champions. Oh! The West Indies will regret the non-selection of “Golden boy” Romario Shepherd.
The Australia team at the World Cup looks very strong. Aaron Finch, David Warner, Steve Smith are all world class batsmen. The batting all-rounders Mitchel Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis are all genuine middle-order batsmen. Their bowling attack include the reputable Pat Cummings, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Starc, along with spinner Adam Zampa.
New Zealand’s batting line-up will be dangerous, with skipper Kane Williamson,
Devon Conway, Martin Guptill and Glen Phillips. The middle-order can be dangerous with Jimmy Neesham and Kyle Jamieson, while the bowling attack looks formidable with Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi.
South Africa, with a reasonable batting line-up that includes Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, and Rassie van der Dussen, can score enough runs for their quality bowling to win matches. Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, the world rated spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, and Keshav Mahraj can be victorious on the slow pitches.
All eyes will be on team India, which has several world class batsmen and bowlers. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan are all in tremendous form. All-rounders Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Shardul Thankur are all ready for possible selection. Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are all world class fast bowlers.
India will be the team to defeat in this World Cup.
England will be under the astute leadership of Eoin Morgan; and Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan and Jason Roy are aggressive batters. With their bowling line-up including Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Chris Jordan and Adil Rashid, they have an attack that can win matches.
The team that can create up-set is the Pakistan mixture of youth and experience. Babar Azam is world class. Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan, Shoaib Malik, Shadab Khan and the batting all-rounders can be powerful opponents and can score heavily. While their bowling is extremely strong with the likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hasan Ali and the clever bowling all-rounders.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are two teams that should do well in the playing conditions. However, the “Big” teams are too powerful, and the championship will be punctuated with many upsets, and be full of excitement and thrills.
All eyes are on the lookout for magnificent fielding, superb batting, and clever bowling. This World Cup will certainly produce glorious cricket.

Neil Kumar