It has slowly crept up on cricket fans across the globe and now, four years on from India memorably becoming the first nation to win the tournament on home soil, the 2015 Cricket World Cup is almost here. This latest edition of pulsating, world-class cricket just happens to be being held in the Sport Lived cricket gap-year destinations of Australia and New Zealand. If there was ever a moment to start thinking about heading to these cricket obsessed nations to play the game it is now, as the two countries play host to what could be one of the most exciting and enthralling World Cups ever.
Some things are easy to predict in sport. World Cups are not one of them – and certainly not this one, with a number of teams harbouring genuine and realistic ambitions to be the ones lifting the ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy on March 29th in the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground. The 4-time winners Australia will certainly believe that they have the quality to go all the way, especially with their passionate home supporter’s right behind them. As defending champions India will be the outright favourites but the likes of Sri Lanka and in particular South Africa, with the game’s most feared bowling attack, are strong contenders. If they can get it right more consistently against the big-boys then the 2012 T20 World Champions the West Indies can be a real threat. And what of co-hosts New Zealand? If inspirational captain Brendon McCullum continues to bat like he’s hitting a beach ball then anything is possible. Trying to pick a firm favourite is a futile exercise.
What’s more, it is now widely acknowledged by pundits, players and fans alike that the one-day game of cricket has evolved dramatically over the last few years; fuelled by the development of the T20 format and a general change in attitude towards how the 50-over format should be played. There is a greater focus on attacking with the bat from the off, while Alastair Cook’s recent demise as one-day captain has again shown that a negative mind-set in the fielding side no longer cuts the mustard. Don’t expect to see many dull games at this World Cup, it will be attacking cricket at its finest. Batsmen are hitting the ball further, the quickies are bowling faster and with more variation and a cautious approach in the field is a thing of the past. Indeed, South Africa’s AB De Villiers has just hit the worlds quickest every century in just 31 balls. It may be hard to predict the winner but real entertainment is one thing you can be sure of.
And what of the stadiums and locations that will be displaying this 6-week cricketing feast? Australia and New Zealand have some of the most iconic and atmospheric cricket grounds in the world, particularly those in the cities that Sport Lived hold their first-class cricket programmes – Dunedin’s picturesque University Oval, Brisbane’s famous Gabba and the aforementioned Melbourne Cricket Ground. These grounds are characterised by the hard, fast wickets that will both challenge batsmen and offer the chance for high-scoring. Many truly momentous moments have occurred in the sporting theatres that will encompass this World Cup, including grounds in places such as Sydney, Christchurch, Perth and Auckland to name but a few. The host cities in Australia and New Zealand are perfect for a cricket World Cup, full of a palpable love for the game. A cricket World Cup being staged in some of the globe’s ultimate cricketing cities – it is going to be a fascinating spectacle.
Some greats such as Jaque Kallis, Graeme Smith and Sachin Tendulker have now left the scene but there will still be many of the game’s finest players on display. Batsmen such as Virat Kohli, David Warner, Chris Gayle and McCullum are sure to leave us open-mouthed at their ability with a bat in their hands, while bowlers like Dale Steyn, Mitchell Johnson, James Anderson and Saeed Ajmal are bound to motivate many to head down to ball a few in the nets. It will also be the last ever time we’ll get to see one of the very best batsmen to have played the game, with Kumar Sangakarra retiring after the tournament. Don’t be surprised if he delivers for his country one final time.
Finally, what would a World Cup be without some, probably miss-placed, hope of English success? The soap-story that is the England cricket team has the talent to battle the best if they can finally find some consistent form and confidence. Their hapless recent defeat to Australia, despite a ton for new captain Eoin Morgan, doesn’t bode well. Ireland and Scotland continue to improve but will most likely valiantly fall at the Group Stage. We’ve seen a man on the moon but can we see this England side become the dark horses who go all the way to win their first ever World Cup?
Players, the media and the fans lucky enough to be there are going to have a cricket experience that they are never going to forget. Do you want your own taste of the game in these two great cricketing nations? Then have a look at Sport Lived’s full, mini, coaching and academy programmes in Australia and New Zealand by clicking here. Watching the 2015 Cricket World Cup is going to present to you an opportunity and an idea that you will not want to miss out on. Do a Sport Lived cricket programme and you won’t have to.
The 2015 Cricket World Cup is going to excite and inspire in equal measure. Get ready – it’s almost here.