For about a month-and-a-half in 2015, India’s sleeping hours will see a drastic change. Dozy cricket fans will stumble out of their beds, reach for the television remote controls, snuggle on to the couch to catch the World Cup live from Australia and New Zealand.
Many of them had done the same in 1992 and those memories still stayed. Back then, television was new to the nation. Channel 9’s clarity and camera work made the sporting experience magical. More than a couple of decades later the novelty of the world class telecast has died but the anticipation remains.
The perpetual favourite Australia will have the home advantage. Inconsistency notwithstanding, Pakistan has the talent to go the distance. Imran Khan’s 1992 fairytale will be inspiring. England will hope new captain Eoin Morgan will change their luck.
With a team full of highly effective shorter version specialists, South Africa can never be written off. Sri Lanka have had an excellent 2014 and they have been supremely consistent at World Cups. But the real dark horse will be New Zealand. In 16 ODIs in 2014, they won nine and lost only five. In 1992 the talking point of the World Cup was was New Zealand’s innovative cricket.
Mark Greatbatch redefined the opener’s role, off-spinner Dipak Patel proved spinners too open bowling and Martin Crowe almost proved that World Cup can be won single-handedly.
After a long winning streak, they would suffer a heart-breaking loss to Pakistan in the semi-final. Maybe, 2015 they might move up the podium.