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Dec 20, 2014
England have become the first team to announce their 15 member squad for the ICC World cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.

Eoin Morgan to Captain England in World Cup 2015 [Image from flickr by ASHISH1987]
The biggest omissions from the squad are that of Test captain Alastair Cook, allrounder Ben Stokes and fast bowler Harry Gurney. Middle order batsman Gary Ballance makes his return to the side after being dropped for the Sri Lanka ODI series.

The bowling becomes more potent with the inclusion of Stuart Broad and James Anderson, both who were injured from their respective knee injuries.

Ben Stokes paid for poor form in recent series vs Sri Lanka [Image taken from Flickr]


Ben Stokes, the only man to come out with some respect from the dreaded Ashes tour in Australia, was not in any sort of form in international cricket, sending down 8 overs for 85 runs in the three matches he played in the recently concluded ODI series against Sri Lanka.

National Selector James Whitaker congratulated all the players who made it to the squad for the World cup and wished them success in the elite competition.

England Squad:
Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Board, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Joe Root, James Taylor, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes

Dec 20, 2014

Today, India lost the second test to Australia by 4 wickets in the on going Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2014-15.
This means that India still stays at number six in the ICC Test team rankings.

It is hard to believe that a team that was number one  in 2011, has fallen so low in the rankings despite series whitewash against Australia at home and wins against New Zealand at home.The major culprit to the Indian team's loss in ranking has been the continuous defeats in the away tests. India lost tests in South Africa, Australia, England, New Zealand in previous 2-3 years which has dented India's ranking points.

India is still the number two side in both One-Day International and the T20 Internationals rankings as of now. But India can very well go down to number seven, behind New Zealand in the Test rankings, if they loose the series 3-0 or worst.

This may be the lowest point for India ranking wise. A team that is the current 50 over World cup holder, a T20I World Cup winner, but is unable to win test series or tests outside India on a consistent basis. Maybe Team India deserve a jolt to their brains with the lowest ranking they have ever achieved in Test matches.

With South Africa doing well against West Indies at home and New Zealand due to play Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, all the teams have a chance to gain points to better their rankings. Where as India has to find out a way to salvage a draw or a win from some where, if they hope to end the year as the number six team in the ICC Test Rankings.

The most controversial cricket board this year, the English have been riddled with controversy from their Ashes drubbing to their sacking of Kevin Pietersen. Explosive autobiographies, public outbursts, matches lost and friendships broken.

Alastair Cook
England are looking hapless against Sri Lanka and the captain Alastair Cook is showing signs of no confidence. Will he lead the English in Australasia? The English have been beaten comprehensively and will now look to find a formulae that with bring team chemistry and allow the side to be competitive. England have made the Cricket World Cup three times and lost on all occasions. Their displays at the show piece have been poor as finishing sixth in 2007 was their highest since the 1992 event. Can the trend end as poor showings are set to continue? The disharmony and controversies don't help the sides cause for redemption.

Key players:

Joseph Roots is the young Yorkshire bred all rounder I feel can inspire change in this England side. His runs have steadily risen in the last few innings and could serve to be a good omen entering the final phase of the World Cup. England need him to be inspired to avoid another disastrous showing.


Alastair Cook needs to find his form quickly. The captain has been less than inspiring for this side and would be a surprise if he was to retain the captaincy going into the World Cup. Will he be able to discover it? All to be seen as England head into yet another disastrous World Cup.

Article contributed by: Benedict Chanakira

Twitter: @bchanakira2

They say history repeats itself. Well, it did repeat the 2011 ordeal for India again. Saving the Lord's test win, India lost the 5 test series 1-0 up, loosing the last 3 tests by big margins.

Now India are set to play England in  another 5 ODI series. Last time they lost the series 3-0 to the English. Even in the ODI series then, Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane played a big role along with MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. But still India lost the series and the lone T20 match.

Now India has a lot to avenge after the humiliating loss in the test series. They would be helped by the return of ODI specialist Suresh Raina, who brings an attacking brand of cricket, electric fielding and a general sense of enthusiasm in the team. Also inclusion of Mohit Sharma will give the tired legs of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar a chance to rest. His tiredness was visible in the final 2 tests of the series.

The famed Indian batting lineup, failed in the final 3 tests of the series but in ODI format, it is a different matter altogether. India are ranked number 2 in the ODI list. Indian team won the Champions trophy last year which was held in England, beating England in the final.

India also defeated Middlesex in the only practice game they got to play. The main stars of the match were Virat Kohli, who scored a century and leg spinner Karn Sharma, who picked up 3 wickets.

It would be interesting to see what lineup Dhoni selects. With the form of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma's problem against swing at high pace as seen in South Africa and New Zealand, Dhoni might want to open with Ajinkya Rahane along with Shikhar Dhawan.

It would also be interesting to see the pace and spin combination he decides to go with. With Mohd.Shami, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron,Dhawal Kulkarni,Mohit Sharma at his disposal and the addition of Karn Sharma, it would be really interesting to see the team combination.
                                                                                                                                                                            


As with England, they have a settled ODI lineup and with the inclusion of the explosive Alex Hales, they are more than ready to take on the Indian team.

The series is sure poised to be a cracker and India is expected to perform more credibly than they did in the test series.

The first ODI will be played in Bristol and live telecast will start at 3.00 pm IST.

Squads:
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhawal Kulkarni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Sanju Samson, Karn Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav.

England: Alastair Cook, (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes.

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