Knees tremble at mighty Indians
June sees the ICC World Twenty20 come to England where 11/4 India are most definitely bookmaker William Hill’s justified outright favourites to defend their crown.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (5/1 to be top Indian batsman) will be in confident mood after seeing the vast majority of his troops demonstrate sound form in the Indian Premier League recently won by the Deccan Chargers.
Seven of the top 10 IPL wicket-takers were Indians and four of that number, including leading wicket-taker Rudra Pratap Singh, are part of the Indian squad that gets their campaign underway on June 6 against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge.
And the batting is in pretty fearless touch too. Virender Sehwag (7/2 to be top Indian batsman) and a mighty middle-order of Suresh Raina (7/2), Rohit Sharma (5/1), Yuvraj Singh (9/2) plus possible surprise package Ravinder Jadeja (16/1) have all proved their credentials in this exciting format of the game.
Well there’s India’s sensible credentials out of the way, some connected mates consider them certainties, but in the form of cricket that for me is the equivalent of a knee trembler behind a bus shelter (it might be over quick, but it can be very exciting) I’m not sure I’d want to go with the favourites. I mean, is there such a thing as a certainty after a Friday night on the ale? Apart from a kebab with too much chilli sauce on it?
Let’s not forget joint second favourites Australia and South Africa (9/2) are both packed with match-winners.
Australia travel with a relatively old, but inexperienced side into the event - when Ricky Ponting leads his men against the 10/1 West Indies on June 6 he will be playing only his 16th Twenty20 international. My gut instinct is that the Aussies have bigger fish to fry this summer - namely a spanking Ashes win against England.
Punter Ponting has not passed 38 in his previous four Twenty20 matches so that surely leaves the door wide open for the likes of Michael Hussey 6/1 to be Top Series Aussie batsman or possibly Michael Clarke 5/1.
7/1 Pakistan have been rocked by the news that fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has been ruled out of the Twenty20 World Cup after being diagnosed with genital warts, so the Pakistan Cricket Board pleasantly confirmed recently.
Shoaib Akhtar is out with a skin infection in the groinal area
It is important to state here that knee tremblers behind bus shelters and genital warts probably shouldn’t really be mentioned in the same cricket preview or any preview for that matter, we should really leave that for a serious C4 documentary on the habits of tearaway chavs or Big Brother or something similar.
But I’m not sure who would have been rocked more after the PCB decided to release that little nugget of info - the team or Shoaib himself. For sure it’s done for his chances of pulling any more Bollywood Goddesses for the next few weeks at least. Well probably anyway. Can we get a price from those esteemed Hills odds compilers about that?
With the advantage of playing at home England will surely attract many a patriotic punter at 8/1.
Paul Collingwood will skipper the Three Lions at this year's event but the guy was not even considered good enough for a starting place in the Delhi Daredevils´ IPL campaign.
The side has some handy sloggers in the batting line up. Kevin Pietersen 11/4, Ravi Bopara 10/3 and Robert Key 9/2 all to be Top England Series batsmen will all quite rightly have their supporters but like the Aussies, I feel the Three Lions will have their minds on the forthcoming Ashes so their outright 8/1 win odds might be best left alone.
The ICC World Twenty20 lasts 27 games, 15 days, and you can guarantee with William Hill’s outright and in-play betting this will be one monster of a cricket punting feast.