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by Clint Wayne
2007-03-11 09:57:47
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That is the sound to be heard on countless Village Greens the length and breadth of England during the hot summer months as leather ball meets willow in the exquisite game of Cricket. However, out in the beautiful sun-drenched islands of the Caribbean over the next few weeks the Cricket World will take on a very serious nature as the Cricket World Cup gets underway.

Now, to try to explain to the uninitiated the rules and the art of cricket is a lot like teaching a beautiful lady the football offside rule, but to the connoisseur who remembers, as a schoolboy, sitting with his father watching the superlative Surrey opening batsman John Edrich and, as a father, yelling like a schoolboy as a certain ‘Beefy’ Ian Botham smashed the Aussies all around Old Trafford to win The Ashes, the next few weeks will be like seventh heaven, especially if England, under the captaincy Michael Vaughan, can inspire them to their first trophy win.

They will certainly need to be at their very best to beat the current world number one seeds South Africa, the superbly talented Indians and Pakistanis and, of course, the all-conquering current World Champions Australia, as well as the hosts West Indies.

As always in every competition there are the minnows and in Cricketing Nations. They are Scotland, Canada, Kenya and Holland who are there to enjoy the occasion, gain experience and generally be smashed to a pulp by the top-class batsman and bowlers.

With a plethora of class batsman, such as the Indian Sachin Tendulkar, the finest one-day batsman of all time, Pakistani run-machine Mohammed Yousuf, the prolific Aussie captain Ricky Ponting and, of course, the great West Indian Brian Lara runs will not be in short supply. For England much will depend on the form of ‘KP’ Kevin Pietersen returning from his recent broken rib injury who can turn any game with his superb stroke play.

It is thought that the renowned hard West Indian pitches will take spin which will allow England’s popular Monty Panesar to challenge the inimitable Muttiah Muralitharan to become the ‘King of Spin’ now that Shane Warne has retired. Amongst the ‘Quickies’ veterans Aussie Glenn McGrath and South African Shaun Pollock continue to produce consistent excellence.

Having worshipped Ian Botham for years, my love is for the ‘All-Rounders’ those craftsmen who ooze class with bat and ball. Competition will be tough with Aussie Mike Hussey, Kiwi Shane Bond and England’s swaggering Freddie Flintoff being the main contenders.

So to cricket lovers everywhere ‘Enjoy’ and to all you other sports fans tune into Sky TV and give Cricket a chance. Learn all about Googlies, Bouncers, Long Legs and Full Tosses, no not on The Adult Channel, but Cricket being played out at its very best in the beautiful colourful setting of the West Indies where we will have a blissful six and a half weeks of Sea, Sun, Sand and Sixes!

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