Tuesday 17 June 2014 

Predicting The Next 10 Years In Cricket

Will India dominate cricket for the next 10 years?
Will India dominate cricket for the next 10 years?
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

What makes sport so beautiful is it’s air of unpredictability and the beauty with cricket is that it’s very unpredictable.

With the top of the cricket rankings changing as much as the British weather, let's nevertheless take a look to see who will be most likely be the dominant force in world cricket for the the next 10 years . Recent occupants of the top spot have included the likes of India, England and most recently South Africa.

Australia in the 1990s enjoyed huge success and a contributing factor to their success was that they were led by great captains such as Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting. It’s also worth noting that that they had probably the best leg-spinner of his generation in Shane Warne.

Warne was the second leading wicket-taker in Tests, and the 43-year-old's ‘never say die' work ethic was a key factor in the Aussies successful period where they won three successive World Cups (1999, 2003 and 2007).

Before Australia’s period of dominance, the West Indies side of the 1980s, which included greats such as Sir Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd enjoyed a successful period.

The nature of cricket in the modern era is that it’s very unpredictable and that’s what makes it so exciting.

Australia are currently the top ranked side at the moment in Test cricket, while India are top of the pile in limited overs cricket.

The 1983 and 2011 World Cup winners have a very impressive record in the limited overs formats. Led by ‘ice cool’ MS Dhoni, they are the defending World Cup and Champions Trophy winners.

They are where they are by merit, and with the Indian Premier League being so popular as it has, this has allowed India to produce a conveyor belt of talent, we feel that the shift of power in limited overs cricket isn’t going to change anytime soon due to the exceptional talent that is coming out of India every season from the IPL.

Critics have said that the IPL is 'killing off Test cricket' due to the 'aggressive' way teams are batting in T20 matches. I feel, though, that this isn’t the case, and that India will be able to transfer their success in the limited overs format and apply it to the Test arena.

Players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are two examples of 'battling players' and are of Test calibre but have adapted their games to the T20 style of batting. In the case of both men they have made good scores in T20 games and have also blossomed in the Test arena as well.

In Rahane’s case the Rajasthan Royals batsmen does boast a T20 hundred and a Test hundred. These two are examples of  players who have been able to adapt their game to more than one format of cricket.

To further enhance India’s case is that they have the talented Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in their ranks. More positive examples of two players who have excelled in T20 cricket and then gone and carried their good form to the Test arena.

27-year-old Sharma is one of three players to score two hundreds in a row in their first two innings of Test cricket, and  Kohli, who is still only 26, has made the number four position in India’s batting line-up his own.

After the retirement of the ‘Little Master’ Sachin Tendaulkar, Indian fans were left concerned as to who will fill the legendary batsmen's position, but through a series of solid performances, the Royal Challengers Bangalore captain can boast that he has more hundreds at this stage of his career than the legendary Tendulkar, a very impressive feat indeed.

Critics have said that the IPL is 'killing off Test cricket' due to the 'aggressive' way teams are batting in T20 matches.

I feel, though, that this isn’t the case, and that India will be able to transfer their success in the limited overs format and apply it to the Test arena.

Players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are two examples of 'battling players' and are of Test calibre but have adapted their games to the T20 style of batting.

So the question remains: have India got a team capable of  dominating cricket for the next 10 years? I think so. The other sides, Australia, South Africa and England, are either in transition or have squads that are too old and will soon be in need of transition.

Another hindrance for the three teams we mentioned above is that they have all tried to create a Twenty20 league similar to their Indian counterparts, but their respective T20 competition hasn't caught the imagination of fans like it has in India.

Australia do sit on top of the Test rankings however, but with many members of that squad who are over the age of 30 retirement for a few of their stars could be imminent, forcing them to rebuild their team. Unfortunately for the three-time world champions, their best and most influential players are in the over-30 category.

Since the retirement of Warne, Australia haven’t been able to replace him. India on the other hand have a array of spinners who offer good variety, which gives them the edge over their rivals.

England and South Africa are in a similar predicament to their Australian counterparts. The Proteas haven’t got a top-class spinner and the retirement of Graeme Smith, who was not only a great leader but a great batsmen as well, is a great loss. South Africa’s rebuilding process starts now and it could take some time.

The Three Lions have also been rocked by the retirement of a legendary spinner; in England’s case it was Graeme Swann, who at his prime was probably the best off-spinner in the world.

Kevin Pieterson’s 'retirement' was another blow for England - no matter what you're opinion of KP was. Although early days, neither player has been replaced and until they do that, England’s quest to be the number one side in all formats will struggle to gather pace.

So there you have it. I feel the Indians will be the most dominant side in cricket in the next 10 years, but with all sports what makes cricket exciting is that it’s very unpredictable so you never what’s going to happen.

What do you think? Which side do you feel will dominate cricket for the next 10 years? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts.

© Cricket World 2014

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