Damp conditions may trouble teams
India, Pakistan and Australia — hats off to the marketing men for putting together such a tournament. After all one can only take so much of India playing Bangladesh, Hong Kong and so on. Bring on the big guns must have been the clarion call after the many lop-sided matches in the Asia Cup and big guns it will be — facing off in what promises to be a thriller.
When I say thriller I wouldn't want to convey the impression that there are going to huge scores made and chased down. From what I gathered way back in 1998 when I visited Holland as the coach of an India A side, the wickets in Holland are more seamer friendly than in England. Of course, six years is a long time and this being a one-day tournament, there is bound to have been an attempt to make the pitches batting friendly.
But you cannot change the weather as such; so damp conditions are what I am predicting.
The one thing I wouldn't want to predict at this stage though is the outcome of the tournament. No, this has nothing to do with my calling India the favourites in the Asia Cup only for them to fall flat when it mattered. Rather it is a question of being wise before the event.
None of the teams figuring in the Holland bash are good at playing the moving ball, with even the famed batting might of both Australia and India being somewhat suspect in such conditions, and so it will all boil down to who adapts better.
Also all three teams possess good seam attacks and the world's leading batsmen from the three sides will have their work cut out.
The teams, though, will enjoy the settings. The ground at Amstelveen is a sight for sore eyes and although it might to feel strange to actually be playing cricket in Holland, instead of say watching a Marco Van Basten and Dennis Bergkamp run amok on a football field, such tournaments are here to stay.
Taking cricket and its stars around the world is the new mantra and the success of the game in places such as Sharjah must have helped.
Of course, wherever the game goes, the success depends basically on one team these days.
We may be struggling at the Olympics but when it comes to cricket, without India being around, such 'offshore' venues, can never take off.
Credit is due here to the Indian cricket board for having taken Indian cricket to such a high.
For the Indian team itself, this is one great chance to get back on track after a poor start to the season.
The key for them here lies in not becoming overcautious when they face adversity. Let's hope they have realised this fact by now. (XSports Bangalore)