Observers by definition are cricket fanatics who may have allegiance to a certain country, but recognize the talents of their opposing sides in World Cricket, through defeat or victory.

Firstly, I would like to start off by thanking everyone who e mailed us through to join our mailing list. In turn, our new observers will also be given right of reply in our monthly editions.

Last months issue revolved around commentators and their lack of objectivity. I am pleased to say that SuperSport and the SABC have not invited Ian Chappel to call the South African Matches. The footage I have caught on Super Sport has been really pleasing, the commentators have shown excellent knowledge of the game and have punted each team on equal footing. Drop catches have not been over analyzed, and each player has been recognized for their own individual talents. So, to Mike Haysman, “Pommy” Mbangwa, Darryl Cullingan and Tony Gregg, well done! We enjoy the game with you guys around.

A lot of emphasis has been placed on the amount of cricket being played world wide at the moment. England is a prime example. Potentially a great team, but now injury struck. Being a massive Michael Vaughn fan myself, I was upset to learn that he would miss yet another test series. Combined with Treskothick and Simon Jones out of the team, one has to feel as though this result would hardly be a true reflection of the English team which played and beat Australia last summer.
Australia seems to be faced with a similar problem, as was South Africa during their tour Down Under. Surely the ICC needs to take notice of the fact. It is in cricket’s best interest for each team to field their strongest team.
The second ashes test last year will not only be remembered for the Flintoff / Lee handshake, but for being the test that Glen McGrath sat out of.
Why are 5 match ODI series being contested when three will be less strenuous on players? Why is it that last year’s ashes series were concluded in a matter of two months? Why am I not the first person to bring this issue to book?

Sri Lanka is having a field day in Bangladesh at the moment, although Bangladesh is proving to be a fair bit of competition after their recent ODI victories over Australia and Sri Lanka. World cricket seems to have completed its ten year cycle where on the day, any team can win. We are beginning to see a bit of inconsistency creep into the Australian line up, New Zealand is once again on the rise, and its even stevens when calling a match between India and South Africa. It would be interesting to find out how many tests have been contested between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, compared to a Bangladesh / Australia series, or a Bangladesh / West Indies series. Murulitheran will not want to be remembered as the fellow who came second to Shane Warne, but even more so as the fellow who took most of his test wickets against a once weak Bangladesh team…

New Zealand has to be the most underrated ODI team in the world at the moment. In fact, I went last week to my bookmaker to place a bet on the 2007 World Cup. I got odds of 35 / 1 for a New Zealand win. It’s a country which does not have an ego about themselves, to not try to produce international superstars, but get down to business and play cricket. Daniel Vetori will never be mentioned in the same league as Shane Warne (few bowlers ever will), but how effective is he!? Shane Bond is coming into himself, and how can New Zealand be missing Chris Cairnes when they have Nathan Astle and Stephen Flemming in their fire power? I find their brand of cricket fascinating. Whilst other teams are trying to blow their opposition away with quick bowlers, New Zealand have discovered that less is often more. With players like Jetan Patel, Nathan Astle and Daniel Vetori bowling, teams will have to do well to score at anything over four an over. An early prediction: forget Australia, New Zealand will win the 2007 World Cup.

Predictions for the next month: South Africa upset Australia 3-2 in ODI series but Ponting leads a fight back in the test series, India beat a depleted but defiant English team, Sri Lanka convincingly beat Bangladesh, New Zealand make light work of the West Indies in the Test Matches and Kenya to prove their competitiveness in World Cricket by squeezing a victory over Zimbabwe.

For information on how to join Cricket Observers, you can e mail cricketobservers@hotmail.com You will be able to air us your views on the issues on this article, and responses will be included in the April edition on this forum.