World Cup Fantasy Guru: Low profile week beckons
The very sight of Mitchell McClenaghan still being in my team is a painful thing to watch, I admit. While I understand Brendon McCullum’s logic behind opting for Adam Milne over McClenaghan, such movies don’t really hold well for us fantasy cricket team managers. Leaving the fantasy perspective aside, as someone who is an avid watcher of the game, I can only hope that cricket gets to see more such international captains.
Not many can drop the bowler who is the second fastest to 50 wickets and is still very much on a roll, but when you have someone who can clock 145 kph regularly and will make a better bowling attack in combination with Trent Boult and Tim Southee, you have to take the tough decision. I should have seen this coming when they dropped Matt Henry for Boult in the squad, though.
Exciting times for New Zealand cricket.
The next four matches – West Indies v Ireland, New Zealand v Scotland, Bangladesh v Afghanistan, Zimbabwe v United Arab Emirates – all happen to be low profile ones. I will cover the first three matches in this article.
Banking on lesser known teams (read: associates) so early on in the tournament is not something that I would advise. You never know what they have on offer, and it is next to impossible to narrow down on a player who will give you appreciable returns.
The Chris Gayle gamble
Transfers made – 1; transfers remaining – 38
Rohit Sharma out - Chris Gayle in
Given their recent performances, you are quite confused as to how you would categorise West Indies. That their best batsman Lendl Simmons, based on form, has been asked to bat at No.6 reflects the kind of mess they are in. That he bats so low rules him out from being considered for my fantasy team too.
Chris Gayle has been in dreadful form of late, averaging 19, 22 and 14 in ODIs in the last 3 years. His last 6 scores in one-day cricket reads as follows (latest first): 1, 0, 0, 10,1, and 19. Yet the Jamaican big hitter will be the only player who will find a spot in my team for this match. It is a low-risk gamble, and we can afford it, as we in the early stages of the tournament. There a couple of reasons why I believe it could work out:
1. True, he is only a shadow of a player he once was. But Gayle’s struggles are more due to the quality of the bowling attacks he has faced in the past. In the absence of ‘big’ Boyd Rankin and Trent Johnston, Ireland’s current bowling attack is a far cry from the ones that managed to consistently surprise teams in the biggest stage.
2. New Zealand grounds aren’t the biggest, and Gayle could treat this as a T20 match and easily cash in on it.
The likes of Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels don’t really have a great case for selection. So, when I gamble, I gamble big. Quite obviously, he will be my Powerplayer too. Odds on the first 200 in World Cup cricket history? Greedy me!
New Zealand v Scotland
Transfers made – 1; transfers remaining – 37
Mitchell McClenaghan out – Trent Boult in
For reasons mentioned above, no Scotland players will make it into my side. Applying the same logic as I did with Gayle, I am tempted to bring in McCullum, but that he has his next match against England and could be sorted out with the new ball threat the English bowlers possess. In addition to it, I already have 2 Kiwi batsmen in Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor.
Bangladesh v Afghanistan
Transfers made – 1; transfers remaining – 36
Chris gayle out – Shakib Al Hasan in
Bangladesh have decent batting talents in Anamul Haque and Mominul Haque, but I don't see them doing well in these conditions against potent new ball bowlers, which rules them out. That Shakib Al Hasan is the Tigers’ best batsman and bowls his full quota of overs makes him an easy choice. The spinning all-rounder will be my only pick from the two teams and will be the Powerplayer as well.
There will be plenty of wickets in the fixture, but good luck finding who will pick the most.