In part 2 this new 7 part series previewing the World Cup, Australian Matt Wood (Balanced Sports), Indian Subash Jayaraman (The Cricket Couch) and myself the Englishman move on to ponder who will be the leading run-scorer of the tournament.
Part 2: Who will be the Leading Run-Scorer in the 2011 Cricket World Cup?
In order to be the leading runscorer, a batsman must have three things going for him: a top of the order role, a successful team giving them plenty of opportunities to score and the ability to read and respond to flat subcontinental pitches. So of all the obvious candidates, that eliminates Chris Gayle. Other than that, all the usual suspects have form at being able to master lower-tempo pitches: Gambhir, Amla, Watson, the Little Master, Sangakkara and Dilshan. Dilshan’s form has been consistently excellent over the past two years so has a strong chance to carrying off top honours, while both Gambhir and his opening partner Sehwag will score heaps. Gambhir’s more circumspect and as such, probably more liable to convert his runs into big, big scores. Man-crush and all, you can bet your bottom dollar that Dave’s going to opt for one of the top two, Amla, so I’m happy to plump for another Sri Lankan: their maestro captain Kumar Sangakkara. Had he been born in any other country he’d probably receive his just due: possibly the second-best keeper/batsman ever to play the game.
WC Leading Run-Scorer Prediction: Kumar Sangakkara
The requirements to be a top run getter needs those of the top wicket takers (deep run, weak opposition) and in addition, someone batting at the top of the order. That puts the following on my radar: Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting, Tillekaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Hashim Amla, Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Kevin Pietersen, Mohammed Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Chris Gayle, Tamim Iqbal and well of course, Sachin Tendulkar. Of these, only Sachin Tendulkar has actually accomplished the task of being the top run getter in a tournament. Twice (1996 and 2003). Sehwag, Dilshan, Tharanga, Ryder, Hafeez, Iqbal and Shehzad are very good, aggressive and explosive batsmen and can single-handedly take the game away from the opposition, but I do not think are as consistent as is required to be top run getters. That leaves us with the usual suspects. Since I already picked Muralitharan based on the “swan song” theme, let me pick Tendulkar as the top run getter as this surely is the last time he will be playing ODIs for India. Plus, there is an oddity that caught my eye. He is the top run getter every other tournament. Since he wasn’t the highest run maker in 2007, surely 2011 sets up for him.
WC Leading Run-Scorer Prediction: Sachin Tendulkar
One billion people in the subcontinent and probably even more elsewhere are hoping for a fairytale World Cup for the “little master” Sachin Tendulkar, the most complete one day batsmen of all time. Sachin could easily hit 3 centuries in the tournament bringing up his 100 hundreds in all formats of cricket and guide India to a famous World Cup victory. You couldn’t write the script any better. You can’t help but feel that it is even likely when you consider the Bradmanesque twilight years of his career. But another candidate likely to pile on the runs in the sub-continent is a South African in a similar rich vein of form by the name of Hashim Amla. Averaging 60 in ODIs at a strike rate of 93 and the ability to bat right through the inning (as a conversion rate of 7 hundreds and 12 fifties testifies), he can only be described as a run machine. From the turn of 2010 to the present day he’s scored 1300 runs at an average of 72 and recorded 6 centuries.
Other notable candidates can be found and are scattered throughout the meaty middle orders of India, South Africa and Sri Lanka along with the likes of in form Jonathan Trott and Shane Watson. You also have a feeling that KP decides to show up when something is actually at stake. But Hashim Amla is the one to watch in these stakes for me.
WC Leading Run-Scorer Prediction: Hashim Amla
Who Do YOU Think Will Score The Most Runs?
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