This World Cup is all about a truckload of teams coming into it with consistently inconsistent performances. People who know their cricket have seldom had opinions so widely varying yet so perfectly logical. And on so many teams.
Consider this observation on Pakistan from no less a person than the Zimbabwe skipper:
Utseya told reporters in Jamaica. "With the West Indies and Pakistan, they are not consistent, so if we can capitalise on that we could do well."
Agreed to that? Now read this Kamran Abbasi cricinfo blogpost on the same team. It screams:
Once again you find most contents in it reasonable. Even by Pakistan cricket standards those views are too high on contrast. And Pakistan are not alone this time. You name West Indies, India, New Zealand, England, South Africa and Sri Lanka and you are talking about possible semi finalists. And Group league stumbers, perhaps...
Even Australia (and they would certainly cross the group stage) are not going to exactly shock the cricketing world if they fail to make the semis this year. That - let me say it once even if you've read it a hundred times or I'll burst - is the oddity and the beauty of the campaign that is about to start in a couple of minutes.
In the very recent past all these teams have had a few spectacular performances to show with disheartening setbacks. Isn't it quite fitting that the World Cup starts with a match between the two teams with highest standard deviation figures?
On an unrelated note, players (along with media) these days make too much demands on their captains' dressing room habits these days. In my opinion any player who complains that his captain can handle him a lot better should read this remarkable article on leadership in cricket and a bit of its Indian history.
Get set, Gooooooo - Pakistan won the toss and opted to bowl! ['Field' is hardly the right word for the team or its skipper...]
Update: Cricinfo commentary team is already off to a flier. Here's a gem:
"Percy Sonn, the ICC's president, has presented the original trophy to Clive Lloyd. Sonn didn't drop the trophy - or anything else come to that - which means he is already having a better tournament than he did in 2003."
"...today we have the hosts, West Indies, against Pakistan, a side whose preparations could not have been worse had they tried."
My word, no one's going to blame them of inconsistency with such display of form. It's amazing how such little pearls can make the real thing infinitely more enjoyable.....