Excitement rises with World Cup set to begin in US
by Rex Clementine
There have been many attempts by the International Cricket Council to take cricket to the United States but with little success. This time staging of the T-20 World Cup in the US is expected to end the deadlock. While authorities have noticed the immense potential cricket has in the US due to the eyeballs that watch the games on television thanks to the large south Asian population,  there’s massive commercial potential as well. The only thing now that needs to be done is to get the locals play the game. This hopefully will be a small step forward in a promising road ahead.
A total of 20 teams will compete in the month long competition with three US venues hosting games – New York, Dallas and Florida while six West Indies grounds are chosen for the competition. The two semi-finals will be worked off at Guyana and Trinidad followed by the grand final in Barbados.
England are the defending champions having won the title in 2022 in Australia beating Pakistan in a closely fought final. Their white ball side has suffered some setbacks since then but they will be keen to prove a point.
New Zealand have been very consistent in ICC events in recent years but they have had little luck going their way in knockout games or finals. They’ve got all bases covered and will be a team to watch during the tournament.
India are coming into the competition under tremendous pressure having not won an ICC event since 2011. When they hosted the 50 over World Cup last year, they cruised through to the finals without losing a game but in the final they stumbled breaking the hearts of one billion fans. Winning ten games in a row in the tournament but failing in the big one was a bitter pill to swallow. They have backed a few ageing players to deliver the goods and no team can boast of the experience that India has.  
Pakistan have been unpredictable always and you never know what they will offer. Their bowling looks formidable but their batting remains fragile while fielding could hurt them.
Australia have made some bold decisions. Pat Cummins would be a welcome leader for any team in the world but the Aussies have opted for Mitchell Marsh as their new captain for the T-20 side. Similarly, Steve Smith could walk into any side but Australia have left him out. It will be interesting to see how they go in the tournament.
Several South African players have had brilliant stints in the IPL this season. They surely will replicate that form during the World Cup but it is those crunch moments that they fail miserably choking not able to handle the pressure.
Temas like Sri Lanka and West Indies were once a strong force in world cricket but they do not have the same impact anymore. A semi-final slot will be a bonus for either team.
With the tournament increased to 20 teams, there’s a chance to accommodate several new teams and it remains to be seen how sides like Uganda and Papua New Guinea will fare.