International Cricket: West Indies can build on T20 World Cup success

Can the West Indies build on their T20 World Cup success?

Frank Gregan reviews the T20 World Cup and tells us who under-performed and who we should be looking to back for next year's ICC Champions Trophy...

"The market for the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy is up and open for business. It's at this stage that real value can be had, ask for double digits odds against the West Indies and you'll almost certainly get them."

Major sporting tournaments are like rounds of golf, unless you conquer all you always believe that you've left something out on the course. Every one of the Big Eight would have believed before the start of the T20 World Cup that they could win the trophy, seven of them have been disappointed, the West Indies being the exception having exceeded expectations in becoming the new World Champions.

The other seven nations that make up the Big Eight will be reflecting upon what might have been. One of the most oft used clichés in dressing rooms in just about every sport is the chanting of the mantra "no regrets" just before the players leave to take the field. Everybody bar the West Indies has regrets today but some are much more justified than others.

So what's the unofficial verdict on the tournament? Who surpassed expectations and who wilted like spinach in the pan when it became squeaky bottom time? England's demise has been well documented; they played four matches against Test playing nations and could win only one, they thoroughly deserved their early exit but they weren't the only side to embarrass their supporters.

In reverse order starting with the nation that inflicted the least pain on its fans during the ICC World T20 we have the West Indies who despite being the second least fancied of the Big Eight won the trophy and put some pride back into Caribbean cricket. In second spot were the Australians who headed into the tournament beneath Ireland in the rankings in number nine spot but showed the world that the rankings are a mockery. Had they not come up against a rampant West Indian side in the semis they probably would have gone on to win.

In third place it's Pakistan who despite falling in the semis finished ahead of India and that's usually more than enough for their supporters. Fourth spot goes to the hosts Sri Lanka who despite finishing as runners up didn't do enough to sate their supporters appetite, only victory would have done that. Fifth spot goes to New Zealand who just about fulfilled their potential with Super Eight qualification.

And now we come to the three flunkies: There's no doubt that England under-performed but the two countries that are probably looking back on their tournament and hanging their heads in shame are two of the biggest guns in the game - India and South Africa. Both failed to make the semi-finals and in India's case, they disappointed millions of cricket-mad supporters.

The biggest enigma is South Africa, a side dripping with talent but who invariably choke more than the the Boston strangler and are bigger bottlers than Coca Cola.

Entering the Super Eight stage South Africa headed the market which must have been much to the delight of the layers who could see another disaster waiting to happen. The travesty is that it looks as though the greatest all rounder of his generation, Jacques Kallis, is likely to end his career without an ICC title to his name. Most cricketing folk would have been happy to see the Proteas triumph just so Kallis got a proper reward from a world event.

So there we have it, England get the number six spot, the third biggest underachievers of the tournament with India being the second most embarrassing and the South Africans topping the charts with yet another choke at an ICC event.

The one thing about cricket is that it's perpetual, there's seldom time for reflection as the circus moves onto the next event. The market for the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy is up and open for business. It's at this stage that real value can be had, ask for double digits odds against the West Indies and you'll almost certainly get them. If the men from the Caribbean kick on from here that could be a very sound investment.

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