Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe is confident that a new champion will be crowned in this year’s mega event and expects South Africa and New Zealand to fight for the title on March 29th at Melbourne.
A statement in his exclusive column for ESPNcricinfo read:
“So I’m picking a new champion to be crowned. My heart says the Black Caps, my head suggests the Proteas.”
Crowe, a veteran of 77 Tests and 143 ODIs, discussed about both teams in his column and said that both teams have players who can change the game in the blink of an eye.
Here is what Crowe expressed about both South Africa and New Zealand, team as a whole.
On South Africa:
South Africa have Hashim Amla, a modern-day great player with a beautiful attitude to the game. He’s the sort of guy you want to see succeed, oozing class from beard to toe. Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy and David Miller are outstanding lieutenants with the bat. And who can go past the skill, experience and balance of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir? It’s an impressive line-up. The only question remaining is the actual execution of managing the pressure moments. I don’t see de Villiers gasping for air this time around, for he has shown often lately that he completes all transactions on the field. His new-found maturity will rub off, and that’s why I rate them as favourites to go to Melbourne.
On New Zealand:
The 15 players selected all have specific roles, all have form and all are ready now. McCullum and Martin Guptill will open the batting. They have done so before in the previous World Cup and they are a perfect foil for each other. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor need little introduction: they are world-class and they are highly motivated. Timing is everything – one is going through his first major peak, the latter is in the prime phase of his career. The No. 5 slot, with McCullum going up, will appear to be a face-off between Grant Elliott, a fine journeyman, and Tom Latham, a fine rookie. Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi complete the batting expertise at six and seven, or vice versa.
In bowling, Tim Southee has been building a reputation for a while now and will lead the attack with movement and accuracy. Trent Boult and Kyle Mills the same, yet with different release points. Mitchell McClenaghan and Adam Milne provide raw pace and aggression – speed being a necessary inclusion in each match. Nathan McCullum and Daniel Vettori will rotate the spin berth, while also playing a vital role at eight in the batting order.
Along with Brendon McCullum, de Villiers is timing his run immaculately. These two leaders are the men I would love to see at the toss in Melbourne come March 29, if the draw will allow it.