World Cup Predictor: 10 of 10

February 13, 2015

Here are our last two all-stars for the World Cup Predictor. Big things are expected of the host nation and look what one of there own has to say about them.

Aiden Blizzard

Aiden Blizzard moved to South Australia in 2010 in what was effectively a swap for another left-hander. Blizzard played his first full season of first-class matches and made the most runs among the Redbacks. At his best as free-swinging as David Warner, Blizzard played out the summer in fits and starts and will want to be a little more consistent in 2011-12. Blizzard first made himself the centre of attention on January 1, 2007. In his Twenty20 debut, Blizzard thumped 89 from 38 balls – his half-century took 23 deliveries – as he cleared the Adelaide Oval ropes eight times. There was no fluke about his innings, which featured some of the hardest, cleanest hitting one could hope to see from a rookie-contracted player. He was bought by the Mumbai Indians for $20,000 in the player auction ahead of the 2011 IPL and was named in their Champions League T20 squad as well. One of the most nomadic cricketers on the Australian domestic scene he has appeared for three of the six states and two Big Bash teams, currently playing for the Sydney Thunder in last BBL. The left-handed batsman has not been phased by the moves though, dominating all tiers of the domestics competition without breaking into the national team. Blizzard – renowned for his big hitting – has a strong Twenty20 record too, with more than 1000 runs at a strike rate of 138.

World Cup Prediction: Australia – they are in a rare vein of form across all facets of the game at the moment. Smith and Warner will be key with the bat while Mitch Johnson will be Australia go to man with the ball. Biggest weakness or threat is the lacking of a world class spin department.

Interests outside cricket: Keen dog walker!

Michael Richardson

With a proud cricketing heritage in his family, it is hardly surprising that Michael Richardson chose to pursue a career in sport. A wicketkeeper-batsman like his father Dave – the former South Africa gloveman who became chief executive of the ICC in 2012 — Richardson took the initial step from university to professional cricketer when he became an MCC Young Cricketer in 2008. The move to Lord’s was a successful one, and in his second season he was named captain of the Young Cricketers. Towards the end of the season he signed a professional contract with Durham and was one of their leading batsmen in the 2010 Second Eleven Championship, scoring 562 runs at 70.25. First XI appearances followed in 2011, and he made the most of Phil Mustard’s absence to kick off the season with a pair of half-centuries on his Championship debut that helped set up a 146-run win over Yorkshire in April. Richardson batted down the Durham order in 2013 and when he made his maiden Championship hundred in Durham’s defeat of Yorkshire at Scarborough, a result that tipped the title in their direction. He had claims to being the best No. 8 in the country. Born in Port Elizabeth, Richardson has maintained his ties with South Africa and spends his winters playing club cricket in the Western Cape. Although this winter Richo has found himself – in his words trying to get a tan – in Sri Lanka playing for Colombo Cricket Club. This is just a testament to his laid back personality but in truth he is a very hard working young man. There is a lot more to come from him in the coming years.

World Cup Prediction: I’m like bet victor with predictions…awful but here goes. SA vs Aus final. England’s bowling to cause a lot of trouble with Finn and Anderson firing, although they might regret not picking Stokes in the batting order. Hopefully Sri Lanka do well to give the 2 legends, Mahela and Sanga a send off, India and Windies just too out of form surely to produce. Semi- finals will be SA vs Eng, Aus vs Sri Lanka. (Obviously to passionate about his beloved SA to make a judgement on the winner!)

Most embarrassing moment: Not knowing you need a visa to enter India! Then being sent back to Dubai, where he had to attempt breaking into his own house to arrange it all and to be fair to him getting there in 2 days was impressive.

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