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The
World Mens Teams: Pool C Preview

Pool
A
   Pool
B
    Pool
C
    Pool
D
    Pool
E
     Pool
F

December
8,
2005: by Team Kneipp (kah-nipe)         

The 20th
Mens Teams

Pool C: [3] France, [10] India, [13/18] Ireland

All
of the pools aren’t one-sided, but like Pools A and B, this
is. If France drop a game in the pool stage it’ll only be because
they’re cruising in second gear to save energy for when the real
work begins.

France
doesn’t have the depth that England, Egypt or Australia
have, with a big gap between the third ranked player and the reserve.
As long as they are clever with how they rotate the players to rest them,
this won’t matter. On paper there’s very little difference
between the team of 2003 in Vienna and their Pakistan participants. Lincou
was ranked five (now 1), Gauliter was 13 (now 12), Lavigne was 25 (now
29) and Arcucci was 50 (now 53). The biggest difference is time and experience.
Lincou hadn’t won a world championship or been ranked #1 and Gaultier
has come a long way in that time. A lot of players will be interested
in seeing how he performs (read behaves) at this event.

France
have competed in this competition 11 times, with their unexpected second
place in Vienna being an appropriate reflection of how the team has
consistently improved over the past four events (11, 7, 5, 2). There’s
only one place left to go if they want to keep improving. Like in Vienna,
France’s result should hinge on how well Lincou and Gaultier perform.

Lavigne
can produce some great squash, but he has only had a couple of victories
over players in the top 20 in the past few years, and certainly not
over Peter Nicol, the player he’ll probably have to beat if
they are to get past top seeds England for the title.

The
unknown factor in this pool is how India and Ireland face off for the
second place. On the first day Ireland play France. On the second day
India play France. And on the third day the tournament begins for both
countries with Ireland playing India for second place in the pool.
Ireland go into the tournament with an advantage over India already
– one day’s rest before the crucial encounter. I have no idea why
it can’t be organized so that Ireland plays India on day one. If
I were the coach of either team I would be presenting that question at
the tournament desk straight after my plane hit Pakistani soil.

Ireland is without Derek Ryan or John Rooney and has a young team. They
finished twelfth in Vienna, which is consistent with how the team usually
does. They are going to have to perform well to finish twelfth this year.

India was one of the six teams to play in the first World Team Championships
in 1967, but this year are competing for only the second time in twenty-five
years. They are led by Ritwik Bhattacharya, ranked 59 and have current
British U19 champion Saurav Ghosal, ranked 65 at #2. Ghosal is ranked
about 80 places higher than his Irish opponent, so if Kenny can stop
Bhattacharya this whole encounter may come down to the #3s.

France
won’t drop a game in the pools and my money
would be on India finishing second.

France
Thierry Lincou 1
Gregory Gaultier 12
Renan Lavigne 29
Jean-Michel Arcucci 53

5, 13, 25, 50

India
Ritwik Bhattacharya
Saurav Ghosal
Siddharth Suchide
Gaurav Nandrajog

Ireland
Liam Kenny
Arthur Gaskin
Neal Murphy
Brian Byrne

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