How the narratives have changed from World Cup to World Cup

Looking at what has changed for some of the major teams.

At the end of the last World Cup, I did a power ranking on the teams. I had India at five, ahead of South Africa. People were upset. Indians were upset that I was not slagging their team off more. Non-Indians were upset and accused me of sucking up to India.

But I was looking at the players and set-up of the team, and although they had been poor, there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the team itself. I also said Australia got lucky, and that may not happen again.

Look at what we have seen one year later. The Australian top order had a poor World Cup and their seamers never got going, either.

The Australian team should be even stronger this time. But really the main difference was they didn't play as well.

They lost the same number of games in the first round as they did last time. So what was the big difference? The washout against England meant they had fewer points. Now, they might have lost that, who knows? Looking at how England handled the MCG pitch, Australia certainly had a good chance.

The weird thing is they seem as bad now as they looked good last time. The difference is rain and form mostly. Mitchell Starc went for 10,000 runs in the last World Cup final, but Australia could cover him. This time they could not, and he had to be dropped.

No one wants to hear that after a tournament. They want to hear the victorious team was great and the teams that struggled were awful. But there wasn't much between India and Australia last World Cup, and probably not in this one either.

But even more interesting, I would say that India were a better team last World Cup.

Let's look at the best Xis from each edition.

I find it hard to believe that the team from the last tournament is not better than this one. The top six is basically the same. Hardik has changed batting personalities, and we've had more DK. But all in all. It's pretty similar to last time.

Even if Axar Patel had been in good form, he is clearly not Sir Ravi. And his batting doesn't have the impact of the Ravi, and I don't think he's quite as clever a bowler, though he has slightly different strengths.

Ashwin played three matches last time. Varun played as the other spinner, and is nearly impossible to score off him in the UAE. He has been replaced by Arshdeep, who has been fantastic. That's about a wash.

Bhuvi was there last time, but it was a weird semi-fit out-of-touch Bhuvi, but who is he replacing in this attacking, Jasprit Bumrah. I can love Bhuvi all I want as a player, even in form top for he is not Bumrah.

And Shami is still Shami, though obviously more favoured to these conditions.

Now what it might be as a more in form team. And those things really matter. Kohli made 68 runs from 68 balls last tournament. So that is a big bonus. But the team is actually weaker than before. And I am focusing on India because the reactions to losing last time were so extreme.

But you can look at other teams as well. New Zealand is a very similar team to last time. Their biggest change is Finn Allen for Nuptial, which based on age curve and strike rate would seem to be an update.

Also Glenn Phillips has clearly had a development spurt. But their results are also fairly similar.

Pakistan is interesting as they have had a slight regression regarding talent. But other things have worked out better of them. Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez is a pretty big trio not to bring in the space of ayear. Plus Fakhar Zaman got injured mid-way through.

On paper Iftikhar is not a replacement, but this current model is doing the Hafeez job. Shadab faced a single ball in that previous tournament, so his usage has changed. They've used less spin and more seam. But their spin was good last time and their seam has been quality here.

Their big problem has been form. The two openers haven't made any runs, and that cost them the Zimbabwe game.

But last time they were 5-0, and everyone was buzzing on them. This time the form at the top and those two back-to-back losses have changed how we feel about them.

England is something else entirely of course. they weren't whole last time and are on their way to the same kind of thing. They lost five players before or during the last campaign. And have lost another four - depending on Malan - this time.

But the entire thing is different. Last time Eoin Morgan was scratching around on his way to retirement. Jason Roy was an opener and Bairstow was their middle-order guy. In the bowling they had Chris Jordan and Tymal Mills.

That has all changed this time. Hales, Brook and Stokes are batting, Stokes is bowling too. Curran has replaced Mills as a death bowler, which on paper should not work, and yet it has completely. Stokes gives them more flexibility than Morgan. Hales and Roy is fairly like for like. Brook for Bairstow is not an upgrade, but clearly Brook can play.

They are hard to get a grip on, just because of all the injuries, and everything else.

This is all an interesting situation because it is only a year on. And while there are problems with having a World Cup every 12 months, it does allow us to realise we probably overreacted to the last tournament. And we are probably doing the same in this one.

This is how the teams have gone across the two world cups so far.

This gives a much better understating of who is bad or good.

Australia have gone none and two, losing one game in each tournament. New Zealand and Pakistan are eight and three. That tie is about to be split.

England and India are tried at seven and three, and again, that is about to be split. And then you have South Africa on six and three, and a game to Sri Lanka on nine and seven (which remember in the group games alone is 4 and 6). We have six top-quality teams, Sri Lanka, and then the rest.

So to win a World Cup, you need help from injuries, form, results, matchups and tosses. There is no all-dominant team. Also, as I type this, no team has played more than 11 games (outside of Sri Lanka) most have played 10. That is two-thirds of an IPL season, or one completed season of many other leagues. And yet it is two World Cups.

So currently Australia are being told they are Australian, and South Africa are chokers now (and were unlucky previously). India and Pakistan were the chokers last time. But if this was a league, Australia would be favourite to come top of the group. But all those other five teams have a chance of making the finals.

World Cups aren't leagues; they are wilder. We usually take the most extreme views possible based on little more than results - we barely even talk about the games themselves. If nothing else, having two World Cups back to back has shown how silly most of that is.