ICC World Cup: When amount dilutes high quality

Let’s face it – cricket stays a colonial sport competitively performed in solely a dozen nations around the globe.

Whereas looking a number one cricket web site, an advert for cricket jerseys caught my consideration. The jerseys on sale had been replicas of the 1992 World Cup ones that the 9 competing groups wore.

The promotional scheme was very aptly captioned,

“The enduring cricket jerseys of the 1992 World Cup”

As an overzealous follower of Pakistani cricket, I’ve completely zero points with the jerseys being labelled iconic. In any case, this was our World Cup.

The 2015 World Cup, just like the 1992 one, is to be performed on the unforgiving cricket wickets in Australia and their neighbour, New Zealand.

Cricket has come a great distance because the 1992 version; first World Cup to be performed with white balls, colored clothes and below floodlights.

However no event has ever been extra aggressive, since all 9 groups performed one another in a spherical robin format, prime 4 progressing to the semi-finals.

Picture: Afp

The next version staged within the subcontinent in 1996 noticed the quarter-finals launched for the primary time. The event had 12 groups divided in two teams, with the highest 4 from every progressing to the knock-out spherical.

Expectedly, the eight frontline Take a look at taking part in nations (Australia, England, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and the West Indies) reached the second spherical.

The format was rightly criticised from all quarters, because the event, regardless of business viability as a result of ardour for the sport within the area, didn’t ignite sparks on the sphere.

Solely seven video games, first quarter-final onwards, had any actual that means. The 4 minnows, Zimbabwe, UAE, Kenya and the Netherlands, regardless of the odd upset within the group stage, had no probability in hell to succeed in the make or break knockout stage.

Venkatesh Prasad celebrates after bowling Aamer Sohail, India v Pakistan, World Cup quarter-final, March 1996 Picture: ESPNcricinfo

The Worldwide Cricket Council (ICC) shunned away the quarters within the 1999, 2003 and 2007 editions. The 1999 and 2003 editions had been as soon as once more aggressive with a super-six spherical, making each the group stage and the second spherical significant.

World Cup, 2003. Picture: ESPNcricinfo

However, the drab that the 2007 World Cup was (involving 16 groups and that includes a super-eights second spherical) modified issues for the more serious once more!

The event confronted a significant blow with-in the primary week, when India and Pakistan had been despatched packing on the identical fateful day— March 17.

The occasion lingered on for an eternity with out India, essentially the most commercially viable cricket nation. Pakistan was additionally an enormous draw card and, apart from their sensational crash towards Eire, supplied little on area motion. The exit of the 2 groups meant an enormous monetary loss for each the advertisers and the organisers (West Indies Cricket Board).

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The panic button was pushed as soon as the ICC realised that there was no means they may afford to lose the massive cricketing powers within the opening rounds of a World Cup anymore.

Let’s face that, regardless of efforts of the governing physique, cricket stays a colonial sport that’s competitively performed in solely a dozen nations around the globe.

Whereas the ICC prides in calling the most important One Day Worldwide (ODI) event the ‘World Cup’, the very fact of the matter is that the premier occasion doesn’t come anyway near round-the-globe-excitement and curiosity, as generated by the FIFA World Cup (competed by 32 groups since 1998).

The FIFA occasion has maintained a normal format since 1998 and, whereas it won’t be the right one, the format usually gives top quality, aggressive soccer all through the 64 matches.

Even nations which have by no means certified for the distinguished event have an enormous fan base and keenly comply with the fascinating and enthralling carnival; endorsing the occasion’s billing as essentially the most watched sporting spectacle on the earth.

Returning to the ICC predicament, the failure of the 2007 event confused the authorities as soon as once more. After mulling for due course, the least aggressive however ‘massive group’ pleasant quarter-final format was reintroduced because the event as soon as once more discovered the subcontinent, its residence in 2011. Regardless of some thrilling cricket and some upsets, the predictable line-up of the main nations, the precise eight groups that featured within the 1996 quarters, progressed to the final eight as soon as once more.

Three and half years on the cricket world is bracing for an additional version of their most coveted prize.

The groups are spending their energies on fastidiously piecing collectively a successful system; the itineraries of the ten Take a look at taking part in nations are stuffed with ODI matches within the lead-up to the event.

Meticulous planning apart the contributors are effectively conscious that 2015 is as soon as once more a ‘massive group’ pleasant version. The identical line-up of 1996 and 2011 is a robust favorite to form the quarter-finals line-up. Even with some sporadic moments of brilliance and the odd upsets, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are set to seek out the harder circumstances in Australia and New Zealand overbearing.

Eire stands the very best probability among the many minnows to progress by to the final eight, however solely an abjectly poor run, by one of many prime eight or a divine intervention, throughout the group stage can lead to any of the smaller six groups together with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe progressing by to the knockout stage.

England could be in depressing kind towards India, Pakistan may need been thrashed by Sri Lanka, Australia humiliated by Zimbabwe, however none of this could matter a lot throughout the 42 World Cup group matches throughout the 14 venues.

The precise or the ‘actual motion’ will solely begin when the quarters start; inside every week the occasion will flash previous our eyes. And the group that wins three matches on the trot, just like the Sri Lankans did in 1996 and India did in 2011, will raise the not-so-impressive trying World Cup trophy.

Picture: Reuters

In actuality, the true World Cup would solely function seven video games; the primary 42 video games just like the 2011 version present solely an prolonged and unnecessary rehearsal for the principle act. The 2019 version, to be staged in England, is anticipated to function 10 groups with eight prime ranked ones joined by two groups successful berths after a qualifying spherical.

Fortunately, the brand new format tweak is a step in the proper path. For now although, let’s brace ourselves for some tedious and drab cricket outdoors the February 14 conflict between the Asian gladiators defending champions India and Pakistan.

And if a group apart from the eight main Take a look at nations line-up for the 2015 final eight spherical, I’ll proceed to eat humble pie.

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