Finally, after 47 days of predominantly dour cricket – and one overwhelming horror – this World Cup has come to a suitably anti-climactic end. To call it tedious, and bereft of any semblance of Caribbean flavour would be an understatement. It was a lifeless tournament that left its hosts feeling totally detached; only in the last few games were exorbitant ticket prices reduced to levels of normality.
In the words of Michael Vaughan and the whole of Team England, we must try and “take the positives”. I praised the format prior to the tournament, thinking of the initial group stages as ‘pre-qualifiers’ and the Super Eight competition as the main bulk of the tournament (the ‘Super Nine’ format of 1992 is widely regarded as the best format yet).
However, the progress of Ireland and Bangladesh rather threw away the idea of the elite eight nations each playing the other once. Bangladesh’s win against South Africa and Ireland’s triumph against the Tigers excepted, all their Super Eight games were predictable in the extreme. Meanwhile, the ICC cannot be blamed for the West Indies side failing to catch fire, or Australia being so good that none of their games were closely contested. Equally, with their desire to involve the whole of the Caribbean (games were played over eight islands) one could sympathise with the ICC for wanting to extend the length.
But they get it horribly wrong - and, by the end, only the ICC's bank account would have been happy.
Although the ICC may have believed heavyweight clashes in the Super Eights merited being played on different days, and, if Australia had been less good and India and Pakistan had been there, the Super Eights may have been enthralling, a tournament of nearly seven weeks was always going to be too long. But ultimately the Cup was characterised by the ultimate turn-off: endless isolated mis-matches.
See 'How to Host a World Cup'