Monday, 30 April 2007

Still awake?

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'


Richard Lake said...

Firstly great link Tim, and some pointers that the ICC would do well to take note of.

There is a problem here. I, like Tim, thought that this would be a good format. I also don't want to be hung up on the loss of India and Pakistan early. In a competition, you cannot have a format to guarentee passage to the bigger teams.

Also, of the smaller teams, only Bermuda, Scotland and Netherlands really looked out of place, and the draw didn't do the last two any favours. Sixteen is probably the right number of teams - bearing in mind that Ireland were only seeded 14.

As a format then, keep the first group stages, then go to a second pair of groups, with four in each. Then semis and then final. This brings the tournament down to 39 games.

Play the games going on in the same group on the same day. With the odd rest day thrown in here and there, this gives us a 29 day tournament, with the winner needing to get through 8 matches. Teams are playing every 3-4 days rather than the facical situation of the West Indies playing 3 in 5 days and then one inthe next 11.

The Atheist said...

Well...I enjoyed it...

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