|"Sorry lads, you've to wait 8 more years|
to celebrate like this once more" (c) AFP
Yes, India won the "World Cup". Congrats Team India, for managing to defeat 13 Cricket-playing nations to the top prize in the sport. And in 2015, you will have even a better chance, as you would be competing against just 9 other countries. No more having to deal with the Irish (and risk losing to an underdog), or the Canadians.
Just 10 countries will be allowed to participate in the next World Cup of India's favourite sport. Ok, that seems to be a fair number for a game that is not played my many countries, one might say. But there is a catch - only the 10 test playing nations will be participating in it !!! Ten cricket-playing countries? Are you kidding me? It's like calling only former Football World Champions and Runners-Up teams to participate in the next world cup, and shun the rest of the teams, saying that they are not worthy of playing at the World Cup.
So what gives Bangladesh the right to play the World Cup? It's the Test-status conferred upon the team after their historic win against Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup, after which they have managed to win three tests, (all against then-depleted sides Zimbabwe and West Indies). 34 of their 59 losses (out of 68 test matches) are by more than an innings.
What did the Irish team give to this World Cup? They managed to defeat Pakistan in the 2007 WC, but they bettered that feat by beating the English and the Dutch in the 2011 WC, and also gave a stiff fight to Bangladesh, West Indies, and India. They were professional, and more importantly, added colour to the game - the Irish did it literally, with their colourful hairstyles in support of the Irish Cancer Society.
What did the Bangladeshi team give to this World Cup? They managed to be bowled out for their lowest ever ODI total of 58, on their home-ground (Mirpur), against a team that barely managed to qualify for the QF (The West Indies). Adding salt to their wounds were the angry fans who pelted the West Indies team bus with stones on their way back to the team hotel, bringing into question the security of the players, and also ridiculous justifications by officials saying that even the Bangladeshi team bus was pelted (so its ok according to Bangladeshi Law to pelt players with stones if they lose the match?). And in their crunch game against South Africa, they gave another stellar performance, scoring 78 runs in total, and sharing the record for most team scores below 100 with Canada, Namibia and Ireland. (all non-test playing nations), and managing to lose by more than 200 runs, their 2nd largest defeat.
As Graeme Swann put it right - they have removed the "world" from the "World Cup". This decision is a disgrace to the sport, which is supposed to be the pseudo-national sport of the country with the 2nd largest population in the world. How will this decision help for the development of the sport? What is the ICC trying to do by shunting the presence of teams that would showcase the sport to the world, to regions which watch the sport possibly once in every 4 years? And what incentive do these countries have to play the sport, if they are not given a chance to showcase their talent in front of the world? Perhaps we will never have a chance to see another Kevin O'Brien innings, or another devastating stroke-making by John Davison.
|Hiral Patel's classic shot will not be seen at the next|
World Cup in 2015 (c) Associated Press
I don't need to point out to the reasons why the BCCI, oops I meant the ICC, has decided on such a format, which gives the sporting body more advertising revenues for more evenly-matched games. And perhaps the next World Cup will be more evenly contested, with the ten test-playing nations possibly playing each other at-least once before the knock-outs (similar to the 1992 format). And perhaps the winner would be a true winner.
But without playing any quality cricket with the top-sides in the world, which was at-least possible in the World Cups (until recently), how does the ICC expect the Associate teams to build credible teams for the longer formats of the game? By playing 20-20 cricket - something which is not even considered as cricket my most cricket purists? The decision is ridiculous at its very least.
The worst thing about this decision - it was floated and almost agreed to in the middle of the ongoing tournament! Imagine the plight of the Irish, or the Dutch players, who found out in the middle of the tournament that this World Cup could probably be their last one ever. What would have gone on in their minds? When the players lashed out at the ICC for this decision, they were totally justified in doing so. How would you feel if you are told, in the middle of an important project, that this is your last project and that your services would no longer be required after that? That's exactly how the Irish and the other Associate teams felt. And they were very vocally critical of this decision.
Anyways, I have no stake in the ICC, or in the BCCI. I personally find cricket time-consuming as a sport. But then, it is a sport, and live every other sport, it can thrive and become a true-global sport only when every country is given a chance to improve itself and prove its mettle in front of the world.
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Ciao for now.