Friday, March 23, 2007

I love this World Cup

For the first time, we have 16 countries vying for the cricket world cup… or is it just 8? Somebody would have asked till last week. However, the kind of upheavals that we have witnessed over last few days has made even leagues an ‘interesting affair’. Like mentioned in my last post, most of us were made to believe that the real competition starts only once Super 8 begins. But not anymore.

Many of us follow soccer as well. And more often than not, the leagues as keenly contested as knock-outs. You hardly see the score-line of 5-0 in any soccer world cup match. As a matter of fact, we always have some big team losing in the initial rounds. Who had expected Czech Republic losing to Ghana in the leagues? Who had expected Brazil not reaching even the semis? Such stories were unthinkable in cricket for there always was a huge void between top 8 teams and the bottom 8.

However, this world cup has seen some inspired performances – that has already pushed one team out of the tourney and the other is very nervous at the very possibility of it. What it means for the game is certainly good times ahead. More the competition, better it is for the game. I just hope that more such new teams come up the curve.

One more thing that ICC can learn from FIFA is about scheduling of matches. The world has come to such a stage that no sport where the stakes are high is devoid of lobbying, fixing, whatever you wish to call. It especially happens when future of a particular team is heavily hinging upon the outcome of some other match that it is not part of. FIFA, in world cup games, ensures that last game of all the countries in a particular group takes place simultaneously and thereby obviates possibility of any fixing. Something ICC should strongly consider implementing in the times to come.

All said and done, the cricket world cup has come alive sooner than expected. And India being alive in the tournament means a treat for 3/4th of the world’s cricket watching population!


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