Ganeshbabu Venkat | 3:13pm gmt 01 Feb 2011
With just a few days to go before the start of the tenth World Cup we cannot pin-point a favourite as yet. With the tedious long-drawn format this is as open as it could be. The format starts off with a week of warm-up matches (just a hit and giggle contest) before the tournament officially begins. However the league format is nothing but an extended
warm-up with no real sense of serving any purpose. 42 meaningless games over a period of 30 days which have no bearing on the knock-outs followed by a crammed seven knock-out games to decide the winner. In effect the format takes 42 games to eliminate six weak teams and uses just the knock out games to determine the winner.
One-sided cricket matches can be boring, it's not like football where the viewer has to put up with just an hour and half worth of the charade. 50 over games last for a day and boring one-sided games could leave a stale taste for the viewer who would be deterred away from the very format that the ICC is trying hard to protect. Talk about being
counter-productive. With Twenty20 taking the cricketing world by storm and people and the players embracing it, ODIs are an endangered species. At this juncture one-sided games and this tedious format are the last thing that fans want to see.
Nevertheless the ICC has come up with a format that will serve the viewer with 24 such games involving Ireland, Netherlands, Canada and Kenya. Group A could see some ridiculous mismatches involving the likes of Australia and Sri Lanka pitted against Canada and Kenya. Look no further than the 2003 World Cup when minnows were dismissed for 30's
and top teams regularly raked up 300's
.The only interest during the first 30 days would be whether Bangladesh can pull off an upset against the likes of South Africa, England, West Indies or India in Group B.
The ideal format would have been to have the group winners get direct semi-final berths and the 2nd and the 3rd place teams from each group play a knock out to decide the other
two semi-finalists. That would have given an incentive for the stronger teams to mash up the minnows and the contests during the league would have had a context. In an effort to
make sure that the coffers are full they have come up with a format that will ensure that every team will play a minimum of six meaningless games which will just decide who
plays who in the Quarter Finals. Ole to the dead rubber World Cup!!!