Saturday, April 28, 2007

Just what this World Cup needed...

A 38-over-a-side final. From Cricinfo's commentary,

"38 Overs? How embarrassing," spits Joseph Kirk from France. "Can you imagine the football World Cup being cut to 70 minutes? A baseball World Series game being reduced to six innings? A rugby World Cup game played in one half?"

Well, no, but this is a fitting ending to the worst World Cup ever. Just when it looked like being an interesting game between the world's two best (if not two top-ranked) sides. (As I type, Australia are 63/0 in the 12th over and are treating it as a Twenty20 match, which it may well get reduced to if there are further rains.)

I mean, they do have a reserve day! Why can't they play 50 overs a side (it used to be 60 a side, back in the 1970s) when there's a whole day to go?

Speaking of the football World Cup, it had 32 teams and took a month. The cricket one had 16 teams and has taken nearly two months. That's the comparison Malcolm Speed should make, not the one with the last cricket world cup (and even then, he should note that this World Cup, with three fewer matches, is nevertheless a week longer).

Speed, with his usual astuteness, would point out that getting it done in a month would mean some group games would have to be played in parallel. (The football cup had up to 3 games a day, but since it's a shorter game, they didn't need to be played simultaneously.) So what? So, he would say, the TV companies would object. But would it really reduce TV viewership? More likely it would improve viewership, by sustaining interest better.

Update - I went to bed before the end, so missed the farce that it ended in. No, I can't imagine the football World Cup -- or any other international sporting event -- ending in darkness and officials running back and forth contradicting one another on what to do, and the players finally playing out a tame few minutes to "get it over with".

Couldn't the ICC have donated a tiny fraction of its vast revenues from this World Cup to install floodlights at Barbados, if not the other venues?

No comments: