Thursday, February 21, 2008

The next World Cup might be more interesting than the last

Let's hope.

And listen here, karma fairies, I'm not referring to exciting in terms of suspicious, high-profile deaths. Bring on the embarrassing English drunken escapades though.

The ICC has recommended that the next World Cup plays 14 teams instead of 16 and be reduced from 47 days to 38. Well this is a start, but will it be enough?

I propose that the top eight teams by ICC rankings qualify automatically, and there are two more spots available for wildcard teams who win their places in a qualification competition among the lower ranking eight teams.

I think that would be a good way of striking the balance between ensuring it's exciting as well as providing a competitive opportunity for up and coming cricketing nations (who are genuinely potentially competitive, not just there to make up numbers and be seen and not heard). Plus, that qualifying contest would be interesting to watch.

If, after a few World Cups, the minnow teams are really inspired and more places are needed, then look at expanding.

This ICC committee also recommended greater use of technology in on-field decisions. The MCC has offered up Lord's as the testing ground for the so-called Umpire Decision Review System during England/South Africa matches later in the year. I wonder what that will consist of.

Thinking back, I still am appalled by the lack of spectators at the last World Cup. It was in the Caribbean for crying out loud, it should have gone off. I think more than cutting back on the teams and length of the tournament, it should be a priority to ensure that matches are being played to be watched, not just broadcast.

At last year's World Cup, unsold tickets should have been sold to members of the local community at a price they could afford on the day. Tickets in general should be cheaper. It's wrong to deny people access to the sport we all love in the name of profit. It happens, but it's just not cricket.

And, you know, maybe this ICC committee should consider not having the last few overs of final played in total darkness. That'd be novel.


miriam said...

"Bring on the embarrassing English drunken escapades though."

How did you know I was planning to go?

Miss Field said...

Actually I didn't, but it's amazing how one broad generalisation can apply to so many English people!

Suave said...

It's in our genes, I'm afraid..

We can't help it!

The Atheist said...

Less cricket? How can such a thing be better?

How? HOW?!?

Miss Field said...

I blame/thank my English genes for being to drink a fair bit more than my mates. Makes for an expensive night out, but I don't (often) fall prey to embarrassing escapades.

Good enduring English blood.

Miss Field said...

Well... well... the last World Cup was a nightmare! It would be better to have two shorter tournaments!

Or a first class world cup. *drool*

miriam said...

I don't have any English genes, so I blame English societal norms.

Homer said...

England will prolly find itself in Pakistan or Bangladesh; good luck with drunken English escapades then!! :)

Oomby Dave said...

I like the idea of automatically qualifying. Or we could have an abstract world cup where the top 12 players from each team are randomly placed into a team of their own and that team must go throu a few rounds and finals to win. Would see how everyone copes with being around eachother then, I wanna see Symonds field a ball at cover only to throw it as hard as he can at the bowlers end which happens to be Singh;)

David Barry said...

(Sorry for this late comment. I just got back from a few days in Amsterdam and I'm spending the morning catching up on cricket blogs... missed the whole IPL auction.)

I like minnows, and so I think your ten-team tournament would be too small. The nine Test-playing nations would easily qualify (Bangladesh wouldn't have any problems), and then it would come down to Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Ireland fighting for the tenth spot. You lock out all the others!

Ireland, the big minnow stars of the last World Cup, were not obviously playing better cricket than the other minnows (except for Bermuda). See the points table from the World Cricket League, which was held just before the World Cup.

Sixteen teams is too many, since Bermuda are not worthy of playing in a World Cup. But I don't have a problem with 14 or 15 teams. I want to see some upsets.

Miss Field said...

Amsterdam, that sounds good.

Yes 10 might not be enough. 12?

I agree that upsets are good, but do you think it's going to be a recurring thing, or did Ireland fluke it entirely? I think if they have to work their guts out to qualify for the top 12 then it's more likely there will be upsets.

David Barry said...

I don't think Ireland's performance was a complete fluke. Before the tournament I thought that the most likely upset was Ireland beating Zimbabwe, and that they could make one of their other games interesting. (They'd had a good performance against England less than a year earlier, losing by only 50 runs or so.) I knew that they had the talent, it's just that against other minnows, they seemed to go bad. I don't know why.

I'd be happy with 12 teams, though I'd prefer 14. But 14 doesn't divide easily, two groups of seven isn't good. So perhaps 15 - three groups of five, top two from each progress into a Super Six.

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