The Cricket World Cup has a new home - the web. With as many as 140 individual pages dedicated to the biggest event in the sport, the close to 200,000 fans on Facebook and other such sites are sparing no topic of discussion. From who will score the first century and who will claim the first hat-trick to the more generic predictions on which team will lift the Cup, cricket lovers online are giving the perfect vent to their restless wait for the event to begin.
Interestingly though, the largest page with 117,967 users is actually a fan page of the Bangladesh WC team. Created by Shami-ur Rehman about a year back to discuss the prospects of Bangladesh cricket, the page has diversified itself to include not just members from the sub-continent but those from other participating countries as well. "Earlier the discussions centered around the Bangladeshi side. But gradually it shifted to a more generic view of teams, star players and overall statistics," he says crediting the different nationalities of members for the shift.
The web pages are not just restricted to discussions. Some of them have incorporated image collages and web links that help users to stay updated. "It's a nice way to stay connected with friends as well as follow World Cup," says Aarohi Sen, a regular on Twitter.
What has however been missing from social networking sites is personal attacks on rival teams. Specially, the barrage of India-Pakistan comments. This time though, the posts reflect a more positive and mature gentry online. "Competent moderators on the web ensure that the atmosphere remains conducive rather than one in which sledging becomes rampant," says an official at Facebook.