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Balance of power has changed

india Updated: Apr 04, 2011 01:20 IST
Richard Hadlee
Richard Hadlee
Hindustan Times
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Another World Cup passes by and it’s time to assess the positives and negatives. The two best teams contested the final — India and Sri Lanka. They had the most balanced teams of the tournament.

The semifinals had three Asian teams competing which was not surprising - India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka took great advantage of the conditions they played in - the heat, the pitches and they applied enough pressure to the opposition to see them stumble.

The West Indies could not play spin and surrendered meekly in some games. England talked the talk but did not back up with actions even though they played some of the most entertaining cricket. New Zealand reached the semi finals, but could not provide the consistency required with the bat to give their bowlers a better chance.

South Africa found another way to be eliminated from the competition and faltered against New Zealand even though they looked to be one of the best prepared teams.

Australia were coasting along nicely without being totally convincing and met their match in the quarterfinal. They had been great champions for a long time but now the balance of power in world cricket has changed.

The Associate countries of Ireland, Canada, Kenya, the Netherlands (and including Zimbabwe) did little to enhance the tournament. I believe a World Cup is about being the best of the best and not making up the numbers to try and create a bigger and more global competition.

To be fair, Ireland was the best of the minnows and at times they were very competitive. To say that we need to expand the global game and help these countries with their cricket is noble but to reward them when they struggle to compete is sometimes embarrassing and humiliating.

In previous World Cups, teams from Namibia, UAE, Scotland and Bermuda have competed but where are they now as cricket playing nations? So, there has to be another way.

I may well have made myself very unpopular with these comments and I apologise for any offence given but there is a solution for all those teams and a chance for them to get better and then play with the major nations at a World Cup.

In my view, the top 8 ranked teams in world cricket at a certain time of the year automatically qualify. The bottom two teams notably Bangladesh and Zimbabwe would go into Group qualifying rounds with all the Associate countries and the top two teams from that group would make the World Cup tournament.