Did the World Cup measure up?

Published on Mar 22, 2003 05:03 PM IST

Did the World Cup really rise to Olympian heights? The answer all around will be an emphatic no.

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HT Image
PTI | ByBinoo K. John, New Delhi

Did the World Cup really rise to Olympian heights?

The answer all around will be an emphatic no. It is not just that the cricket grounds of South Africa are littered with  the memories of many big careers that came unstuck. It is also not that a  team much below international standards reached the semi-final and hung around like a parish priest among the cardinals.

It is that TV companies wielded  too much of clout and the rules of conduct of the tournament were totally flawed. That resulted in lop-sided rankings.

Dr Ali Bacher, among the ablest of  organizers, went about things with the clinical efficiency he is known for.  In organizational terms it has been called the best World Cup so far, by those like Ravi Shastri who should know a thing or two about  World Cups.

The point is the rules were flawed, the television conglomerates who of course financed the World Cup, were given too much of leeway, and crucial matches
were decided not by on-field happenings. Some of those events could not have been expected  but  the ICC did not have the  rules  or the fire-power to rope in recalcitrant nations. It is high time that the ICC honchos decide about what to do with countries which chose the World Cup to score brownie points against assorted dictators and terrorist groups.

The Super Six and then the semi-final placing were decided more by forfeited
points rather than points won on the field.

Point number two is that too much of faith was placed on a statistical point
system, based on probability, called the Duckworth-Lewis system.

While the system per se cannot be faulted, how are the captains on the field to know about the possibilities and probabilities?  It was only after the damage was done--the elimination of South Africa, that the authorities though up the idea of flashing the  runs needed according to the D_L system  on the screen. But there is not point in becoming wise  after the damage has been done.

In the semi-final against Kenya, Sourav Ganguly was constantly reading the slip of printed paper he carried in his pocket which had the D/L system worked out in case there was rain after the 25 overs. Why should a captain read and calculate rather than concentrate on playing?

This World Cup showed up the futility of Super Six round. In a tournament where actually only six or seven team are world class be played over two months?

There is a clear case for the Super Six round being abolished and the semi-finals being played after the league rounds. The Super Six of course meets the demands of television for more matches.

Again why should there have been day-night matches if it were not for the
insistence of TV to capture prime time back home?  The day-night matches in
South Africa have suddenly given rise to a new psuedo-scientific theory.

After the sun is down and the tide is up, it is not advisable to bat! Irrespective of whether it stands up to scientific scrutiny, why should a match be played under lights with a white ball when it can be played during the day time?

In fact the whole concept of day night matches needs to be reconsidered. Its
is a miracle if the fielder is able to take high catches. Kenya's D. Obuya exhibited the difficulty of taking a high catch in the lights when after taking the catch he stood there shaking his knees. Sehwag too would have felt the same shivers when he ran in to take a  high catch off T. Odoyo.

"Most outrageous was the scheduling of day-night matches at crucial stages for no other reason than the commercial appeal offered by TV  companies," a
commentator wrote in the Guardian.

This has been the general tone of commentators everywhere.

After all this more than 75 per cent of the matches were actually no-contests. That is no fault of the organisers.  But it affected the credibility of the two-month World Cup.

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