Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

India and Cricket Word Cup 2011

India hosts Cricket Word Cup 2011. If India wins it will make history.

No host country has won Cricket Word Cup. Sri Lanka was a co-host country that played semi-final and final outside Sri Lanka in 1996. India hosted Cricket Word Cup in 1987 and 1996. Both times it lost in semi-finals. Some say Indian cricketers were told to lose the semi-final in 1996 to avoid playing final in Pakistan. If that is the case the cricketers who played that semi-final should go public about who told them to lose the match. There was bottle throwing during the match and when match referee Clive Lloyd called off the match and awarded it to Sri Lanka India were eight wickets down and Vinod Kambli who was batting wanted to continue the match, pleaded with Clive Lloyd, and was in tears when the match was awarded to Sri Lanka.

No host country except England in 1979 has reached the final in Cricket Word Cup. India, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies did not reach finals as hosts.

Most of the time the team that batted first has won the Cricket Word Cup. In 1996 semi-final and 2003 final India had won the toss and elected to field. In 1996 commentators had expressed shock at India’s decision to field first. Ravi Shastri had commented that when Australia batted first Ricky Ponting’s batting average was 144 and when Australia batted second Ricky Ponting’s batting average was 20. In India versus Australia matches when Australia batted first it had won all the matches and when it battled second India had won 44% of the matches. When Zaheer Khan bowled the first over and conceded 15 runs, eight of them extras. In 1983 final West Indies had won the toss and elected to field and India won the cup.

Some take it for granted that India will reach the quarter-final. They are sure that India will defeat Ireland and Holland in group matches. Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties and inglorious match-fixings. This time there are no super six or super eight matches. In 1999 India did not reach super six and in 2003 India did not reach super eight. In 1999 India and South Africa lost to Zimbabwe in group matches. In 2003 India lost to Bangladesh and Pakistan lost to Ireland in group matches. The loss in 2003 was bad for sponsors and advertisers who had banked on India making it to next round. One soft drink company had to revise its TV ad. There is a saying: Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.

India’s hosting of Cricket Word Cup 2011 has encountered a problem as Sports Ministry under Mohinder Singh Gill on 17/1/2011 has derecognized BCCI as a National Sports Federation/Apex Body for cricket in India as BCCI has not complied with the mandatory requirements of submitting necessary documents. This has resulted in withdrawal of exemption to pay customs duty on goods imported by BCCI or its affiliates. On 19/1/2001 Ajay Maken became Sports Minister. If BCCI does not reach a settlement with Sports Ministry it will have to manage security of cricketers and grounds on its own.

Wankhede Stadium and Eden Garden are not ready. There was no need to renovate these two stadia. Now the date for Eden Garden to be ready is 5/2/2011. The excuse for delay for Eden Garden is IPL 3. For Wankhede Stadium there is no excuse. This reminds of Commonwealth Games mess.

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