Tag: world cup

Too much cricket

There is the story of a man who killed the goose that laid golden eggs. Similar is the case with BCCI.

Recent ODI series in India against England witnessed large number of empty seats in Hyderabad, Delhi, Mohali, Bombay and Calcutta. There was drop in television viewing. The law of diminishing returns was at work. Within six months of World Cup interest in cricket had declined. During World Cup there were long queues for tickets for matches played by India and in some cases there was lathi charge. For the past four years there have been Tests, ODIs and T20s one after the other and people were bound to lose interest at some point.

When IPL began it provided an alternative to people fed up with K serials. Soon K serials disappeared. In 2009 and 2010 T20 World Cup was after IPL. In 2011 IPL was after ODI World Cup which India won and there was less interest in IPL.

Many cities host at least one Test or ODI every year. In those cities people have spent enough money and seen enough cricket. At one time when Tests were few and there was no TV in most parts of India every stadium used to be full for every Test. Then came ODIs, more Tests and spread of TV. Crowds for Tests in stadia declined. ODIs had full crowds. Then ODIs featuring India had full crowds and other ODIs had less spectators, sometimes very few in a stadium. Now even ODIs featuring India do not have full crowds.

Many Indians watch football and car race and interest in cricket is likely to decline. With less people watching there will be less money and that means decline of BCCI’s clout. That may mean politicians and businessmen leaving BCCI and cricketers running BCCI.

India win Cricket Word Cup 2011

On 2/4/2011 India created history by being the first host country to win the Cricket World Cup. India began by defeating Bangladesh, a co-host, on 19/2/2011 and ended by defeating Sri Lanka, another co-host, on 2/4/2011.

No Indian scored a century in a knock-out game. Ricky Ponting and Mahela Jayawardene scored centuries against India in knock-out games. India batted second in matches against Australia and Sri Lanka and won. Australia were stopped from winning the title for the fourth consecutive time and Ricky Ponting was stopped from winning the title as captain for the third consecutive time. Before that Pakistan had defeated Australia in a group match and had put an end of Australia’s sequence of victories since 1999.

S. Sreesanth was in the first match and the last match. Virender Sehwag scored 175 against Bangladesh and 0 against Sri Lanka. India’s fielding improved during knock-out games.

India’s lone loss was against South Africa. Against England it was a tie. South Africa were defeated by New Zealand and England by Sri Lanka in quarter-finals. India did not have to play any team twice.

The tournament took place when India was buffeted with various scandals. Commonwealth Games scam, 2G spectrum scam and many other scams were making news. Wikileaks gave fresh life to cash for votes scam. As the tournament progressed TV news channels shifted the focus to crickets and scams took a backseat. Regular programmes were dumped for programmes on cricket. India’s performance in the World Cup banished bad news from news channels.

The victory created a new set of heroes in addition to 1983 heroes. There were not many news channels till 1999. From 2003 onwards every time during World Cup heroes of 1983 were approached by news channels to know what it was to win the World Cup. Captains of World Cup winning teams were in great demand. CNN-IBN got Alan Border and Imran Khan. Headlines Today got Kapil Dev, Clive Lloyd and Arjuna Ranatunga. Steve Waugh was not seen.

Sponsors wanted India to be in the quarter-final and the format was arranged such a way. India played the first match and the last match of the group stage. India’s first round exit in 2007 was the reason for bringing back quarter-finals. India reaching the final was a bonus for sponsors.

UDRS was introduced in the World Cup. India were not in favour of UDRS as it had unhappy memories of UDRS in Sri Lanka. After the Ian Bell controversy UDRS rules were modified and some decisions went in India’s favour. UDRS is effective in deciding catches but remains controversial regarding LBW decisions. Sometimes field umpire gives the correct decision regarding LBW and UDRS gives the wrong decision. UDRS regarding LBW is not automatic and the operator can manipulate it. Either UDRS for LBW should be scrapped or the decision should be given by third umpire as it is done when field umpires ask for his decision on close catches, run-out or stumping. It is wrong to humiliate the field umpire by asking him to reverse his decision. Sri Lanka and other countries that were in favour of UDRS may do a rethink as some UDRS decisions went against them.

It is wrong to give a free hit for a no ball. The batting team gets a run and the bowler has to bowl another ball and that is fair enough. Free hit is too much in favour of a batsman.

Demands for tickets for matches featuring India was great and there was lathi-charge in Bangalore, Nagpur and Mohali. Common people who wanted to buy tickets could not get tickets. MPs, MLAs, MLCs and corporators demanded and got free tickets.

Firecracker sellers had good business.

Boring tournament

Cricket World Cup 2011 is proving to be a boring tournament. It has 14 teams and spread over 43 days. Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games are of 14-16 days. Football World Cup with 32 teams is about 32 days.

When Cricket Word Cup began in 1975 there were eight teams and four matches per day. The gap between matches was not long. In 1987 there were three matches per day. In 2011 it is one match or two matches per day with long gaps for teams in between. India played Bangladesh on 19/2/2011 and its next match against England is on 27/2/2011. In an ODI tournament a team having to wait for 5-8 days to play its next match is strange.

In 2015 the ODI tournament will be restricted to 10 teams. That may make the tournament interesting. Some want minnows to be part of ODI tournament. Sometimes minnows have done well. In 1979 Sri Lanka defeated India. In 1983 Zimbabwe defeated Australia. Kenya defeated West Indies in 1996 and reached semi-final in 2003. Ireland defeated Pakistan in 2007. Now Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe are Test playing nations. Minnows can play in Twenty20 World Cup which will have 16 teams. There are not many people in countries like Ireland, Holland and Bermuda who watch cricket on TV and that may be the reason for their exclusion from ODI format.

The web site for sale of tickets for final and semi-finals crashed soon after tickets went for sale. It is said that 10 million people wanted to buy tickets online but I doubt that figure. In cricket publicity stunts are normal. When tickets were put for sale for IPL in South Africa it was said that all tickets were sold within five minutes. When the matches took place there were not many spectators. TV channels should be careful about what they report and should not function as PR agencies.