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ICC Cricket World Cup

ICC Cricket World Cup

Issue 77 February 2011

With cricket fever taking over the subcontinent, Omar Hussain highlights the openness of the upcoming tournament

 

As one tournament in Asia comes to a close, another juggernaut in the sporting world is upon us; the ICC Cricket World Cup. From its origins in 1975 in England, the pinnacle of cricket has arrived once again.

 For starters, there is a distinct gap in the host line-up. The decision to drop Pakistan as a co-host was not taken lightly. As expected, loyal and devoted supporters were outraged by this; crying foul of the ICC and adding pressure to an already very sensitive diplomatic situation in the region.

 Putting security concerns to one side, the location for the tournament couldn’t be more ideal. Nowhere else is cricket followed more closely; it’s more than a sport, it’s an infatuation.

 For the first time in the relatively short history of the Cricket World Cup, there is no clear favourite. Long gone are the days of the West Indian demolishers. Long gone are those fearsome baggy greens of Australia, who struck fear into every team they faced.

 However, off the pitch, it seems that the events occurring are comparable to a poorly rehearsed soap opera. It is also unfortunate that these events may distract and completely overshadow the tournament.

 As the spot fixing controversy involving Pakistani players rumbles on, there is a suggestion that the sport has lost its gentlemanly honour. Mohammed Amir, one of cricket’s most naturally talented players, is currently in the tail end of an ICC investigation. It is a shame that one of the best bowlers could possibly not appear at the World Cup, and may be on the receiving end of a lifetime ban if proven guilty. Any loyal supporter of the game would not just want such talent, but need it playing in the World Cup for it to be a viewing success.

 The last tournament seems like a lifetime ago. Given their prolific forms, it was expected that Sri Lanka and Australia would reach the final. The only surprise was how weakly Sri Lanka succumbed to the Aussies. Those were the days when a 50 over game was classified as the ‘short game’; in comparison to the marathon five day test matches. The introduction of Twenty20 cricket has arguably injected a much needed new spark into the sport, with its own World Cup and the IPL dominating recent cricket headlines.

 In the IPL, cricket players are being made into millionaires overnight to play a month’s worth of cricket; something that is usually associated with football. But what does this mean for the classic ODI game? The summer cricket season is becoming more and more cramped every year. There are tighter schedules, and more pressure at county and international level. Players must now learn to play completely different types of games. Some would argue that Twenty20 cricket hasn’t been as universally positive as many assume, and that the detrimental and potentially disrupting effects of the new shorter game are beginning to take their toll.

 However, all is not doom and gloom. Everyone, except the die-hard Aussies of course, was inspired to see what can only be described as a demolition job by England. They did more than win the Ashes; they broke the morale and very soul of the best players in the game.

 In addition, there is no longer a frontrunner in the game; something that all English, Indian, South African and, some of the more optimistic, Pakistani supporters, will have high hopes about. For all those who love the sport, there is the opportunity to see new players, and there is no doubt that we will see one of the top teams self-combust into a pile of embarrassment at the hands of the minnows. It will be almost guaranteed that every stadium and match will be packed to the rafters due to the very smart thinking of the organisers; tickets are extremely affordable for anyone to purchase.

 Hope is in the air over the subcontinent. Whilst the organisers wish for a successfully run tournament, the fans are delighted at the openness of it all – this is a time when anyone can go home with the trophy.

 But most importantly, never before has the classic 50 over ODI game had such a platform to show exactly why it will never be overtaken by Twenty20, and why it will forever remain the showcase for cricketing excellence.

 The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup will be hosted jointly by Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka and will feature 14 nations. The showpiece event opens with Bangladesh playing against India on February 19, and concludes with the final being contested in Mumbai, India on April 2.

 

Greatest Sporting Moments

The Best of Enemies – Rivalries

 


Prost-Senna – Starting as teammates at McLaren in 1988, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna clashed many times over their careers for the title. Senna was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix and Prost was the pallbearer at his funeral.

 

Thrilla in Manilla – Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fought three epic fights in the 70s, with critics calling the final match one of the best of the century.

 

Old Firm – This derby’s roots extends to sectarian alliances. It has torn Glasgow apart for years, and even led to one of the biggest pitch invasions after Celtic’s victory in the 1980 Scottish Cup Final.

 

Team Talk


Before the 1995 New Zealand v England World Cup semi-final: “Remember that rugby is a team game; all 14 of you make sure you pass the ball to Jonah.”
Anon fax to N.Z. team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography by Yasir Khan




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