Josh Wright

Archive for the ‘Cricket’ Category

Do Lesser Cricket Nations Performances Justify World Cup Cricket?

In Cricket on March 9, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Kevin O'Brien celebrates the fastest World Cup Century, one of few inspirtational moments by the lesser nations

This year’s ICC Cricket World Cup is one that from the off has been associated with controversy. The future of ODI in its current form is under question, deriving from lack of entertainment, decreasing crowds and the growing popularity of Twenty20.  If this world cup has taught us anything so far is that many of these criticisms are unwarranted, and that 50 over cricket still has a crucial place on the world stage. The tied contest between India and England had all the qualities one could possibly want from one-day cricket, highly skilled batting and bowling, tension and crucially drama. The game itself also portrayed the importance of ODI cricket in terms of cricketing quality. As reiterated by Geoffrey Boycott following the contest, ODI cricket allowed batsmen the time to build a secure, stable and skilful innings. This is not a criticism of 20 over cricket which has revolutionised the sport, but the 50 over game allows a certain skill not present to the same extend in the shortest version of the game.  But whilst some of the cricket played in this World Cup has been unbelievable, in regards to the structure of the tournament there is still much to be debated.

There seem to be two innate issues with this year’s World Cup, firstly the length of the tournament with the first group game taking place on the 20th February and the final commencing on the 2nd of April, a whole 41 days after the opener between New Zealand and Kenya, and secondly the presence of these lesser cricketing nations that are not regular fixtures on the global circuit. The length of the tournament is plainly tedious and derives from the presence of countries such as Kenya, Canada and the Netherlands, presence that as of this moment is perhaps unwarranted. We cannot ignore Ireland’s fantastic victory over England with O’Brien hitting the fasted ever World Cup century; however this has been the only stand out result from these nations. As it stands Kenya have lost matches by 10 wickets, 9 wickets and 205 runs, hardly competitive and entertaining? Canada have not fared much better, losing by 210 runs,  175 runs to a poor Zimbabwe and 46 runs, a relative success. These nations need to earn their presence in major tournaments such as these, World Cup cricket should be a privilege rather than a right. The experience Irish cricket has earned through being involved in domestic competitions in England has undoubtedly helped them develop to a nation that deserves its place on the highest stages. However until nations such as Canada, Kenya, the Netherlands and even Zimbabwe gain such experience their presence limits the attraction of the tournament.

As it stands we are looking forward to a fascinating knockout stage, with a host of quality teams likely to be involved, but unfortunately we will have to wait just a bit longer. I for one will not be intently following the game between Australia and Kenya or New Zealand and Canada but will be looking forward to the true aspect of the World Cup, high quality cricket played by the best players in the world.