More teams for Cricket World Cup
More teams for Cricket World Cup
With the World Cup 2007 scheduled to take place in West Indies in 2007 with a few games in USA and Canada, there has been a lot of talk recently to include 16 teams in the world cup, which quite unexpectedly has come for some criticizm. First of all, having 16 teams in the World Cup is a good idea. Cricket as a sport, needs to spread all over the world, with more and more nations taking part in the game.
Till now, Cricket has had only 10 test playing nations in 127 years of test playing history with only 8 of them being quite competitive. Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, who are the other 2 test playing nations, are still to find their form going in the test level. With the game spreading, ther number of test playing nations should go up to 15 by 2025. Also, the number of teams playing in the World Cup is still quite low with only 14 teams playing the Cricket World Cup as compared to 32 in Soccer/Football. 16 teams in the Cricket World Cup will be a great idea.
Also, many people beleive that having 16 teams will lower the quality of the tournament and with more weaker teams coming, there will be a lot of meaningless matches with the top teams having to play against 4th placed ICC Associate teams. Most of the people think that it will be like Australia v Namibia, which Australia won by 256 runs or the Sri Lanka v Canada, in which Canada were dismissed for only 36. But what the people fail to see is the matches, in which these teams were quite competitive, like Holland v India, with Holland bowling India out for 204 or the Namibia v England, with Namibia looking to win till the 35th over of their innings. Namibia lost, but by only 55 runs. Also, Canada, at one stage, were looking set to beat an out of sorts South Africa side, when they had them in trouble at 22/3 at one stage. It was only due to a dropped catch by Joseph Harris, in the slips, that Canada allowed the early advantage to slip and South Africa come right back into the match. Had that catch been taken, South Africa would have been struggling at 23/4 and would have been bowled out for under 150. Not to forget Kenya, who stunned the world by reaching the World Cup semi-finals.
If there can be upsets in Football like the famous Senegal win over France in the 2002 World Cup, then why cant we have the similar upset in cricket like Ireland beating Australia ??? or with Croatia, in their first soccer world cup, qualifying for the semi-finals, so why cant we have a team like Namibia qualify for the Super-Eight stages after causing an upset. For those of you, who follow under-age cricket, might have seen the upsets like Namibia u-19 beating Sri Lanka u-19 or the Nepal u-19 beating Pakistan u-19 and Bangladesh u-19. Also another team has been the Ireland u-19, who won the European u-19 tournament with comfortable ease without losing a match. Ireland, even beat a Zimbabwean team by 10 wickets earlier this year and with the Associates playing so well and improving, i see no reason to criticize these teams. Give them some time and experience, and they will improve.
A big criticizm is expected to be of the format, which is 4 pools with 4 teams each. With 2 teams qualifying for the super-8s, there will be lots of meaningless matches in the World Cup. But come on, how are these teams going to improve unless they dont test themselves against the top teams. The World Cup, takes place once in every 4 years and also, the top 3 or 4 associate teams, also have a right to play against the test-playing nations and top teams. It is only when the fans of an associate nation, see their team take on the top nations, it is only then, that the popularity of cricket will improve in that country. Also, by 2007, there wont be only 8 competitive teams, but 11 competitive teams. With Bangladesh improving, by 2007, they could also be aiming to qualify for the super-8s after causing an upset. Kenya, who stunned everyone in the 2003 World Cup, will also be looking to qualify for the semi-finals again in 2007, so these 2 teams are also expected to be competitive. Even Zimbabwe have many exciting youngsters like Shaun Ervine, Tatenda Taibu, and by 2007, even Zimbabwe will be quite competitive. Also, Namibia could be quite competitive by 2007, as their best player, JB Burger is only 21 and by 2007, he will be 25. Another player is Burton van Rooi, who was the hero in the upset win in the u-19 world cup and he will be 24 by 2007. Even Ireland is expected to be quite competitive by 2007, as they recently crushed Zimbabwe by 10 wickets as well. Having 13 competitive teams by 2007, will be good enough.
After all, cricket has to be globalised. 16 teams is not a bad idea, provided the world cup takes place once in 4 years. Also, the top Associates do have a right to play some cricket against the top teams and players. Seeing more teams coming, even new countries, more from Asia and Africa will also be aiming to qualify for the World Cup.