Saturday, April 28, 2007

The day is not very big so far

The World Cup final was supposed to start two hours ago, but due to rain in Barbados we are still waiting. Australia won the toss, and chose to bat. Both sides are unchanged from those that played in their respective semi-finals.

There are a number of things that could happen here. Firstly, the game could start some time in the next three hours, and could be reduced to as little as 20 overs a side. Secondly the game could start after being reduced in overs, and there could be another rain delay. In that case, if the clouds were to clear later today, the number of overs could be reduced and the game finished on Duckworth Lewis. Alternately if the game were to start and then rain was to finish play for the day today, a reduced over game could be completed tomorrow. There is the further even more bizarre possibility that a game could start, stop, resume with a Duckworth Lewis target, stop again, and that Duckworth Lewis game could resume tomorrow.

None of these options are in my mind desirable. After 52 games, the last thing I would is the World Cup to be decided on a 20 over slog, or some small reset target. There is one satisfactory possibility from my perspective, and that is that we get no play tomorrow and the game commences tomorrow as a full 50 over match.

The reason for playing a reduced match on the first day is simple. Television networks, sponsors, corporate guests etc want the finish and presentation of the World Cup to occur at the moment in their schedules that they expect it. However, from a cricketing perspective, this is terrible.

What should happen is the following. If there is a rain delay on the first day, then the game should continue as a 50 over match, resuming on the second day. The game should only be reduced in overs when it becomes impossible to get a result on the second day without it. That way we get a full match to decide the World Cup except in extreme circumstances. I think the integrity of the tournament depands it. In fact, I can't see any reason why there should not be two or three reserve days to allow for this. Wimbledon will play for extra days if it is required for the touanemtn to end properly. I can't see why it is any different for something as big as the cricket World Cup.

That said, this tournament has had so many bizarre and disappointing things happen that it hasn't much integrity left. A ridiculous result would be kind of fitting. It would be a little unfair on the Australian team if they were to lose in such circumstances though. Reagardless of all else, their cricket in this tournament has been very fine.

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