Deep Backward Point

Blog against the machine.

Everything That’s Wrong With World Cup Cricket

Shaun of the Dead

A clean shot to the head may be just what this tournament needs.

The big point everyone seems to be making this week is that the terrific India v. England match last weekend was an excellent advertisement for the sport, brought the tournament alive and proved that One Day cricket is alive and well.

Quite the opposite.

The India v. England match was the exception that proved the rule. It reminded us of how good a One Day match could be, but almost always isn’t.

We have now been through fourteen matches at the World Cup, of which only two have been good-ish and one has been great. That is an abysmal ratio. The India v. England match was the one great day in the first two weeks of the tournament. And that one day won’t even affect who makes it to the quarter-finals.

The next five matches are not very promising either: England v. Ireland, Netherlands v. South Africa, Canada v. Pakistan, Bangladesh v. West Indies.

Maybe we’ll get five more hat-tricks. That will be an excellent advertisement for the sport and bring the tournament to life.

And surely One Day cricket is alive and well.

Until the IPL begins next month.

This is a tournament where the organizers have gone out of their way to make sure that all but one of India’s group matches are on the weekend. Let that sink in for a minute.

The only reason India’s match against the Netherlands is not on a weekend is that the tournament group stage spans five weekends, and India play six matches.

The two good-ish matches I cited above were the Netherlands v. England and Sri Lanka v. Pakistan.


A Statistician’s Perfect World Cup

Statistician Anantha Narayanan spends some time looking back at World Cups past. But that’s not what’s interesting at that link.

In the comments section of the article, Narayanan describes the “best” format for a future World Cup:

However the best is the all-play-all and then nothing or a 3-match final.

This is a terrible idea. It’s a statistician’s idea of a perfect World Cup, wherein we would produce the most statistically perfect winner in an unacceptably dull tournament. Imagine that two teams dominated the first couple of weeks of the tournament– every other game would become irrelevant, since only two teams could get anywhere.

In other words, it would be a lot like the current World Cup– where we can safely ignore all matches until the end of March– but worse.