Alex, I'm really enjoying half of your posts.
Anyone know where one can watch the semi final tonight in Wellington? The game being on Anzac Day and all?
Or... anyone find any live video feeds? I am craving cricket, and a lot of clicking and even some mild (and mean/free) subscribing has brought zilch in the way of live net feeds.
I know cricinfo had live feeds of the womens' world cup!
Cheers Paul. Same here.
Coverage: few public options this far south. Do others feel that in following the NZ cricket team they are involved in some kind of clandestine affair? I just returned from a weekend in central Southland, as you do, for the second time during the Super Eights. Nobody I've spoken to in Southland likes cricket.
Grant is planning to go to a dawn service. I think it would be kind of reverent to go along with the wee radio, to keep the Anzac spirit linked to something current. Imagine a trumpet, a 12-gun salute followed by a chorus of radios blaring Bryan Waddle.
Imagine a trumpet, a 12 gun salute and Taylor or Oram hitting a sixth six over the bowlers head to tie the score with two balls to go.... It'd be hard to maintain a reverential silence.
Have used my nervous energy waiting for the semi to write a wee burst on World Cup formats...
Any of you seen this interesting discussion from The Australian website, which repeats the oft-stated claim that this one has been too big/too long: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21605535-15084,00.html
In it, The Times' Christopher Martin-Jenkins argues:
There needs to be another change to the format and ... the first decision has to be to reduce the number of countries. Even with 16, Ireland’s win over Pakistan and Bangladesh’s over India were all that was required to produce two unexpected teams in the last eight.
In 1992, generally agreed to be the best tournament since the first one, nine teams played each other to produce four semi-finalists but there were 39 games in a month and rain produced inequities.
The development of second-tier countries such as Ireland and Kenya has been an ICC success and it has gone too far to abandon now. In 2011 there should be 12 nations, playing in two seeded groups of six, the top two in each group going through to a semi-final. A month’s cricket and 34 matches would serve the game better.
I agree that:
-The current format makes it too easy for single upsets to have a disproportionately disruptive effect in the draw, and therefore the 'feel' of much of the tournament can be damaged by such upsets...
-The 1992 World Cup was the best (and not just because NZ did very well).
But I disagree with CMJ's proposed solution. I don't like pools moving straight to semis because pools can create biases in the draw (i.e. if you land in a pool with lots of in-form teams you will find it much harder to make the semis than if you land in a pool with lots of teams out of touch: seeding only does so much, because seeds are decided well before the tournament to give people travelling to them safety in knowing the draw...)
My solution for emulating 1992 would be as follows:
1) Eight teams make it through automatically to the main part of the draw. These are selected as follows:
a) The hosts (in 2011, Bangladesh, SL, Pakistan and India; in 2015, Australia and NZ).
b) The top ranked teams outside of the hosts, to make up your complement of 8.
2) Eight teams compete in a World Cup Qualifier Series, to take place the month before the Main Event. These teams are selected as the top eight ranked teams who did not automatically qualify. These eight teams play a round robin (so, seven games each), and the two that finish first or second make it through to the Main Draw.
3) The Ten Teams (8 automatic, 2 qualifiers) in the Main Draw play a round robin (i.e. nine games each). The top four teams qualify for semi-finals and then a final.
4) In terms of games in the tournament, the Main Draw would have 48 (compared to 51 this year, and 39 in 1992).
Using current rankings as a guide, the 2011 Main Event would see Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh as the automatic qualifiers; West Indies, Ireland, Kenya, Ireland and Zimbabwe would vie it out with three other minnows for the two remaining places at the Big Table.
The only potential problem I see with this system is that it could still be described as too long: you'd have a similar length of tournament (in terms of games) to this one.
Well, I don't think that's necessarily a problem. You could easily compress these 48 games into a month by playing two games a day, like in the Football World Cup during its round robin stage. This would give the tournament the impression of busyness and constant activity - the very things this one lacked.
While simultaneous games could create problems for broadcasters, almost all major nations screen their World Cups on muli-channel pay TV outlets. So, viewers would be able to flick from one to the other. You could make it easier for them: Have one as a day game and one as a day-nighter so that they climax at different times (viewers would then only need to flick from one to another in the few hours of overlap). Countries that broadcast the World Cup on free-to-air outlets would simply select their preferred game each day.
Would this be do-able for the players, in terms of workload? Well, those in the teams that automatically qualified would have to play 9-11 games in the space of a month, or a game every three days. This is a similar workload to the annual tri-series in Australia, and many other, similar one day tournaments. Why can the best players cope this workload year-in, year-out, but not at the World Cup?
In fact, this workload would allow teams to feel like they're on a usual one-day tour, able to build momentum, and not lie idle with days and days of dead rubbers, or watching from the sidelines. (Admittedly, the two “qualifiers” would have to play 16-18 games in two months. A more daunting task, but considering that many of the early games would be against the likes of Bermuda and Canada, I can't see this being a problem…).
So, to conclude:
1) Is less likely to have big names ejected early, causing lots and lots of boredom-inducing one-sided games.
2) Will produce very few horrendously lop-sided games in the Main Event.
3) Is fair in determining who makes the semis, because everyone in the main draw plays everyone once.
4) Still allows ICC to "develop" the game with emerging nations, by staging the qualification tournament just before the main event, and by giving them a route (though a difficult one) to make that main event.
5) Culls the tournament from 7 weeks to a month, but still requires the team that wins to play all the other test-playing nations at least once on the way to their title.
What do you reckon?
Nice one Gary, I was worried I might have to invent you! Pardon the cliché, but ideally in these tournaments, the journey can be better choreographed for enjoyment, and less emphasis put on the destination (and yes I'm talking to you also, rugby fans).
Can't really fault your suggestions, and am also a fan of CMJ.
Fewer team: yep. Twelve, for mine also.
Night games: absolutely. The ICC showed a lack of understanding here, yes a greaet cost to install lights at these Caribbean grounds, so to create a more intense tournament they should have included fewer teams (the format should fit the host country situation) since they couldn't have 2 day games 'cos of latitude + time of year + TV owning all of us.
A month or under in duration: who could argue with (although Roy Slaven was suggesting 6 months would be better).
They've gotta get rid of this 3-stage madness. Too confusing. Gotta attract fans, not repel them with one-sided games and obscure permutations. The best model is the harsh one (world cup football): a group stage then knockouts all the way. So I'm quite keen on CMJ's 2 groups of 6. Each team in group stage gets to play 5 games, then go home if they aren't right up there. In football you only get to play 3 if you are crap. But then my idea is to have a more thorough examination of the best teams: semis and final are each a best of three.
Then the cream has settled, the lights are on, it's one apiece going into the third final, etc. Then you get a more robust spectacle of the best teams fighting it out in a more hearty climax, a whereas right now you have this kind of premature ejaculation of 3 finals games following a mega-tantric gin-soaked sex session in the sun, complete with teams becoming bored with foreplay and falling asleep on the beach.
I can agree that one-off games in semi-finals and finals really are a bit harsh. A bad wicket and the toss decides the game. Cricket is probably the sport where winning the toss has the greatest influence, so increasing the number of games to best-of-three would reduce influence and allow the quality of the play on the day to have a greater influence.
Would Ireland have made it to this tournament if only the top 12 ranked teams were invited? This website: http://www.icc-cricket.com/icc/odi/archive.html only lists the top 11 before the tournament, so I wonder if they were the 12th team. It would be a failure of a system of inviting the top 12 ranked teams if they weren't on that list, because a draw to Zimbabwe, and beating Pakistan and Bangladesh clearly shows they should have been here, whatever their ranking.
I don't see any reason why, whether it's 12, 14, or 16 teams, why there couldn't be two games a day most days. That'd still give teams at least two days between games, would allow for rain days to follow set days. The number of people that would watch every game in the world cup must be pretty small.
The super 6/8 scheme makes about as much sense as whatever bizarre system the NPC used last year. Whether it's top 8 or top 4 go through, it should just be round-robin pools followed by quarters/semis. If you can't front up at crunch time (ie, Black Caps unfortunately), you don't deserve to win.