Just not cricket….. in fact its not sport at all. Have expressed my opinion on this earlier and no better time than now to reiterate that the format followed by most sporting events (team sports) defies basic logic and is purely directed towards commercial interests and mere entertainment. No doubt both these aspects are important and have to be given due relevance but my grouse is that in our quest for the same we end up ignoring the actual soul…. the game itself. As is said, missing the wood for the trees.
Yes, you need the crowds and of course you need the money but at what cost! To my mind the primary purpose of international sporting events should be to crown the most deserving team as the world champions of that particular sport, all other objectives… making the sport popular, generating revenue, filling the stadiums et al should be secondary.
To that end, ICC did take the first step, this World Cup, by replacing the ‘League Pool’ stage with ‘Each Team Plays Other’ format. However, to get the desired result it is imperative that the Knockout stage is also suitably tweaked. A team which wins all league matches can be unfairly ousted by one period of poor play, one bad decision or even weather proving to be the determining factor.
Ideally, after such a long league stage & especially when each team has had an opportunity to stamp its authority over the other participating teams in their individual encounters, the top 2 teams should actually slug it out in a best of 3 finals, to lay claim on the coveted trophy. That will take care of most, if not all, extraneous factors which end up unnecessarily influencing the outcome of these events.
In case, there are more voices in support of having the top 4 teams play the Knockout stage then the IPL format could be the preferred option, at least it provides 2 strikes to the top 2 teams. Though personally am totally anti that as there is no plausible reason which justifies a 4th placed team challenging the top team at the end of a long drawn out league stage.
This not only holds true for cricket but almost all sports and the much more popular, soccer world cup, has seen many deserving teams miss out on this very account.