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The World Cup will be remembered for the wrong reasons
Sir Richard Hadlee

Sir Richard Hadlee
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April 30, 2007 07:57 IST
Last Updated: April 30, 2007 11:56 IST

It is pretty much an anti-climax that Australia won their third successive Word Cup in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Saturday, albeit a fantastic achievement. It was fully deserved, as they were clearly the best team in the competition. But what a farce the final turned out to be!

How can cricket's showpiece end in such a shambolic way, with total confusion as to when the match was officially over? How can the main event be reduced to a 38-over contest when two days are set aside to find a winner? Both teams needed the opportunity to have fair and equal conditions to compete.

Those people who know little about the game and were watching it on television in different parts of the world would have been instantly turned off with this debacle. The ICC will defend itself by using the rulebook to its advantage, but does that make it right? Common sense please!

My 12-man World Cup Super Star Team based on performances and team balance is: Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting (Captain), Jacques Kallis, Mahela Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen, Scott Styris, Brad Hogg, Shane Bond, Muttiah Muralitharan, Nathan Bracken, Glenn McGrath. 

I have been based in Delhi for 50 days and during this time, watched all 51 games of the World Cup on television. Having not missed a game, I believe I am in a position to draw some conclusions on the success or failure of the 2007 event.

One thing is for sure, I am not only tired of watching cricket until 3.00 am every morning, but I will remember every word and every product that was advertised on television during the matches, for the rest of my life!

I was very frustrated listening to the commentary only to be repeatedly interrupted with advertisements at totally inopportune and ridiculous moments. For example, breaks for ads before all balls in an over had been bowled, or to hear only a couple of words from the commentators before someone, somewhere again decided to leave the live cricket so another advertisement could be squeezed in while a fast bowler was on his run up!

It appears those who control the buttons, have no appreciation or understanding that commentary and informing the viewers is part of a cricket presentation. This was maximum saturation and all it did for me was to want to buy a rival product!

World tournaments should be remembered as a great occasion, perhaps the pinnacle of a player's careers. But how successful was 2007 and were the islands ever capable of doing a good job to satisfy everyone? The anticipation of playing cricket in the Caribbean with the West Indian islands (and Guyana in South America) as host nations had great appeal. I am sure the players and the tourists who visited the islands enjoyed themselves, but the locals have been disappointed with some aspects of the event and organization. 

New grounds had been built and that will help develop West Indian cricket in the future, which is the good news. However, with the exception of the revamped Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, which was a fitting venue for the final, and Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, most other grounds lacked history and tradition, a foundation on which the game is built.

Newly-laid pitches created uncertainty for the players but to be fair, I don't think they can be too critical of the conditions played on. If teams wanted to win the World Cup they had to adapt to the varying conditions from island to island -- well done to all the ground staff.  

Unfortunately for me, the World Cup in the Caribbean will be remembered for the wrong reasons. The ICC may give it a pass mark, but overall, the competition was far too long and boring. There were poor crowds probably due to high-ticket prices for the locals. Hoteliers hiked the accommodation prices threefold to exploit tourists and cash-in on the event.

Some people cancelled their trip when India and Pakistan were eliminated and cancellation fees applied with money not being refunded. There was a lack of West Indian atmosphere at the grounds with musical instruments banned until the organizers were forced to review the situation. There were too many one-sided matches and not enough close tantalizing finishes. Two top teams were eliminated too early in the competition, which devalued the Super Eight rounds, and there was a lack of true competition to test the Australians.

The tragic and controversial death of Pakistan coach, Bob Woolmer, stunned the world -- some people called for the World Cup to be cancelled but the show had to go on. I can only assume Bob would have wanted that.

Now, all the review processes will take place, some already have. Blame will be apportioned to various people for early exits from the competition and not winning the Cup. The inevitable selector, coach and captain sackings will happen and retirements will see the end of the road for some worthy players who have graced the field for a long period of time -- thanks for the memories. New personnel will take over key roles and countries will start planning for the next meeting of nations in four years time � roll on 2011. India, be prepared! 

--Distributed by GE Features

Previous columns:

- Sri Lanka's bowling attack will test the Aussies
- Sabina Park pitch may suit the Kiwis
Who are we to decide Tendulkar's fate?
- A strong India is good for world cricket
- Sri Lanka continue to be a threat
- Form favours Australia
Will India be bold enough to play two spinners?
- Time for a new world champion
- Captains need to be more aware 

The Cup: Complete Coverage

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