The 2015 Cricket World Cup is well and truly underway. At the time of writing we had 19 games in two weeks. We thought it would be an opportune moment to take stock.
We have had 14 centuries from 14 different players of eight different nationalities. South Africa (AB de Villiers, David Miller and JP Duminy), Sri Lanka (Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan) and West Indies (Lendl Simmons, Marlon Samuels and Chris Gayle) have each provided three centurions.
We have a new World Cup record – 215 by one Christopher Henry Gayle against Zimbabwe.
We have a new fastest World Cup century and new fastest ODI 150 – both courtesy of AB de Villiers against West Indies.
As you can probably tell, it has, thus far, been something of a batsman’s tournament. Tim Southee is the only man past 10 wickets at this stage, with 11.
His 7/33 against England is the best return so far, with Mitchell Marsh, Imran Tahir, Sohail Khan and Steve Finn joining his as the only bowlers to have registered five wicket hauls.
The major talking point, sadly, has been the ICC’s decision to cut the number of participants to 10 at the next two World Cups. Ireland, Afghanistan, UAE and Scotland have all contributed greatly to this tournament and no one seems able to comprehend the ICC’s reasoning.
Unfortunately, it very simple: money. It is far more lucrative to have the top teams playing each other than it is to have Ireland and UAE facing off, no matter how good the game might be. My only surprise is that people are surprised.
Everyone has jumped aboard the anti-England bandwagon; everyone wants to see them get beat including, seemingly, a lot of their own fans! A confused team being poorly led, with a penchant for arrogance – who doesn’t want to see them fail at some level?
Technology has also been back on the media agenda. The ‘Umpire’s Call’ aspect of the Decision Review System has caused some consternation. Will the ICC ever fully embrace the accuracy of the technology, or will it continue to try and find an unworkable compromise?
I feel that they should embrace it lock, stock and barrel. It is there to remove mistakes. The umpires are human, like the players. They all make mistakes, no matter how small. Either do away with those errors, or embrace them fully by removing the technology. As it stands, it is neither here nor there.
Speaking of umpiring error, there have been one or two murmurs of discontent as to the decisions reached. Samiullah Shenwari, the Afghan bowler, was removed from the attack after seven deliveries for thrice running down the wicket. Confusion reigned as it was not clear that Steve Davis, the umpire, had warned him twice previously.
James Taylor was also left stranded on 98* after James Anderson was wrongly given out, run out, after Taylor had reviewed an lbw decision that had been given against him. The ball should have been declared dead, Taylor should have had a chance at a maiden ODI hundred.
Finally, the format of the tournament. It is terrible. It is far too long and laboriously squeezes every last drop of revenue making capability from the tournament. The ICC have created a fantastic T20 World Cup. That tournament encompasses more teams, giving the minnows more exposure to the big boys – something they just do not get in the Future Tours Programme.
Why can the ICC not, then, create a fantastic ODI World Cup? The Group Stage lasts more than a month, then the knock-out stages are over in the blink of an eye.
By Miles Reucroft