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Monday, March 19, 2007

World Cup - on and off the field

What is happening at the latest World Cup? There seems to be chaos both on and off the field. It has been quite an eventful start to the cricketing showpiece. But, the one that has overshadowed all events has to be the untimely death of Bob Woolmer. People cannot still believe that the man who had the most challenging position of World Cricket (as Pakistan's coach) succumbed to the pressures of the same. What caused his death is still not known, but the pressure would have definitely added to the cause. Pray God to give his family the strength to deal with the current
situation.

The next big thing off the field has to be the English party. Freddy Flintoff seems to be going back in time, to his ways in the bar. Again, the details dont seem to be clear. Why a team should stay till early hours in the morning, after their defeat is not clear - were they drinking off their woes in the pub? Or was it the usual stuff the "boys" engage themselves in? How Flintoff could get into such a position, after having been the captain of the England team recently - is a surprise. No wonder he is compared to Ian Botham!!!

On the field, Pakistan were again involved in the biggest shock upset of all World Cups - against Ireland. That their batting collapsed in this match, would be the greater reason of the upset. On the same day, the Indians also lost to Bangladesh. It must be the day all the minnows should look at and try to emulate. No longer will there be cries from the cricketing fraternity on whether the minnows do not deserver the place in the World Cup. Obviously, teams like Bermuda do not automatically qualify for their place, but the others have not done too badly either.

Bangladesh's upset of India must be making all the people involved in the commercials of the World Cup worried. Once the Indian team is out of the tournament (so early), the Television rankings will surely plummet. That is not good news for all the television channels who have paid heavily for their exclusive rights. The Indian and Pakistan team fans have reacted in a violent fashion on hearing the news of their teams defeats. The Indian team went through a similar patch last tournament as well (when they were bowled out for 200+ by Holland - though they won the match, unlike here). The only way for them to go forward, is up. God save the Pakistan team from the wrath of their fans when they land back home.

So, if things proceed in the way it is going now, the teams that would qualify for the Super 8s could well read - Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, England, West Indies, Ireland. 3 relatively easier teams for the rest of the teams - Bangladesh, Ireland, England - on paper atleast. What can happen on the field, is unknown. There seems to be a tussle for the last 2 slots (between 3 teams) in the semi-finals with only Australia, South Africa looking the clear favorites. New Zealand, Sri Lanka, West Indies will have to fight it out in a grim battle to qualify for the semis.
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