The 11th Cricket World Cup has just kicked off in Australia and New Zealand with 42 meaningless games and seven important ones of course. But why such? Let us consider what we fans saw in the 2007 edition held in West Indies. The tournament turned to be a financial disaster after team India was out from it at early stage. As an aftermath, fans in millions switched off their TV sets. Indian broadcasters lost advertising revenues in millions.
This time, to ensure 2007 is not repeated, the tournament is such designed that the big teams stay in, especially the Indian team. With this millions of cricket fans will stick to their TV sets and advertising revenue will boom. The catch here is to make team India stay in the tournament for longest possible time.
There are fourteen participant teams and they are split into Group A and Group B. Each of the groups has four front-rank cricket sides like the team India and Australia team. Three minnows are included to make seven teams in one group. The minnows are like Ireland and Afghanistan.
Now, it is to take note that the first 42 games will be played within the groups. In the quarter-finals the eight top teams will qualify, and these eight will be the eight front-rank sides, and the competition will get serious.
In India around 80 percent of the youths under age 25 follows cricket to a great extent. A survey says this for the nation with 1.2 billion populations. In New Zealand, with around 4 million populations, people mostly follow rugby to cricket.
Now, if India has commercial heft to shape international cricket, why the team Indian not better than the players of New Zealand who has all the chance of winning the World Cup. Well, explanation to this is complicated. Probably the poverty, malnutrition and bad sports administration have all to say. Moreover, an elitist cricket culture prefers batsmen over bowlers. This may also be one of the reasons why India is unable to harness the talents of its great population.
However, amid all these, in the past one decade, it can be said India’s record is improving.
Apart from all these, it is not to forget the magnitude of Indians’ love for the game is incomprehensible. Earlier this month the highest civilian honor in India was given to the recently retired batsman Sachin Tendulkar. It was celebrated wildly. Just to take note, a country with 1.2 billion people presently has only one nationally-popular game and when any big game is played, around 400 million watches on television. The take-off is so high, and now the game is demanding for proper play such as good pitch, expensive equipment, playing ground and more, but it is doleful to say that only a handful of Indians have access to. If the situation is such, why do all love the game so much?
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