When India won the 1983 Cricket World Cup, I was not even born. Thanks to the TVs and the cricket being worshipped as a religion in this part of the world, memories of 1983 when Kapil’s Devils, considered as bits of pieces players, brought the cup home are still fresh in the minds of every Indian. The sight of the silvery trophy and Kapil’s toothy smile evoke in us passions which are difficult to control.
After almost three decades, as the tournament has come to the subcontinent for the third time, Dhoni and his men are riding high and so are a billion India hopes. And as many experts have pointed out, this is India’s best chance to take home the trophy in a long while, notwithstanding that bowling remains a weak link in the cog. This is also probably Sachin Tendulkar’s last opportunity to hold aloft the world cup trophy, elusive so far to be adorned in his illustrial career and for which every cricketer worth his salt longs for.
For cricket fanatics in the subcontinent, the greater show on the earth kicked off on the 17th February 2011 and for the next 42 days the Cup and cricket will rule our minds. This world cup is also vital from the point of view of its viability. The relevance of one-day cricket (i.e, 50-overs cricket) is facing its biggest threat; it is getting squeezed between the purity of Test matches and the instant gratification of a T20. The one-day cricket is going through a series midlife crisis, which the ICC, the game’s administrator or TV broadcasters are finding it difficult to fathom. The 2007 World Cup was insipid and bloated. This World Cup is the acid test for one day cricket. If it is not an unqualified success, there will be greater pressures on all the stake holders to reassess the viability of the format. Signs of rot in the format have been manifest-since 2007 when India crashed out of the World Cup in the very first round and it magnified the absurdly long scheduling of the tournament.
This world cup is equally tedious with 49 games being played over 42 days. England and Australia have completely done away with the 50-over format in their domestic one-day leagues. While England has opted for 40-overs version, Australia has not allowed two batting innings of 25 and 20 overs each.
Let us, however, pray that this cup receives interest in one-day cricket, which was serendipitously discovered in Melbourne exactly 40 years ago.