Friday, December 10, 2010

The Group of Life

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Okay so we do watch ODIs every once in a while.

Sometimes they are hard to ignore. Especially when a clean sweep is involved.

NEO Cricket's "Mission Domination" Campaign was looking misplaced until Yousuf Pathan played that savage innings just when Duckworth and Lewis seemed set to dictate the game. I admit I did not watch the entire innings but from what I did, it seemed brutal and obscene. I wished innings like these come with parental controls.

Unless India get the seniors to play as a team in South Africa, India will go into the World Cup without having played as a unit. But Kapil Dev recently made an interesting observation. Like in 1983 the 2011 World Cup is right after a grueling tour. It was West Indies then and South Africa now.

But more about India's chances a few weeks later...

As my mind wandered towards the World Cup, I noticed the Groups. Here is Group A

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Zimbabwe
  • Canada
  • Kenya
Why have the ICC grouped all teams that are in decline, crisis or minnows in one group?

Australia, will enter the tournament having possibly lost 2 Ashes series in a row since the last world cup.

New Zealand were reduced to tears in Bangladesh and India. They have followed up their 2007 semi-final appearance by slipping to #7 in the ODI rankings.

Pakistan have spectacularly disintegrated since the murder of their coach Bob Woolmer. And we all thought that was their lowest point

Sri Lanka come into the world cup having been unable to put it across a Sammy led West Indian outfit and were even forced to follow-on. Yes they did win in Australia but statistical numbers involving Australia in 2010 should come with an asterisk; like they do for Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Also Sri Lanka since their finals appearance in 2007 have complied a comfortably losing record 29 wins to 32 losses against the top 6 teams in the world.

And yet, none of this will matter because all of them will most certainly make it to the quarter finals.

So a month and a bit more of meaningless group matches later we will officially know that these 4 teams who have consistently underperformed since the last world cup, will qualify for the knock out stages of the world cup.


Mahek said...

The groups were made quite a while back so the ICC had no way of knowing how teams would be going into the World Cup.

Here's a counterpoint to your argument though. 3 of the 4 semi-finalists from the 2009 Champions Trophy and the 2010 T20 World Cup are in Group A. India have been rubbish in major tournaments since 2003, the only exception being the 2007 T20 World Cup. South Africa haven't won an ICC tournament since 1998. So how can we really say Group A is weaker than Group B?

Golandaaz said...


Of course you are right. But try as they might the ICC just can't get the format right. Its not the question of which group is strong, rather how the teams are trending.

Group A is all full of teams trending South whereas Group B the story is quite different

Group A matches will have no real drama associated and we will have 4 weeks of meaningless matches.

Mahek said...

I think it's a bit presumptuous to say Group A matches won't have any drama. But even if I were to agree that Group A is weaker than Group B, it's not a problem with the format. We could've had 3 groups of 5 teams each and still had this problem if Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka had ended up in the same group.

But coming back to your point about Group A, I don't see how it's considerably weaker. Australia's ODI record of late hasn't been bad by any stretch of imagination. Sure they've lost their two recentmost series, but one of them was a 1 ODI series and the other was a 2-1 loss for an experimental side against a full strength Lankan outfit. Sri Lanka beat India in the final of the recent tri-series and had done so earlier this year in Bangladesh. Pakistan are the only side to have made the semis of every ICC event since the 2007 ODI World Cup. New Zealand appear to be weak but can we really say they're any worse than the West Indies? You even predicted a mauling for them in the tests but they only lost 1-0.

Golandaaz said...

My point Mehek, is that realistically none of Zim, Ken and Canada have a chance. So these 4 qualify in spite of going into the WC clearly on the decline.

Vidooshak said...

On the contrary, Zim might spring a surprise on the hapless Kiwis, given what Bangladesh and India did to them.