• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

How Can We Fix the Cricket World Cup?

BySam Lewis

Nov 10, 2023
Narendra Modi Stadiumoplus_1024

We’re nearing the end of the group stage of the Cricket World Cup in India, and the action should be heating up. Yet I, like many fans I know, have little to no interest in this tournament. The question of why this flagship ICC (International Cricket Council) tournament is struggling could have long-reaching implications for the future of the game while also revealing the base incompetence of cricket’s governance. 

There are multiple factors that have contributed to this disconnect with cricket’s marquee event: for one, England have played poorly (poor is a nicer word than what I’d like to say, but I digress). The group stage has also taken a lot of time, despite the semi-finalists elect being obvious much earlier. There have been very few thrillers, and finally, the tournament administration has been shambolic, as seen through the limited allocation of visas to journalists and fans from Pakistan, which completely ruined the atmosphere of cricket’s biggest grudge match.

But while it might be fun to complain (and I could for days), it probably makes a more compelling read to discuss how to fix some of these issues.

Firstly, England. This is different from the others in that it doesn’t have an objective fix. But, in the time since Eoin Morgan, the former captain who revolutionised England in the shorter formats, retired, we’ve seen the complete collapse of a team that had the potential to go down as one of the all-time great white-ball sides. The biggest issue is the lack of 50-over matches (also known as one-day or ODI matches), but that’s a discussion for another article. A lack of close games is another issue that is beyond the scope of this article but probably speaks to the lessening importance of one-day games in world cricket. The pool stage, however, has felt tiring more than anything and has taken a long time to complete. So, how could we fix this?

Immediately, the introduction of double headers could drastically cut the time needed to play out the groups and wouldn’t add much more to players’ workloads. Furthermore, the introduction of two pools of five would halve the number of matches, allowing for a quicker flow of games. It would also leave less opportunity for certain teams to pull ahead, meaning that going into the later rounds of matches, there is a chance for late drama around making the final cut. It would also mean that the semi-finals would be matches that have not been seen yet, upping the excitement. It also provides less of an opportunity for star players to get injured by the attritional nature of the current format, which serves them and the fans.

All this would allow for a much more manageable tournament and would protect interest in ODI cricket for future generations. Whether this would reignite my interest in the competition, we’ll never know, but it would certainly help with the white-ball burnout felt by many fans.

Narendra Modi Stadium view from the gallery” by A Cricket Premi is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.