Ross Slater makes his Bay 13 debut.
Here, he tackles the issue of the World Cup draw and provides some sensible solutions.
Do you agree with him or have other ideas?
Please leave Ross a note in the comments section to continue the discussion.
The biggest problem with the cricket World Cup is its format.
Two groups of seven teams with the top four qualifying for the quarter finals is junk. With six group stage games, three wins should see you through to the knock out rounds.
There is too little riding on each of the group games with qualification for the quarter finals too easy to achieve. It makes the group stage a phoney war. Having weaker nations play six games each is also far from ideal as it diminishes the quality of the product on offer.
The reason for the current format is the 2007 World Cup.
India were bundled out after just three games and Indian TV networks were up in arms as viewer numbers dropped. A longer group stage that guaranteed India six matches and appeased the TV executives was required, hence the current format.
I propose an expansion of the World Cup and a tweak to the 2007 format that will mean more games are meaningful and have consequence, that will fit with TV requirements, that will grow the game and will raise the overall quality of matches played.
Here’s How To Do It
Just like in 2007, there would be 16 teams with four groups of four teams. However the groups need to be stacked.
In 2007 India, West Indies, Australia and England were placed in different groups for logistical reasons – they were thought to have the most travelling fans and the nations of the West Indies have limited transport and accommodation infrastructure, so the teams were separated.
India were placed in the pool of death with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
If the groups can be arbitrarily organised for logistics, then it’s time to stack the groups so India are guaranteed to progress out of the group stage.
Just like FIFA give CONCACAF more World Cup qualification spots than they probably deserve to ensure the USA always make the World Cup, the ICC should stack the first group stage to ensure India progress to the second round.
Put India in a group of four with Ireland, Netherlands and UAE.
It’s not fair but, life’s not fair.
Under this format, the top two from each group qualify for a second group stage. This makes every match in the first group stage meaningful and means that the weaker nations only play three matches, not the current six. This therefore improves the quality of the matches played.
For the second group stage, rather than the elongated Super 8’s phase as per 2007, the eight qualifying teams would be split into two groups of four: A1, B2, C1, D2 in one group and A2, B1, C2, D1 in another group.
Each team then plays the other teams in it’s group, another three games, with the top two qualifying for the semi finals. This means India would be guaranteed six matches.
1st group stage: 24 games
2nd group stage: 12 games
Then semi-finals and the final.
39 games in total with the Indian matches scheduled as stand alone games in the prime TV slots.
If you think 16 teams is too many, remember there are sides like the Netherlands and Kenya who have not qualified for this World Cup that could easily fill the two additional spots.
But expansion shouldn’t end at 16 teams. There is also Canada, Namibia and Bermuda who have made a World Cup this century. Furthermore, Dave Richardson, CEO of the ICC, is on record as saying he wants the USA to make a World Cup.
The only way I can see the USA qualifying for a World Cup is to increase the number of competing teams.
Expanding to 20 teams, the format would be five groups of four in the first group stage with the top two from each qualifying for the second group stage.
The 10 qualifying teams would then be split into two groups of five in the second group stage.
1st group stage: 30 games
2nd group stage: 16 games
Semi finals and final.
49 games – the same number of games as the 2015 World Cup.
Once again, the groups in the first group stage would be stacked so India get through to the second group stage – that guarantees India seven games.
The weaker nations still only play three matches each but the stronger nations play 16 games against one another in the second group stage, lifting the quality of the matches on offer in the World Cup.
The TV networks are happy, India gets more guaranteed games and cricket gets to expand to a World Cup involving 20 teams and hopefully for the ICC the USA qualify.
What do you guys think?