The day cricket lovers across the world have been waiting for with bated breath has finally come and gone. The 19th of February 2011 marked the start of the World Cup in the sub-continent . India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh welcomed the 14 nations that will lock horns to adorning cricket fans till the 2nd of April, the razzmatazz of this prestigious tournament is lucidly palpable as cricket is the most adored sport in these areas more so India as some cricket stars are held in higher stratification than even Bollywood movie stars. The visuals of the reception of the Proteas just showed evidence of how the Asians embrace the gladiators of the gentleman’s game. Mobs congregated around the Men In Black-style regaled Proteas in sunglasses and all to give a heroes’ welcome to Graem Smith and his men with more fervor than they probably sometimes see in their own country.This is how seriously cricket is taken in these areas.
Anyway the games have gotten underway as and everyone has at least played one game and no upsets have been registered as yet but some of the minnows have given a caveat to the bigger teams. One of the teams that showed some determination is Bangladesh who faced India in the first game. Though India served them their lunch they had stints of good play to show why they been taken seriosusly as of late in world cricket. Virenda Sehwag was pernicious as he registered the first century of the World Cup with a fire power 170 to an admiring home crowd who were also entertained by the talented Virat Kohli. Kohli played with his usual dexterity that extends to the way he fields which almost certainly matches Ajay Jadeja’s caliber and India hasn’t seen a fielder that good in a while. The stands have also come to the party literally and figuratively, peerless to any other parts of the world one would think it is a carnival as crescendo drums and brass instruments play endlessly. In fact only the Caribbean and St George’s Park could give as much action in the stands.
Holland managed to give England a run for their money but maybe England’s comical mistakes in the out field is the reason they got into any spot of bother that enabled the Dutch to get away from them a bit. Ryan ten Doeschate managed a ton for himself when he perhaps should have gotten out earlier if it wasn’t for miscommunication between Kevin Peterson and Jimmy Anderson. Other results have pretty much gone to the bigger teams.
The other interesting aspect of this tournament is the review system which wasn’t used when India came to the country recently which is quite astounding. The whole 3rd umpire system of the game was established in the Friendship Tour some years back when India came to the country in the 90s and they actually could have benefitted from it if it wasn’t for Steve Bucknor’s intransigence when Jonty Rhodes was out and it wasn’t reviewed and he went on to score 90. Why it wasn’t used on this tour is quite baffling cause England actually managed to draw the Test Series against South Africa last summer because of this system they managed to review some match changing decisions which went right for them and justice was served.
The system has been used mostly for LBW decisions, the Zimbabweans would not have gotten any wickets if it wasn’t for this system as Australian openers Brad Haddin and Shane Watson both fell to reviews when the umpire had judged them not out. Sometimes though the system hasn’t been used because an earlier one was used and the latter action would have constituted a dismissal. Together with the dynamics of the powerplay there are new dimensions to the game that just make the game more exciting.The reviews also get wasted as was the case when Darren Bravo gave a timid signal for a review against South Africa. This review and that of Ramnaresh Sarwan a few overs later are good examples of exploitative use. One wonders what sort of impact does this have for the umpire. The World Cup is still going to reach fever pitch and we all await that, we await bigger sixes and more hundreds.