Unique World Cup battle: India versus India

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 16, 2011 07:18 hrs

Till the nineties, it used to be England and Australia versus the rest of the world in cricket's administration battles. Then the Indian sub-continent got together and formed a power bloc and voted together for some time. Later India and Pakistan had a falling out.

Off late, it is India all the way. Look at the decision to strip Eden Gardens of the India-England match. Fingers are being pointed all over with everyone saying: It's not my fault!

The parties involved are: Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), the BCCI and ICC. Who's heading the CAB? Ex-ICC and ex-BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya. Who's heading the ICC? His nemesis Sharad Pawar. Who's heading the BCCI? Pawar protege Shashank Manohar. As they say, it's all in the family!

India at the World Cup

At the end of it all, it's just another India versus India versus India battle.

The rest of the cricketing world continues to be a mute spectator.

Do you require UDRS practice?

If you haven't used UDRS on a regular basis, then will you be at a disadvantage on handling it in the World Cup? You only get limited chances and you've got to make sure that you use them wisely.

For example, if a bowler wants to ask for a review of an LBW decision, he had better check with the wicketkeeper for nicks and with fielders for the height factor. Then there's a tendency for hawk-eye to give more outs than commentators and umpires. So if a batsman wants to appeal a close LWB, then he may more often than not lose the appeal.

While going after a target, where close chases are accepted, should you save a final appeal for the slog overs when you might need it more critically?

The basics are quite simple and most teams are used to the UDRS by now. All except India, which has fought it tooth and nail. As a result, we are the least experienced team in handling UDRS first hand.

The UDRS will kick in from the quarter-final stage. Let's see if India is comfortable with it and if it becomes a proponent after the tournament.

After the Football WC and Olympics...

Everyone knows that the most watched sports events in the world are the FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympics. But did you know that cricket's big one comes in third? That's a big achievement considering that cricket is regularly played in only 8-10 countries.

Top 10 World Cup upsets

TV rights for the 2011 and 2015 editions went in excess of $1 billion and sponsorship rights for a half-a-billion. More than 600,000 spectators attended both the 2003 and 2007 WCs each.

Unlike the Olympics, no-one takes the mascot of the tournament seriously. The official mascot this time is an elephant called Stumpy. The official song is ''De Ghuma Ke'' by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The official event ambassador is Sachin Tendulkar.

The prize money is $3 million for the winners and $1.5 million for the runner-up.

Whither women power?

There are many sports where the men's and women's events elicit equal enthusiasm. Tennis is one of them. It is a mystery why a cricket crazy nation like India is not that interested in women's cricket.

Did you know that the first Women's Cricket World Cup was first held in England in 1973, a clear two years before the men's edition? India also hosted the women's edition in 1978, again nine years before it hosted the men's version.

Australia dominates here too, having won five titles

The only sad part is that India has never won it yet. Is that a reason for the lack of interest? India went totally berserk after the 1983 miracle. One only hopes Indian women can replicate that.

India is hosting the tournament again in 2013.

World Cup 2011

Will it be 10th time lucky for the women's cricket team then?

A winning last stand?

In previous tournaments, Imran Khan (1992), Arvind de Silva (1996), Steve Waugh (1999), and Adam Gilchrist (2007) played an integral part in their team's title victory and never played a world cup again.

Will anyone do the same for his team in 2011? The person foremost on everyone's mind is Sachin Tendulkar, who will turn 38 in the month the WC final is played and most certainly will not play a world cup again.

Other candidates for making a winning last stand are: Muttiah Muralitharan (38), Ricky Ponting (36), Jacques Kallis (35), Paul Collingwood (34) and Younis Khan (33).

It is also said to be Graeme Smith's last ODI tournament as captain.

Let's see which of them bow out in style!

(The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger)