River Wissey Lovell Fuller

The Village Pump Soapbox

April 2003


I have often railed against officialdom; basically, what gets my goat is that many people that are doing responsible jobs, do them irresponsibly and get paid a lot of money for the privilege.

My latest hobbyhorse is the cricket World Cup which has just finished in South Africa. Like the Soccer World Cup, this is the flagship tournament for the sport and gives a chance, every four years, for non-test playing countries to improve their game by pitting themselves against the best in the world. So this is something that needs careful planning to ensure a smooth and fair running. The International Cricket Council, the organisers, had four years to get it right, and what a cock-up they made of it.

Firstly, the timing was pitched right in the middle of the rainy season. The excuse would be that there was difficulty in fixing a period other than this when all the teams would be available. That is no reason to go ahead although to have allowed a second day to complete a rain affected match would have given some credence to such a decision. But this was not allowed so that matches that were washed out and those where no decision was possible left the teams to share two points each. This method of scoring was directly responsible for three of the best countries in the competition, the West Indies, England and most importantly, the host nation, South Africa, being eliminated.

The other desperately unfair decision was that teams should be made to play in Harare or forfeit the points. Zimbabwe should never have been a part of this World Cup as there has been instability accompanied by the concomitant security problems for over a year. After England received death threats, there was no way that our team could risk playing there so bang went, almost certainly, four points.

This article is not to find a scapegoat for England's failure to progress in the World Cup. They would never have got to the semi-finals, in my book, but South Africa may have done, as may the Windies. It is to highlight the flawed conception of the tournament by a bunch of overpaid ICC officials. Hopefully, not the cup is over, member countries of the ICC will get together and some heads will roll at the ICC.

Graham Forster

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