Friday, June 20, 2008

The Asia Cup Schedule: And They Wonder Why ODI Cricket Is Dying

So apparently something called the Asia Cup is being held this week. While this in and of itself is cause for excitement, what makes it all the better is the format of the tournament.

There are two groups of three teams. Group A consists of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Hong Kong. Group B consists of India, Pakistan, and the U.A.E. Each group will have a round-robin, from which a total of four teams - two from each group - will advance.

Following this, the top two teams from each group advance to the semis, and then the final. Actually, wait, they don't. That would be the case only if we lived in a world where the thought processes of cricket administrators were governed and dictated by logic and reason. Instead, the remaining four teams - Super Fours so to speak - then play another round-robin set of fixtures, including repeats of intra-group games from the first round. This means that before the final is even played, Pakistan will play India twice, assuming we can get past UAE - no safe assumption given the fact that Mohammad Asif was just let off scot free in Dubai. Sri Lanka will similarly play Bangladesh twice, assuming those two can get past the juggernaut that is Hong Kong.

Again, let's think about this for a second. The ICC (or the dumbasses in charge of the various Asian boards, whatever) thinks we need twelve games to winnow six teams into two for the final. We need twelve games to figure this out. In a tournament where Bangladesh is not one of the two worst sides (I am struggling to come up with a historical precedent for this), we need twelve games to get from six teams to two. And of those six teams, three are Bangladesh, Hong Kong, and the UAE. Does this make sense to anyone? Anyone at all?

International cricket authorities killed the ODI game by making its players play it too much. It was thought of as a snazzy, fast-paced alternative, and because it was so lucrative, the authorities didn't tire of it, and forgot about the principle of decreasing marginal returns. The same set of circumstances apply to T-20 cricket, and I have little doubt, on the basis of the evidence provided by the Asia Cup, that the ICC doesn't learn, and will kill whatever golden goose comes into their grasp.


Anonymous said...

So I was at a wedding at PC a few hours ago. I arrived at the wedding right after the Pakistan cricket team had. Sohail Tanvir called my friend (the bride) a preetyy gurl. And then I saw the Hong Kong team arriving as I waited for my car. Rather uneventful but they all seem like a bunch of wankers. Didn't look like athletes at all.

Ahsan said...


Was this in Lahore or Karachi?