February 14, 2011

ICC World Cup 2011

ICC's geniuses find cure for insomnia

George Binoy

Whichever team parades around the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai with the World Cup, each and every nation will share in the moment. From Bridgetown to Brisbane, Christchurch to Chittagong, bonfireworks will be detonated. Strangers will take to the streets, lock themselves together in passionate embrace and, despite the emotion, the words will finally find a way past that lump in the throat: "Thank God that's over," writes Martin Johnson in the Sunday Times.

Only a particular form of genius can take an already bloated format, keep it exactly the same length and give it one inspired tweak. Namely, make absolutely sure you know the identity of the eight teams for the knockout stages before the first ball is bowled, then take a month to get there. It's all to do with money, of course, although one day the television companies and sponsors might twig that selling your product to that bloke on the sofa is not so easy if he happens to have fallen into an irreversible coma.

The crowds will be excitable, as always on the subcontinent, which is just as well because the matches in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be played on pitches seemingly prepared by an undertaker with embalming fluid.

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George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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