Good, but lessons still to learn
The cricket at the Women’s World Cup 2013 has largely been exciting and unpredictable, and it has been a privilege to commentate on the action. Australia were worthy winners, having lost only once, their final Super Six match against West Indies, by which time they had already secured their place in the final.
There are a few things, however, which would enhance the tournament further, and which I very much hope are put in place, or reinstated for the World Cup in 2017. I would like to have seen an umpire from the ICC’s elite panel standing during the World Cup, as there was for the first ICC-run World Cup in 2009 when Australian Steve Davis - highly respected by the players - officiated throughout and took charge of the final. The format of the tournament would also be better with teams able to take all points gained at the group stage through into the Super Sixes. The fact Sri Lanka beat India convincingly meant India were knocked out but the points Sri Lanka earned against them were lost. Sri Lanka would have been better off trying to manipulate the run chase to win by a smaller margin and ensure India also went through. That is never a healthy situation.
It was great to have national anthems played at the start of the World Cup final, as it brought a real sense of occasion to the match. This is the first World Cup I’ve been to where there have been no anthems during the rest of the tournament though, which was a shame. There was little to no World Cup branding around Mumbai or at the Cricket Club of India either. In 2009, the North Sydney Oval was adorned with ICC Women’s World Cup hoarding and you knew you were at an important event. A single sign at the main gate to the ground was the only publicity the tournament was afforded around the city, although the ICC did concentrate its publicity drive through digital means, using Twitter and Facebook. They also spent good money in housing the players at the wonderful Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, which is where the men tend to stay when in the city. However, some players have been heard to say they wouldn’t have minded staying in a slightly less luxurious surroundings if they knew the money was being better spent elsewhere on the tournament. It can be hard to get the balance right.
Hopefully this tournament, and the tremendous improvement shown by Sri Lanka in particular, will encourage more of the ‘top’ nations to arrange bilateral tours with the likes of Sri Lanka and West Indies to aid the game’s global development. Prior to the World Cup final, West Indies had only played four ODIs against Australia - and they’ve been playing one-day international cricket since way back in 1973.
Prior to the final it was good to see messages of support being tweeted from all over the world to both the Australia and West Indies teams, giving the positive impression that this tournament was being talked about far more than any other I have reported from. In particular, the players’ male counterparts sent in their good luck messages.
West Indies captain Darren Sammy said: “What you doing tomorrow morning? I will be supporting West Indies Women in World Cup final! #wwc13.”
Mitchell Starc, boyfriend of Australia’s Alyssa Healy, tweeted: “Big good luck to the @_SouthernStars in the World Cup final today! Go well girls! #wwc13 #cmonaussie.”
And Tino Best picked out a fellow Bajan for special mention: “Big up to my girl Deandra Dottin as she and the windies women take on Australia in the World Cup final. Shine bright #wwc13.”
The sight I will miss most upon leaving Mumbai is that of Oval Maidan, the playing field which fills to bursting point with cricketers and cricket matches as the sun starts to sink and the heat of the day wears off. You cannot meander from one end to the other across the rough, scorched grass without encroaching on somebody’s game. Indeed the fielder at short fine leg of one match might easily be standing with his back to 3rd man of another, such is the seemingly haphazard, yet somehow organized, criss-crossing of matches. The High Court building and the Rajabai clock tower make for a stunning backdrop and it is one of my favourite places to stroll in this part of south Mumbai. I may well have felt at home looking up to tell the time, as the clock tower was modeled on London’s Big Ben and designed by an English architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott. It is named ‘Rajabai’ after the mother of the wealthy stock broker who funded the construction, which was finished in 1878.
Alison tweets at @AlisonMitchell