February 17, 2013

Good, but lessons still to learn

Alison Mitchell

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

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Posted by Ragini on (February 20, 2013, 13:29 GMT)

Good points Mitchell...format needs to be changed so that teams play more matches...and umpiring needs to be standard..as we have reviewing system in 2011 Men's world cup..

Also women's series shud not run parallely to men's series...as has happened now...only few test matches in b/w the last 20 days..so that women cricket get more attention..

also loved ur dance in Ind vs SL match..you were gud...Keep writing :)

Posted by Robert on (February 20, 2013, 0:50 GMT)

Good tournament, well played Australia. ICC have to make a stand, DRS in all International matches, no ifs, no buts.

Posted by Robert on (February 20, 2013, 0:46 GMT)

I thought it was a good tournament, although the Super Sixes have to go. Just play 2 groups, top 2 in each group advance to semi-final (A1 v B2, B1 v A2) then final, (keep playoffs for positions 3-????, it's used for rankings. And I agree, more high profile umpires (was good to see a female umpire in some of the games, need more,) ........ and more TV and advertising as well

Posted by stogy on (February 19, 2013, 0:52 GMT)

I really enjoyed the tournament, and loved watching all the games that I saw, whether on Cricinfo or on tv (both at the same time when I could). Kudos to all the players!

I think it was a bad idea to schedule all or most of the pool and Super Six games at the same time. In terms of coverage, this meant that only one of three or four games made it onto live-to-air television, which then reduced opportunities for more people to see the games. I also hate the Super Six points problem. All teams should keep all points going into the next round, or start with a bigger pool.

Cricinfo's coverage got better as the tournament went on, with some nice columns and good commentary. However many player profiles were incomplete and it was difficult to find live scores on mobile devices early in the tournament. For the games that weren't covered, more regular score updates would have been nice - these were easily available through the official cup site, and could have been updated every over or two.

Posted by Ash on (February 18, 2013, 20:39 GMT)

The format made sense until the all important last phase. Why stage a meaningless 3rd place match instead of two semi finals? @derek bowland - India's refusal to accept DRS in bilateral series is irrelevant. All global tournaments are staged by the ICC and they decide whether or not to employ DRS. I'm not convinced that the Indian public is any more 'celebrity obsessed' than elsewhere, nor that public interest in women's cricket is notably higher outside India.

Posted by martin on (February 18, 2013, 15:18 GMT)

Was it too politically sensitive to mention the fact Australia were offered the chance to choose their opponent in the Final and decided to plump for W Indies?

Fair play to the W Indies for putting themselves in that position but a Final against England would have been the rightful conclusion to this tournament.

Super 6's have no future in cricket.

Posted by Uter65 on (February 18, 2013, 13:59 GMT)

In terms of format for 2017, I like the idea of having 10 teams in 2 groups of five. Where I differ is that I think more value should be given to the teams coming first in each of the groups, and they should get a bye through to the semi finals with 2 v 3 from both groups playing off against each other for the right to play the winner of each group in a semi.

To have a super six section in a tournament of just 8 teams seems a little silly, but I think the organisers erred in then only having the top 2 play off in a final, as situations like the super six match between the windies and australia could happen where aspersions have been cast about australia tanking the game. Having said that, England/Wales lost 2 matches to both sri lanka and australia so they do have themselves to blame for putting their team in such a situation where whther they mad the final or not was out of their hands.

Posted by luke thomas on (February 18, 2013, 9:23 GMT)

I would also like to see a top four out of the super six stage and have semi finals and then a final.

Posted by Ricky on (February 18, 2013, 7:54 GMT)

mmmmmm all in all a good competition from the women, esp Australia, maybe the ICC need to tweak the Super Six part of the Comp. Maybe go back to old skool Q4 AND SEMI'S then FINALE , i am really not a great fan of the super sixes it does not seem a very fair way to run a WC competition as it can be manipulate to suit particularly if you are a top team :-(. England let them selves down by losing to Aus by 2 runs but should have been in the mix at the end. A STRONG FINAL GAME FOR Australia shame they could not have done that in the first game they played the West Indies Women :-). India need to make some changes to compete on the VERY TOP LEVEL i feel, maybe next time ?

Posted by derek bowland on (February 17, 2013, 21:23 GMT)

One thing Alison didn't mention: the total apathy of the celebrity-obsessed Indian public. That, together with BCCI's refusal to accept the DRS, convinces me that, as things stand, India should not be hosting international cricket tournaments.

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