April 1, 2015

The big losers at this World Cup

Step forward Mustafa Kamal and Anuskha Sharma

You could tell from her not painting her face in the Indian colours that Anushka Sharma would be the architect of the team's downfall © Getty Images

If you read the post-World Cup media, you will find widespread agreement that this latest World Cup was a very good World Cup. Admittedly there has never been a bad World Cup, because, let's face it, a World Cup is six weeks of watching cricket and six weeks of watching cricket is never going to be bad, is it?

But although the World Cup was very good, that doesn't mean that everyone at the World Cup had a very good World Cup. Even as we speak a thousand fingers are tapping at a thousand keyboards to produce the rash of post-World Cup reviews with which all but one of the world's cricket boards will attempt to justify themselves.

These reviews, like General Election manifestos, are designed primarily for waving at people when they ask you what you're going to do about something, and like General Election manifestos, will be recycled as budgerigar cage flooring and papier mache fairy castles a few weeks after publication, but they do serve a useful psychological purpose in helping certain inviduals to recover from crushing failure and disappointment.

So who didn't have a very good World Cup? Well let's start at the top, with ICC President Mustafa Kamal, who got very cross after Sunday's final.

"I was supposed to give the trophy today. But very unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to do so. My rights were dishonoured."

I agree. This failure to let Mr Kamal hand the trophy to a sweaty Australian ruined the whole occasion. Instead, they got someone called Srinivasan to do it. Although, to be fair to the ICC, they may have got this Mr Kamal confused with the other Mr Kamal, the one who had this to say after the quarter-final between Bangladesh and India:

"There was no quality in the umpiring. It seemed as if they had gone into the match with something in mind. I am speaking as a fan, not as the ICC President."

Obviously the ICC aren't going to let some random fan hand over a trophy. Perhaps President Kamal should get in touch with Mr Kamal the fan and ask him to stop impersonating a high-ranking ICC dignitary.

Mr Kamal wasn't the only person to have a bad World Cup. The Indian team acquitted themselves well, reaching the semi-finals. But not every Sharma in the Indian squad pulled their weight. Am I being a bit harsh on Rohit or Mohit? Not at all. I'm talking, obviously, about Anushka.

Next to the position of captain and vice-captain, the position of Virat Kohli's girlfriend is the most important role in the Indian team and Anushka clearly let everyone down. Not only did she fail to score any runs or take any wickets, she was directly responsible for the lazy pull shot he played in the 16th over of the semi-final.

How was she responsible? Well a bit of research on Twitter produced the following pieces of damning evidence:

1. She is a woman
2. She is a famous woman
3. She is a famous woman who is Virat Kohli's girlfriend

Still not convinced? Well, perhaps that's because you don't really understand the sport. You see, professional cricketers spend most of their lives in cricket monasteries, where they do nothing all day but practice their forward defensives, drink isotonic sports products and polish their endorsements. These poor, innocent creatures live sheltered lives, and are entirely unable to cope in the real world, which is why, when exposed to the company of actresses, they go completely to pot.

But spotting what went wrong is the easy part. The most important bit of any post World-Cup performance review is the conclusion. What lessons can be learnt?

For example, during this World Cup, we've learned that some fans are unaware of the fact that sports teams don't always win. Adults generally don't need this explaining to them, so we can assume that most of the people throwing abuse around on Twitter after India's defeat are below the age of legal responsibility and should be in school.

If you were one of them, here's what to do. Take a deep breath, apologise profusely to anyone you have insulted, then take out a fresh piece of paper, and write upon it one hundred times in your best handwriting: "I am not entitled to behave like a moron just because India lost a game of cricket." Trust me, it's for your own good.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. @hughandrews73

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