March 24, 2003

Super Six absentees detract from tournament

As World Cups go, the South African version of 2003 fell short of expectations because of the failure of favoured teams to make the Super Six section of the tournament.

At what should have been the showpiece stage of the event, especially in the bid to retain interest, South Africa, the West Indies, Pakistan and England were all missing.

Say what you will about the state of the game in the world, no World Cup can afford to lose their combined fire power.

The tournament format was flawed. Hopefully this can be remedied for the good of the game before the World Cup of 2007.

Australia and India, on the form shown in the lead-up to the final, deserved their places. It was outstanding to see Sachin Tendulkar back in such domineering touch while the Australians demonstrated their undoubted depth, not only in playing ability but in selection choice.

It was disappointing to witness the capitulation of the New Zealand side. With or without the Kenyan issue, this side had an outstanding opportunity to do better than any previous New Zealand side but they fell well short of their abilities.

It was disappointing to hear the team management express the view, when the side's performance was criticised at home, that everything had been going well until the last two games (against the two finalists as it turned out).

That was precisely when the team needed to be firing at its maximum!

Oh, and one other thing. The tournament theme music, with Nelson Mandela pounding the advertising hoardings, was a superb representation of the African nature of the event.