World Cup tweaked in favour of top teams


NEW DELHI, India, CMC – Cricket’s World governing body tweaked the format for this year’s World Cup to give India and Pakistan, as well as other leading teams a chance to progress in the competition.

Tournament Director Ratnakar Shetty disclosed on Wednesday that organisers wanted to avoid the “disaster” of four years ago in the Caribbean, when the two Asian giants made an exit from the competition after the first round.

“Economically, we all know that India is the financial powerhouse of cricket,” he said in an article on the ESPN-Star website.

“The exit of India and Pakistan from the 2007 World Cup was a disaster for the tournament. The sponsors, broadcasters, tour operators, West Indies board – all lost a lot of money.”

He added: “The format was changed in such a way that it gives all the top teams a chance to compete. We have gone back to the same format that was used in 1996.”

In this year’s competition, the 14 teams are in two groups with the top four in each qualifying for the knock-out rounds.

This year’s format is copied from the previous World Cup staged in Asia in 1996. It has been retrieved, so that each team is guaranteed a minimum of six matches at the group stage, even if they do not make the next round.

In the 2007 World Cup, teams were divided into four groups of four each with the top two advancing to the Super Eight league round before the semi-finals.

Shetty also felt confident about security arrangements for the tournament, which begins on February 19, and is co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

“The sub-continent has its own share of issues, with the biggest challenge being security,” he said.

“It is slightly different from how it would be if the tournament was to be staged in England or Australia.”

He added: “Things have changed in the last two years. The police have a mechanism of continuously monitoring the security issues.

“The threat perception varies from team to team, and that is an aspect that is being looked into by the central government.”

Bangladesh host India for the opening match of the competition at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Dhaka.

West Indies will play South Africa in their opening match on February 24 in Dehli.