Cricket’s big show begins

High-quality cricket is expected given the pitch conditions in Australia and New Zealand

The 11th cricket World Cup is on its way with the first match underway already at Christchurch in New Zealand on Saturday morning. In keeping with cricket’s genteel image, the event started off with unostentatious opening ceremonies in Christchurch and Melbourne. And since the game prides itself on what happens on the 22-yard-long pitch rather than beyond it, the cricketing action is bound to be marked by great levels of intensity and, of course, by the jingoism of typical flag-waving fans from beyond the boundary.

Only 14 countries are participating although many more were involved in the qualifying tournaments, and of the 14 at least six are termed as “minnows”. High-quality cricket is expected given the pitch conditions in Australia and New Zealand. The field placement restrictions have also changed since the last event, which means expect some big-hitting overs, as in the T20 format of the game.

On form and fitness, India has not been rated as one of the top two teams by the bookmakers, but in having to begin with the Asian derby at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday against Pakistan, there will be a very early wake-up call for Dhoni and his men. The joint hosts are most fancied to win, but then World Cups were not known to favour home teams at least until the last edition, which India won in 2011.

The game’s quest to capture greater attention against competing entertainment streams may bear fruit and there is no reason to believe it won’t be a great World Cup already the second most-viewed event after the football World Cup, on every count.

( Source : dc )
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