The ODI World Cup tournament has finally come to an end. Australia proved for the sixth time they are worthy winners of the 50-over championship.
After losing two initial matches, they came back with a vengeance to defeat Sri Lanka. They never looked back.
By the time they reached the finals, the team had built up confidence in itself and was clicking as a unit. Every member contributed to the wins. The team was peaking.
India on the other hand, had been crushing all opposition in the build-up to the finals. They even reduced a former World Cup-winning team -Sri Lanka- to a paltry 50+ runs. By the time of the finals, the Indian team had already peaked and crumbled to the new champions.
The competition has left us with numerous memories. Unfortunately one of the most vivid will be the spectacle of our own Angelo Mathews being timed out. His intemperate outburst following the decision given against him and our team’s not-so-sporting behaviour in refusing to shake hands with the victorious Bangladeshi team left a bad taste in the mouth.
Another memory that will be eternally etched in cricketing legends will be that of ‘King Kholi’ standing open-mouthed and aghast as the ball that got him out during the finals, first hit his bat, pad and then crashed into his wicket. For seconds the king of cricket simply froze, before taking the long walk back to the pavilion.
The tournament also witnessed what real superheroes are made of. The spectacular feat of Glen Maxwell’s double century against Afghanistan stands out. Australia were reeling at 91 for seven in a chase for 292.
At that time it seemed Afghanistan were about to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the tournament. At that crucial moment, Maxwell together with his skipper Pat Cummins put on a 202-run partnership. Cummins’s contribution was only 12!
How they rotated the strike will long stand out for younger players to take a lesson from.
The duo remained unbeaten as Australia reached their target and secured a place in the knockout stages of the Cricket World Cup.
Maxwell smashed multiple records in that all-time incredible innings. He became the first non-opener in men’s ODIs to make a double hundred. What made the feat more incredible was the fact he came in at No. 6.
It was also the fastest double hundred in a men’s Cricket World Cup match, and the second-fastest in all ODIs. The 202-run partnership between Maxwell and Cummins is also the most that any team has put together after the fall of the seventh wicket in a men’s ODI.
But all was not hunky dory at the 2023 World Cup this year, issues regarding the change of pitches for scheduled matches were reportedly changed without approval.
The playing schedule for the teams is decided by the cricket boards of the host country and a representative of the ICC. The ICC has to approve this. The hosting country will decide on the venue and pitch which play should happen, and again ICC has to approve this as well.
There were allegations of arrogant behaviour on the part of the BCCI -the World Cup hosting country of the tournament- which changed pitches without consultation with the ICC representative.
The ICC needs to take action to correct this situation. But given India’s clout within the ICC, it would be ill-advised of anyone to hold their breath waiting for this to happen.
Under normal circumstances, if a team believe that pitch is dangerous for play, they can ask the hosting team to change the venue/pitch. For example, in December 2009, the India vs Sri Lanka match was abandoned due to such a situation arising.
Somewhat strangely during the current World Cup tournament the Indian cricket board arbitrarily changed an agreed pitch which was to be used without consulting the ICC representative.