Before the ongoing World Cup 2023, there was talk around that we may witness the last ever ODI men’s World Cup, after surge in T20 cricket and leagues across the world, the problem of scheduling world competitions, increasing player exhaustion and even spectator fatigue.
And now to that the BCCI’s mismanagement of a World Cup 2023 and you have a tournament that is already seeming flat and boring in its first week.
Cricket fans have grip about ticket-selling websites crashing on them, international and local fans having to plans since the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) either change the schedule or the dates or the venue for the India-Pakistan game.
Also they issue visas really late to the Pakistan team prior to their arrival here.
Also the English players have criticise a poor outfield in Dharamshala where they’re playing Bangladesh at the moment.
These are not things Indian fans or the international cricket followers community are likely to forget given the BCCI’s predominant position in the hierarchy of world cricket.
Most of the Indian cricket media are so ‘pro-India’ and ‘pro-BCCI’, they don’t state what’s evident and that needs telling.
Especially the lot of ex-Mumbai cricketers-turn-commentators are so mute on such things, like everything is going good with the World Cup, simply because even a sliver of criticism, may mean they lose favour with the BCCI.
It’s not surprising it took a Michael Vaughan to call it out for what it is. “Crowds are looking very poor at the World Cup …Surely we should be giving tickets away to make sure stands are full…#CWC2023”.
Only towards the middle and end of the India-Australia game at the Chepauk in Chennai on 9th October 2023, did the attendance reach around 90% capacity out of 37,000 seats, the official attendance figure was approx. 33,110.
Many seats were vacant for large stretches of the game and there were many complaints about fans not being able to buy tickets for the match on social media.
For cricket fans to purchase a ticket, plan travel to the venue and back, sometimes book a hotel if they are coming from another city or country, all these require organising months ago.
Mismanaging the cricket World Cup may cause severe results.
Today’s ‘aspirational’ India is wanting to look the world in the eye and aiming to host bigger sporting spectacles, displaying that it plays, competes and even excels in sports outside of cricket.
It has recently exceed expectations in the Asian Games, in track-and-field events, badminton, in some less popular Olympic sports, has successfully host the men’s hockey World Cup courtesy the state of Odisha that happens to be its official sponsor.
India is looking to finally outgrow its cricket obsession and embrace other sports, but world sports organisers must watch the goings on at the World Cup 2023 and might not have a favourable impression of our hosting capabilities or temperaments.
No country’s players may want their visas arriving at the last minute.
The BCCI is getting criticise online for the mess over the men’s World Cup.
Those who criticise it in the media, many of them former cricketers are liable to get side-lined.
Sports fans generally put up with a lot to watch their teams play and give them their love.
Now they’re giving it back to the organisers.
The BCCI is so rich and has yet come across as incompetent.
For long they have taken cricket fans and followers for granted, and now they’re facing the criticism
Now talk about cricket, If some of the earlier games like the New Zealand-England or South Africa-Sri Lanka game, the India-Australia tie at Chepauk, turn out to be poor in large part due to Australia’s below par show, but brought one more element back that could hopefully bring back some spark into the tournament.
The pitch and the conditions were not batting friendly, they aided spin bowling in the middle and latter stages of the innings, and there was swing on offer under the lights.
From a cricket fan’s perspective, there was some real battle between ball and bat, and the bat could not get away from dominating the proceedings.
The bowlers need to be assisted.
When KL Rahul walk into bat at two for three, Virat Kohli suggest he bat as if they were “playing a Test match”.
India’s chase under the lights made for at least one hour of tight, riveting cricket, simply because the Australian pace bowlers got some purchase.
If Australia could have settle for a modest score of even 250, we may have had a closer game on our hands.
A good World Cup with close games in India, means producing a little more bowling friendly conditions.
For the World Cup to match expectations, we need not just run fests but low and medium scale which can trigger great upsets.
India’s 1983 final win was one.
Same, through the 1990s and 2000s as scores steadily increase as the white-ball game became more batter friendly, the best ODIs were still those where the bat could not always overshadow the ball.
Fans can tolerate that for maybe 40 overs, but not for a 100.
If it goes on for 100 overs, through this October and November, we may have really seen the very last of ODI cricket.
The BCCI’s reputation, event management and people connect, are all on the line.
Rahul Ram Dwivedi (RRD) is a senior journalist in 2YoDoINDIA.
NOTE : Views expressed are personal.