An ‘I see' ICC!

The scepticism of the Indians was once again justified with regard to the DRS. Things came to a head against England when the umpire followed the letter of the law and ruled Bell not out after a review. This decision once again made Dhoni reiterate his reservations about the efficacy of the technology.

The first fortnight of the ICC World Cup 2011 has seen the various outcomes that one anticipates from a premier tournament. England has figured in some exciting games and it is one side that has obtained all possible results except an abandonment. It was taken by surprise by the Dutchmen, who posted a challenging total, and though England overcame that challenge, it was in for a rude shock a few days later. Upsets have become a part and parcel of World Cup cricket, but this time around it came from the least expected quarter and that too in a very unexpected way. The Englishmen were sitting pretty against Ireland during the half-way stage, but the Chinnaswamy Stadium was lit up by a blitzkrieg from Kevin O'Brien. His belligerent effort knocked the wind out of the Englishmen's sails and the timing of the stupendous effort from Ireland could not have been better. Its big effort came just after the announcement by the ICC that the associate countries may not figure in the World Cup from the 2015 edition. This obviously disappointed the players from the associate countries, but Ireland registered its protest in the best fashion possible. Ireland's victory drew it a huge following so much so that some Indian fans became anxious prior to the India-Ireland game. However, the Indians sailed through without any problem.

Yuvraj Singh claimed a five for- but the scepticism of the Indians was once again justified with regard to the DRS. Things came to a head against England in the earlier game when the umpire followed the letter of the law and ruled Bell not out after a review. This decision once again made Dhoni reiterate his reservations about the efficacy of the technology. The ICC reacted by making a minor change in the rules which again goes to show the way the apex body functions. How on earth can a rule be changed during the course of a tournament? How can the change be enforced a few days after the ICC officials justified the DRS and accused the Indian skipper of being ignorant of the laws? The ICC may justify that they are doing everything possible to make it a level playing field devoid of ambiguities, but they should have thought things before the commencement of the tournament. It was common knowledge about how the BCCI has felt about the DRS all along and not surprisingly, the good old “I told you so” line was uttered the moment an opportunity arose. Would the ICC have changed the rule if a Bell-like incident were to happen in a match between Ireland and Netherlands is anyone's guess.

The ICC also must realise that it will be to everyone's benefit if it pays heed to the officials of the host Nations with regard to certain matters. The apex body made a mess in 2007 by banning musical instruments in the Caribbean islands which led to the people more or less boycotting the event. The ban was later lifted, but the people did not bother to change their minds midway through the tournament.

In this edition the ICC has taken away too many tickets from the staging associations, which has pitch-forked the officials of the associations into a very delicate situation. The staging associations have to fulfil a lot of obligations during an international fixture by way of ensuring that the public and other important people get their tickets. In the event the officials are unable to do so, all hell breaks loose as it did in Bangalore prior to the India-England match. The new management team of the KSCA was accused of several things, but the problem is that they were severely handicapped due to the ICC taking away a huge chunk of tickets.

Despite all the issues faced by the associations and the public, the tournament has gone along nicely but the real excitement will start when it moves on to the knockout stage. The regular Test-playing nations should be figuring in the last eight, but the quality of the pitches need to improve by that time. Some of the tracks have been different in that the sides have been unable to get past the 220 mark and with enough time available between matches, the curators should make the best use of it. One cannot get into a situation during the knockout phase wherein the outcome of a game is heavily dependant on the toss.

Not many matches have been played at the venues staging the World Cup matches leading up to the tournament and hence the curators cannot take shelter under their eternal excuse of lack of time to prepare tracks. The curators have to realise that there is no point if they let themselves down during a big occasion such as this. If they fail to dish out good tracks, it will stick out like a sore thumb given that all the venues now boast of World class stadia.