Cricket’s quadrennial showpiece, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 began in the ‘home’ of cricket, England earlier this week. There was a lot of hype about the latest edition of the World Cup before it even began.
After all, the thought of watching the best in business play in the lush green grounds of England in conditions that can best be described as typically English was supposed to be a spectacle a cricket fan wouldn’t want to miss.
However, now that the World Cup is up and running, the hype seems to have died down. It just doesn’t feel like a World Cup anymore. Of course, we’re only five days into the tournament and it is way too early to comment on the World Cup, but the early signs don’t look too good.
I still vividly remember how in 2011 the official theme song of the World Cup, Shankar Mahadevan’s ‘De Ghuma Ke’ could be heard on every corner of the street.
Why is it then that the latest edition of cricket’s biggest tournament is starting to look pale in comparison to the previous editions?
India Plays on the 7th Day of the Tournament
If there’s any team in world cricket that enjoys the support of the fans everywhere it goes, it has to be the Indian Cricket Team. With a population of more than 1.3 billion, the Indian supporters are found everywhere.
The format of the 2019 World Cup is a round-robin tournament, where each team plays all other teams once. Even though the format is exciting and ensures competitiveness between teams, the fact that India doesn’t play until the 7th day of the tournament is a bummer.
In both the previous two editions, India played either on the first or the second day. This time, however, with almost a week’s time before India steps on to the field, the schedule is testing the patience of the fans.
T20 or Test: ODI who?
Over the past decade, we have seen the meteoric rise of T20 cricket. The shortest format of the game has gained a lot of love and attention from fans across the globe.
The Test format, despite being the longest format of the game, still has its own set of loyal fans who’d stay glued to the television for five days straight.
The ODI (One Day International) format lies in between these two formats and seems to lack the kind of support that both T20 and Test cricket enjoy. With the match lasting more than 7 hours and innings starting slowly, the fans, spoilt by the pace of T20 cricket, aren’t patient enough to watch all 100 overs being bowled during the day.
Overdose of Cricket?
With franchise-based T20 leagues being played in the summer in every country, there seems to be an overdose of cricket for even the most ardent of followers.
Let’s take the example of Indian cricket fans. After a long tour to Australia that began in November, the Indian team went to New Zealand for a short series before returning back to India to face Australia (AGAIN), which was followed by the IPL that lasted for than a month and a half.
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With so much of cricket being played nowadays, it has exhausted us fans who now seem no longer interested in cricket’s biggest tournament.
Lack of Era-Defining Personalities
The current crop of cricketers is quite different from the previous generations. The quality is still top-notch, without a doubt, with players like Virat Kohli, David Warner, Jasprit Bumrah and Rashid Khan playing at the top of their game.
However, what seems to be lacking in these cricketers is their personality.
To elaborate, let’s take the example of the 2011 World Cup. We had players like Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Ricky Ponting and Muttiah Muralitharan playing at the top of their game.
Even in the 2015 edition, there were players like AB de Villiers, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Michael Clarke and Brendon McCullum around who had an aura around them.
This time, however, the World Cup seems to lack such era-defining personalities. Except for MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, there is a lack of era-defining personalities in this World Cup.
The English Fans
The fans of the host country are also one of the reasons why this World Cup isn’t giving the same vibe as that of previous editions. With the last two World Cups being hosted in the Indian subcontinent and Australia-New Zealand, where the game of cricket is followed by the fans almost religiously, the English fans seem to lack that characteristic.
Even when a moment of brilliance occurs on the field, all the English fans would do is to clap robotically. That’s the maximum that you can expect from the English fans.
A lot of them are more interested in football, despite the biggest showpiece in cricket going on in the country.
All in all, even though the World Cup seems to be lacking the vibe at the moment, you can soon expect it to catch up as India takes on South Africa in its opening game of this edition on 5th June.
Image Credits: Google Images
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