The tournament could have been shorter and more of the games should have been closer.
Spotlight on the opening ceremony of Cricket World Cup 2007 in Jamaica was from all reports very impressive, delightful, spectacular and special. It was rated by some as the best ever for a World Cup opening and for that we ought to be proud. What followed was rather interesting as the Caribbean experienced a dream that our past cricketers toiled for, a worthy and noble tribute to them as we witnessed this prestigious tournament played here in the West Indies.
However, World Cup 2007 proved to be rather contrasting. Interesting, exciting, and exhilarating on one hand, while being distressing, depressing, one-sided, boring and a bit confusing on the other. We were fortunate to have brilliant weather for most of the matches, while rain interfered with just a few.
There will certainly be many questions left unanswered. The murder of Bob Woolmer, the lowest point in my opinion, seemed to put a damper on the entire series. Unfortunately, many other sad moments followed and many, I believe, will consider World Cup 2007 the tournament that most will prefer to forget.
India and Pakistan exited the scene rather early while hosts West Indies played badly. Some of the other teams seemed to have internal struggles, while Ireland and Bangladesh did better that many expected, but were found wanting during the Super 8 matches.
It was quite interesting to see how the minnows performed in the tournament. Although abounding character was not shown, some positives were indeed brought to the fore. Some of the young talented players will certainly be expected to become world class players in the future.
Meanwhile, Australia and Sri Lanka undoubtedly enjoyed their time in the Caribbean. They played brilliant cricket and put the gloss on a tournament that was surely lacking. One hopes that their impact on the tournament brings forth many more positives in the future. Unfortunately, the final was affected by rain and resulted in a shortened game. Other interruptions and questionable rulings also forced an anti-climax to what promised to be a much better contest.
It is difficult to comprehend what transpired in that final match. With such a great build up for that game, I believe that if common sense had prevailed the match would not have been decided off a mere 74 overs. One must also remember that a reserved day was available yet totally ignored.
The fact the umpires considered returning on the following day to complete 3 overs after both captains accepted the match was already decided defies logic and understanding. The fact that Australia batted their 50 overs against the West Indies in a previous match and the home team batted on the reserved day, also tells a confusing story.
It was a shame that such controversy marred the ending of the series, and of that particular match which featured the two teams that deserved the best possible send-off.
However, when the first round matches got underway, it quickly brought to light the folly that our hosting governments and Local Organizing Committees placed on our Caribbean people.
Exorbitant ticket prices, ridiculous ground restrictions, excessive inconveniences and very expensive food and drink at the venues. It seemed that locals were not considered and catered for during planning of this historic occasion. However, we showed our displeasure by staying away in droves until free tickets were given away and eventually, prices were decreased and restrictions lifted.
The visitors, likewise, did not fill our shores and stadiums either, visa problems and other situations caused many to cancel their arrangements.
For the last set of matches, the Caribbean flavor returned and the festive atmosphere at the grounds were seen in color. That certainly made a huge difference.
As far as the actual matches were concerned, England’s win over the West Indies from the penultimate ball in my opinion took the Gold. South Africa beating Sri Lanka after a Malinga 4 wickets off 4 balls scare, probably took the Silver. These were the closest and perhaps the most exciting and best games of the series. Ireland tied with Zimbabwe in a great match also, while Sri Lanka beat England by 2 runs in another wonderful encounter.
There were a few matches completed before the scheduled luncheon interval, these were some of the unfortunate happenings of World Cup 2007. Meanwhile, resignations and retirements took place in record time and numbers.
Here are some of the details and headlines.
Inzamam-ul-Haq submitted his resignation as captain of Pakistan and from One Day Internationals while still on tour. Other Pakistan officials tendered their resignations shortly after.
Greg Chappell quit as India coach.
Andrew Flintoff was stripped of vice-captaincy and also dropped from the England team for one match.
Dav Whatmore quit as Bangladesh coach.
Coach Duncan Fletcher resigned as England coach.
Captain Michael Vaughn under pressure to step down or he might be replaced.
Captain Brian Lara quits International cricket.
WICB announces the resignation of coach Bennett King.
Steven Fleming steps down as captain of New Zealand’s ODI team.
Glen MacGrath to retire after series
Ian Bradshaw calls it quit.
Ken Gordon’s resignation put on hold.
Russell Arnold (Sri Lanka) to quit after World Cup final.
Australia rightfully took away the trophy for the third consecutive time. They played like true champions throughout the 7 weeks tournament and proved their many aspects of being the best is a result of hard work, good ethics and determination.
As West Indian, my hope is that our cricket will start heading in a new direction and by next Cricket World Cup our team will be in a position do us proud.
Congratulations to Australia on their achievements.