Monday, 16 May 2011

The format for 2015 World Cup

Lately there has been so much haggling on what should be the format of 2015 CWC. Australia and New Zealand simply want a 10 nation tournament similar to the 1992 CWC. They are scared that they would be having empty stadiums for SA V Can type of matches which India, SL and BD were able to do.

Now to add to the issue there is another problem. ICC has a agreement with ESPN Star Sports where there have promised a min of 45 matches in the World Cup and major teams like India playing atleast 6 matches. Also as part of the deal all 10 Test Nations need to play. This simply can be fulfilled by only 10 test teams and that ensures min 6 matches. The format of 2011 CWC also ensures the same but the hosts Aus and NZ are dead against it.  If we keep only 10 test nations then the Associates are against it and in long term may even threaten to go into the courts and ICC is set to loose.

Also there is another constraint. If ICC somehow convince the ESPN and introduce a qualifier removing the 10 test nation clause, then the most likely nation to lose out would be BD. BD is such a huge and emerging market, a place where cricket is like religion like it is in Ind, Pak or SL.

So many constraints and how do we solve the issue. I thought of a Idea, where in all test nations play, we have 2 associates, then each team plays 9 matches, and there are no meaningless matches like 2011 CWC but every match be it against Ind or Aus or be it against Ken or Can are very very important. The idea of the format came from 2011 IPL. What is the format I would try to explain


The table is quite self explanatory. All the 12 teams would be in 1 pool itself. They would play 9 instead of the 11 league matches. This means we have 54 league matches and then top 4 teams reach the SF and finals.

This means if Aus is playing SA or Neth every match is important as practically of the top 6 or 8 teams are fighting for the 4 spots. A loss to SA or Neth can be equally disastrous. Also if you see the format, the higher ranked teams have more matches with the lower ranked teams, and the lower ranked teams have more matches with higher ranked teams. For Eg Ind ranked 2, will not play the 2 matches against Rank 1 Aus and Rank 4 SA & Ass-2 i.e Rank 12 Neth do not play 2 matches against  Rank 9 BD & Rank 11 Ire. Hence over years the various bilateral ODI series will have a purpose and bad performances in those would mean tough times in World Cup. This format also ensures that the minnows like BD or Ire cannot go into next round based on 1 upset, and also they will be playing more tougher teams.

Ranked higher and playing low ranked doesn't mean all are bad matches. Ind will be playing Eng, SL, Pak, WI, NZ besides BD, Ire, Neth & Zim. So 5 very tough matches and every loss means more difficult to end in top 4 and same will be case loosing to say Ire

I also checked the matches of various types that happened in 2011, proposed 2015 and my 2015
Absolute Dead Rubbers?
Absolute dead rubbers are matches that happen between minnows i.e none of the team is in Top 8 (Ind, Aus, SA, SL, Eng, Pak, WI & NZ)
2011:- 6 (Can V Ken, Ken V Zim, Zim V Can, Ire V BD, BD V Neth, Neth V Ire)
P2015:- 1 (BD V Zim)
M2015:- 3 (Ire V BD, Neth V BD, Neth V Zim)
Hence my 2015 absolutely reduces the dead rubber matches as compared to 2011 CWC

Interesting T8 Matches?
T8 matches are that happen between any of the top 8 teams
2011:- 12

Again the interesting matches that everybody waits for increase from 12 to 21 as compared to 2011 CWC

Dead Rubbers?
The dead rubbers are the matches of T8 v other teams, for Eg SA V Neth. These matches are more of a formality to be there, but these matches also give the excitement of shock victories of minnows like Eng V Ire. These shock victories are remembered over long times. We should have such matches but they should not be in a majority. Then they drag the things.
2011:- 24
Why 0 in latter 2 beacuse for P8 every match has a significance. In 2015 it was a fight to finish in Top 4 in a pool from 4 teams of T8 and 7 teams. There was not much of fight to reach the next round. Here the T8 teams have a fight to finish in top 4 out of 8 T8 teams under the assumption they all defeat the minnows. Any loss to the minnows would be disastrous. This will keep the interest in all matches

Total Matches?
2011:- 42+7=49 Matches
P2015:- 45+3=48 Matches
M2015:- 54+3=57 Matches

So what is the benefit?
As compared to 2015 format of 10 teams, 12 teams format
  1. Has more not matches
  2. Has more number of absolute dead rubbers
  3. Less number of T8 matches

So What are the Advantages?
  1.  It is a Real "World" Cup where any deserving country has a chance to participate and not a closed colonial 10 nation tournament
  2. It has space of top 2 associate to qualify for the world cup
  3. It also is in line with ICC contractual obligation i.e all 10 test nations, min 45 matches and each test team playing a guarantee of 6 matches
  4. It gives a meaning to the ODI rankings and adds interest to various bilateral series played over the years as part of FTP
Also since we have World Cup in NZ and Aus, we can make very good use of the timings. The matches in NZ would be day matches and in Aus we should have D&N matches. This would mean when the match in NZ ends then only the match in Aus will start. The distribution can be done in a way that times of the matches are convenient to the TV audience.This arrangement would mean that we can finish the league matches in 40 days with another week for SF and Finals. This would not drag the world cup for too long. Also teams play 9 matches in 40 days, i.e a match in 4.5 days. So a 3 to 4 day rest between the matches.

I Have mailed this proposal to ICC. I hope over time they look into this format and keep it for their world cup


  1. nice format..i do not say this should be implemented but hope icc gives a serious look at it..seems interesting.

  2. Thanks Udhab. What ever format they want to implement but they should give associates a chance. I am all game for a 16 team format but with the contractual obligations this looks like the best alternative