Chennai: Sometimes, in fact more often than we would care to admit or notice, things fall into place without design. And equally often the reverse is true. The last World Cup was tailored to be perfect. It had the most Associates (six), yet the elimination round was short and sharp (24 matches in 12 days). It was held in one of the most joyful regions in world cricket. And with Australia coming off a series loss against New Zealand, it was meant to be the most open World Cup of all.
But of course it wasn't exactly a tournament to celebrate. Two of the favourites got knocked out, a high-profile coach died in mysterious circumstances, there were hardly any close games, Australia made it a one-way street, and the organisation was terrible. It was the dreariest, most soulless World Cup of all time, surpassing even the greyness of 1999.
This time tedium was written into the script. The round of nothingness was to last a month. Chaos and poor organisation were feared after the early problems with venues and ticketing. And most of all, there were serious apprehensions about the format itself: did the one-day game still have the jazz to stay relevant and viable?