Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Ben on...those minnows

Ponting is the latest expert to complain about the minnows in the World Cup. It's an easy complaint to make, you'll always have someone to back you up and you can rely on the minnows to largely confirm your predictions. It is an entirely unhelpful comment, however, and I doubt he thought about it all that much when he said it.

A lot is being made of the example Ponting cited, Australia's 2004 Champions Trophy match against USA, where Australia won with 42.1 overs to spare, as if this is some sort of standard for the performance of minnows at major tournaments rather than an extreme example.

Another argument being thrown about a bit today is that the ratio of minnows to major teams in the tournament (6 to 10 or 8 to 8, depending on how you count it) is too high. This argument seems weak to me. The different rounds of the tournament are designed to give the minnows a taste of the competition and then discard them. So Ponting will only be playing minnows in 2 out of his 9 qualifying matches.

The other argument is having so many teams makes the tournament too long. But considering that the Football World Cup can fit a competition of 32 teams into 1 month, I suspect cutting down the 1 ½ months that the Cricket World Cup runs for is largely a scheduling issue.

The most annoying point for me in this whole argument is Ponting's statement that "there are places and times for the minnow nations to be playing" and that those times might not include the World Cup and Champions Trophy. The question then arises, when would be a good time? A quick check of Statsguru shows that Australia has played USA only once (likewise Canada, Namibia, the Netherlands and Scotland). Unless I'm missing something, it seems that the major associations only play the minor nations at the World Cup and Champions Trophy. Is Ponting then suggesting that the appropriate time for the minnows is some time when Australia isn't playing?

In my opinion, it would be a much lesser tournament without the minor nations. It is after all the World Cup.


David said...

Well looks like on the flight to the Caribbean the boys have forgotten a few fundamentals of the game. Beaten by the Banglas this morning our death bowling once again let us down. In fact if it hadn't been for Big Jake's comeback 80 odd we'd never have even got close to 200.

Stu said...

I have to agree with all your points here - unfortunately (for us - Aussies) most of Ricky's statements aren't that hard to pick holes in. How many times does he have to retract them? Let's just say he's a great batsmen.

But as you say,if not the World Cup or the Champion's Trophy, when should these countries get a chance? (And not that many get a chance at the Champion's Trophy anyway.)

I would think Australia of all sides right at the moment, would be appreciating a chance to "iron out a few chicks" before coming up against the "big boys" again...

Anonymous said...

Ponting is leaving himself opne here. I mean, will any of the minnows lose by 10 wixkets???

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