At the conclusion of the World Cup, one couldn’t help but admire the way the Aussies dominated the competition. This team seems to be the best ODI team to have played the competition.
Even in the previous WC, the Aussies won the tournament without loosing a game, but there were a couple of sticky situations they got themselves in to. But in this World cup, it was domination all the way – at no point in any game did they ever seem to loose control.
A lot has been written about how India’s loss in the first round is actually good for the game in the long run (which is a completely flawed argument, IMHO), but what would have been really good for the game would have been some challenge to the Aussie supremacy. The games that the Aussies played were just predictable and not much fun to watch. Even the South Africans who took the No. 1 rank from the Aussies before the Cup couldn’t put up a decent fight. One wonders if the standard in the rest of the world has dropped or if the standard of the Aussies has gone up a couple of notches. Maybe both.
To make the games more interesting and to give the other teams including the minnows a realistic chance of winning a game against the big guys, I think we may have to come up with some kind of a handicap.
One suggestion I have is that if a team ranking between two playing teams is over 6, then the higher ranked team plays a player short. So, if Australia were to play Bangladesh, then Australia field just 10 men while Bangladesh field all 11. If Australia were to play someone like Netherlands (where the ranking difference is more than 12), Australia play with just 9 men. The advantages I see with this approach are –
- The game between two otherwise uneven teams becomes more even and competitive
- Viewing these games would be more interesting
- The minor teams would get a chance to improve as they are playing against good quality opposition and yet they are in with a chance to win
One could argue that ranking does not really reflect the difference between two teams. For instance, the gulf between the No. 1 and No. 2 team could be so high that the No. 2 team still doesn’t have a realistic chance of winning. This could happen as Australia keep getting stronger and the rest of the teams keep getting weaker. The solution to this may be to go with Ratings rather than Rankings, and handicap comes into effect with, say every 15 point rating difference.
For instance, Australia (ranked 1) currently have a ODI rating of 130 and India (ranked 6) a rating of 106. As the difference is 26, Australia play one player short. When Australia play West Indies (rating of 99), they have to play two players short.
The handicap will have to be capped so that when Australia play someone like Kenya (rating of 0), they don’t end up playing with just 3 players 🙂