India Insight

Doesn’t anyone love the underdog anymore?

It is said that everyone loves the underdog. You can’t fault Ireland if they disagree.

Days after cricket’s showpiece event ended, the game’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced its decision to trim the next two World Cups to just 10 teams and throw out the associate nations from the 2015 edition, featuring only its 10 full members. The 10 spots for the 2019 edition will be determined through qualification.

“This is not a World Cup, it’s a glorified Champions Trophy,” said Ireland’s captain William Porterfield, after the ICC’s decision to trim the 2015 World Cup that will see associate teams like Ireland and Netherlands miss out on the chance to rub shoulders with the best of the cricketing world.

Ireland's players run as they warm up during a practice session before a World Cup match in Bangalore March 5, 2011. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash/FilesPorterfield has a point there. Given that much of the excitement and drama of the initial group stage games of the recently concluded 2011 edition — hailed by some experts as “the best World Cup of all time” — was provided by his brilliantly spirited and gutsy  team, it is difficult not to agree that Ireland may have been hard done by. Associate member nations will now have to wait until 2019 for a chance to compete again.

Without Ireland, the 2015 edition could play out rather flatly — and more worryingly — predictably. Without Ireland, we would not have witnessed one of the greatest one-day innings of all time in the form of Kevin O’Brien.

from Photographers' Blog:

Cricket snippets

We're into March, and the ICC Cricket World Cup is well under way. Just 32 more days to go (yes, thirty-two!) until the tournament comes to a close with a final showdown in Mumbai on April 2.

Reuters' lean mean team of photographers have fanned out across three countries in the subcontinent - India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka - as we get stuck into covering the first round of the tournament. Photographers Adnan Abidi, Andrew Biraj, Amit Dave, Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, Dinuka Liyanawatte, Rupak De Chowdhury, Danish Siddiqui and myself have started crisscrossing our territories. Philip Brown, who is on an "embed" with the English cricket team, has already covered two cities. Altaf Bhat in New Delhi is anchoring the operation as the main editor for the tournament with me lending a hand on days when I'm not on the move, shooting training or covering a match.

Covering cricket in the subcontinent is not as straightforward as one might think - for one thing, we're worried about tight travel schedules and the possibility of flight delays - which thankfully haven't happened yet.

Cricket going global? Think again

As the cricket World Cup gets under way, the jury is out on the relevance of such a tournament in a developing region, and for a sport played seriously in only a dozen countries.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has worked hard to expand the game’s reach across the globe, but that attempt is yet to show substantial results. The popularity of the game is so limited globally that the word still means a bug to the non-cricketing world.

The primary argument is that cricket is mostly popular only in former British coloniesCRICKET/ and there is hardly any chance for the game to take the world stage, particularly when its classical format lasts for five days.