Why exactly a World cup of any International sport/game is played..??
Some might say - to judge which country's team is best among all, at regular interval of time while others may argue that World Cups are played to present the best possible exhibition of that particular sport. And then, someone else will have some other logic but to me, the second reason is good enough..
World Cup's (of cricket in my case) allows me to watch the best teams from all over the World, fighting for a "single ultimate prize", which takes the level of the sport lot higher than it normally is. There will still be official and unofficial ratings, long after the tournament is finished, which will show different country as No. 1 even if it didn't win that World Cup, as in the case of recently concluded FIFA World Cup - Brazil is still number 1 team, when they didn't even make it to the semi-finals.
So as I was saying, World Cups are meant as a tournament where all top selected teams come together and show their skills. And talking about skills, cricket is a game which has not one, not even two but now has three versions in Test cricket, One day cricket and Twenty20. World Cups of One day International cricket has been a huge success over a period of 31 years - divided into 8 Cricket World Cups in all. And now, even when Twenty20 matches have not got the liking of one and all cricket lovers Internationally, cricket controlling bodies have announced that first ever Twenty20 World Cup will be played in South Africa in an years time.
But what about World Cup of Test match cricket??
We talked about skills to play any sport, we talked about how the level goes up when the BIGGEST tournament of that sport is played at International level..... why haven't ICC ever thought about arranging a World Cup of test cricket, when everybody knows that test cricket is where cricket skills are really tested..!!
May be they have, but because of some potential reasons - they backed off.
The biggest, and probably the only reason behind not having a World Cup of test match cricket till date, is the time. A single test match takes 5 days to complete, and even after that....you may not have a winner!!
Just for information, let me remind you that first ever test match was played between Australia and England from 15th March in 1877 at Melbourne and since that day, till I write this article, there has been 1811 test matches played all over the World between 10 test playing nations and a World XI vs Australia test match. And out of these, 645 test matches ended in a draw with only two test matches resulting a tie - West Indies vs Australia in 1960 at Brisbane and India vs Australia in 1986 at Chennai.
Now, when we can safely say that 64.274% of International test matches have produced winners, can't we find a solution to allow cricket fans all over the World to enjoy, what will be the best ever Cricket tournament??
May be not... as still 35.726% test matches are ending in a draw. And a draw in a tournament like this is not the result that we want. We got to have a winner from ever match.... So what is the solution??
I ask you - the most popular game on earth - Football (soccer), yields around 50% results as DRAW, but still they have been playing Football World Cups since 1930. How can they do that?? They do that because they have short predetermined methods to break those draws into a specific winner, presently known as "penalty shootouts". Isn't cricket having something like that??
I thought someone someone made Twenty20 cricket matches International lately, which finishes in just 3 hours.
But I still feel we are yet to find complete solution to see a World Cup of Test match cricket as 5 day for a single test match, with 10 test playing nations means at least 30 matches, 30*5 = 150 days with at least 50 days of rest for players........Oh god, it means 200 days for a single cricket tournament. I am sure no one will watch it..!!
Let me ask you again - FIFA is having over 200 football playing countries involved within them. And if they allow all of them to participate into Football World Cup, the time span will be no different than 200 days. Isn't it??
So what they do - they eliminate countries by a predetermined method which is known to everyone and eventually, allow only 32 of them to show their football skills in the biggest tournament. Can't something like that be done??
Recently, ICC have formed an official cricket ratings. How about telling all test cricket playing countries that at the end of (lets say) 12th August 2007, the ratings will be final and top 8 countries in that list will make it to the World Cup of Test matches in November - December 2007 in Australia.
Q - Why 12th August?
A - Its an arbitrary selection, which also happens to be my B'day.
Q - Why November 2007?
A - So that we will have the final of that Test Match World Cup starting on Boxing Day - 26th of December.
Q - Why in Australia?
A - Well, I spent full 5 minutes to calculate which host country has produced most draws in test matches and it came out to be - 45.5% for my country India, 36.35% for England, 43.16% for Pakistan, 33.94% for West Indies, 31.94% for South Africa and finally, JUST 27.41% FOR AUSTRALIA...isn't that a beautiful country to host first ever Test Match World Cup..??
Now when we have fixed dates for the World Cup of test match cricket, and the host, and also found a short method to break a draw into a winner (play twenty20 match), how about we also lay down the schedule of that "Special World Cup" :- - -
1) After including two tricks from FIFA's book to involve only top countries into this World Cup and break a draw by a short method, lets take a trick out of "Tennis Grand Slams" which says that play only knock out matches. And form a schedule so that 1st ranked team plays the last ranked (8th in our case), 2nd plays 7th, 3rd plays 6th and 4th plays 5th, so that 1st and 2nd ranked teams plays the finals, iff they are not knocked off by a lower ranked team. That's how the above schedule is made.
2) We have not given any match to World's only Indoor cricket stadium - Telstra Dome in Melbourne, so that it can be kept reserved for Twenty20 tiebreaker match, whenever needed. As in the case of Pakistan vs New Zealand and England vs Sri Lanka matches above.
3) "Why there has been no World Cup of test matches??" - This question was discussed on Yahoo Answers a few months ago, and someone pointed out that since test matches are lot longer than ODI's, dates of test matches will overlap and organisers might struggle to find cricket broadcasters who have two sports channels so that every test match is telecasted live....well, if you see the above schedule closely, you will find that no test match starts before the previous one finishes..!!
4) The match results shown are just meant for clear representation. This schedule, of course, is yet to be given the green signal.
5) Why repeat a venue (Adelaide Oval) - Well, that's a good question. I have repeated that venue to host the final match because that is the ground where my Indian cricket team beat Australia on 12th December 2003 and I feel its lucky ground for us. Of course, it can be modified. I will be disappointed but...