Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Legendary India batsman Rahul Dravid has announced that he is not a fan of the International Cricket Council’s decision to reduce the number of teams in the 2019 World Cup from 14 to 10.
Dravid noted that Associate nations should be allowed to play in the blockbuster event since they have pushed Full Member nations to their limit in a few of the matches.
“I favour encouraging Associates to play in this tournament and giving them every single opportunity,” Dravid said. “I just know how important this is for the growth of their game to be seen at a World Cup, the games being telecast Live back home in terms of sponsorship, government funding; its so important for them to be a part of this premier event. I think that’s the least cricket can do, it’s a tournament once in four years to try and encourage as many of them as possible to play. You don’t want an inflated tournament, but I’ve always been of the view that 14 for me was a pretty good number, give everyone a chance.”
Even though none of the four Associate nations were able to qualify for the quarter-finals, Dravid was particularly impressed with Ireland’s performance, especially since they beat the West Indies.
“You expect to see a good performance from Ireland every time they come to a World Cup. It was great to see Afghanistan register a win, I think it’s a great story as well, great for the game,” he said. “We’ve seen some very good performances from the Associate teams, that’s terrific for the tournament. It’s nice to see that people have also appreciated those performances, while they haven’t played to packed stadiums all the time, there have been a good bunch of their supporters coming in to support their teams.”
However, Dravid admitted that he has been disappointed by the large number of runs scored in numerous matches.
In the group stages, the 300-run barrier was broken 25 times, the 350-run mark was surpassed six times and there have already been three scores of 400 or more.
In addition to that, 35 centuries were scored in the group stages, six scores of 150 or more were made and West Indies opener Chris Gayle became the first non-Indian batsman to register an ODI double century.
“There have just been too many high scoring games for my liking, it’s one thing I have been disappointed by,” Dravid said. “It comes down to the fact that maybe the wickets in Australia have been very good, they’ve been flat and a lot slower than people have expected.”
Due to high volume of runs scored in many of the group stage matches, Dravid believes that the ICC may have to change the four fielders outside the 30-yard circle rule.
“The fact that five fielders have had to be in the ring is something that needs to be looked at. I think it will have to be reconsidered,” Dravid said. “There is no doubt that it is putting too much pressure and bowlers have not been able to cope with it. It’s leading to these huge scores and I think that’s not necessarily good for the game.
“We haven’t seen enough close games, what really builds excitement is not really seeing people hit sixes and fours all the time, but what you want to see is a good contest between bat and ball, which would result in a close game. The games have been just too one-sided for me.”