Monday, April 16, 2007

By Popular Demand...

I give you an update of the Cricket World Cup, which I have been following, sort of. It is incredibly odd reading commentary and recaps when I have no idea what they're talking about 90% of the time. I do, however, feel a strange/embarrassing sense of pride now that I recognize names and can anticipate things. So, in dilettante, quick hit fashion...

  • Australia is really really good. They seem to be just toying with teams.
  • Ireland is probably the story of the tournament, having beaten Pakistan and Bangladesh, which are both Test Nations (test nations are the best cricketing nations, kind of separated and accredited by the ICC). If they don't finish last in the tournament (it'll come down to Run Rate differential), it's a massive shock.
  • Do not count out Sri Lanka. Today's waxing by the Aussies looked bad, but Sri Lanka didn't play some of their best bowlers, including the Wisden player of the year, Malinga. It was pretty shady gamesmanship by Sri Lanka. They think they'll see Australia in either the semifinals or finals and they want the Aussies not to see the best guys coming at them. I love the Aussies' confidence though.
  • Tomorrow's match between South Africa and England is effectively an elimination game, with the winner probably getting into the semifinals, along with New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Australia.
I can't really explain why I find this tournament compelling. I think it's the math, and the whole trying to figure out a foreign language. Also, I have no idea why the USA is not at least bad at cricket. I'd guess there's a sizable enough subcontinent immigrant population in the US to at least put together a team as competitive as Bermuda. I mean, there are only 65,000 people total in Bermuda! There has to be at least 20 times that many people of Subcontinental descent in the US. I have to think the US can put together a team that might not compete at the highest level, but at least can make some of the international tournaments. The One-Day International format is a lot more user-friendly for American n00bs like me. Of course, I've thought the same thing about soccer and rugby, and the US isn't exactly competitive on the right level in either of those sports, er... either.