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By Sunil Gavaskar
The world cup was brought to life with Ireland's electrifying win over England and that too after England had got another score of over 300. The Irish just did not give up and even though they had lost most of their recognised batsmen with more than 200 runs still to get they not just hung on but counterattacked in such a glorious manner that England were stunned and had no answers. Kevin O'Brien was the one man responsible for that. He got the fastest century in world cup history and that too against a major test playing country. He had great support from Cussack who had a good partnership with him and then Mooney who had played a pretty irresponsible shot in the previous game against Bangldesh but played a terrific innings that sealed this game in their favour. There has always been little love lost between the irish and the English and the win certainly gives the Irish bragging rights till the next world cup. What the Irish win has done is that it has given them a real chance of making it to the quarter finals if they continue to play like this in their remaining matches. They have to play fellow associates Netherlands which could well be the one which will decide who among Bangladesh, West Indies and Ireland go through to the quarter finals.
Bangladesh's sorry performance against West Indies brought out the wrath of their fanatical followers who pelted stones at the wrong bus and thus undermined the security procedures put into place. That Chris Gayle was not amused is no surprise, believe me it is not pleasant to have stones coming through the glass panes from cowards who do so in the anonymity of the crowd. That they get away is the reason why such incidents recur and it a telling indictment of the security apparatus that they are unable to apprehend those who do such damage. Even today four years after India's loss in the first round of the world cup 2007 there is no news of any action against those who attacked Mahendra Singh Dhoni's house under construction and that’s why if India does have a tough outing this time around some other player might suffer the same fate. If those miscreants had been arrested and given exemplary punishment other would be miscreants will think many times before trying a similar stunt. It is not just with cricket results but generally whenever public property is destroyed there is hardly any apprehending of those who have vandalised and thus they do it again at the next such situation where they perceive they have not got their due. Destroying public property only means that the public itself will have to pay for it with the govt raising the taxes so such action actually costs the tax payer more than those destroyers who hardly pay any tax.
The decision review system has come in for plenty of debate with what has so far been seen in the world cup so far. The Indians have had a tough time with it ever since it was introduced by the ICC and since they have got most of their challenges wrong they are hardly enamoured by it. The latest instance where Ian Bell got the benefit of the doubt has added to India's resistance to the procedure and it wont be a surprise that they will not be in favour of it in bilateral series.
To be fair the ICC also needs to have a look at it again if only to ensure that what happened with the Bell decision is not repeated. The DRS is primarily to get errors cut down and where it is seen that the ball would have hit the middle of the middle stump then there is no way it can be ruled not out even if the batsman is half way down the pitch. While it is agreed that the Hawkeye will never be able to get it 100% correct when it shows that the deviation is not going to go over the top or miss the stumps on either side then the call has to go in favour of the bowler. Maybe a certain percentage of allowance can be given depending on the type of bowler, be it pace or spin if the pitch has had nothing extraordinary about it. If the ball is turning and bouncing a lot then again a certain allowance can be given to Hawkeye. There was another instance where a batsman was down the pitch more than 2.5 metres and still the umpire upheld his decision. That is understandable for unless he is going to be given the go ahead by the TV umpire he is going to stick to his own decision .
The ICC cricket committee will have to think long and hard about all this in its next meeting as also the rule that allows the non striker to leave the crease when the bowler is in his delivery stride. The old rule was much better where the non striker could leave the crease only after the bowler delivered the ball. The current one allows him lot of advantage as he can well be a quarter of the way out of his crease once the bowler gets to the delivery stride and thus is able to take a quick single which he otherwise wouldn’t have.
But lets leave all that for the moment and enjoy the world cup as we approach the final games of the qualifying round.