Adam Parore: Respect due but minnows have spoiled tournament

By Adam Parore

The World Cup needs reviewing but the format is not the only reason the tournament in the Caribbean has been lacklustre so far.

It is simply too long, and although you've got to say fair play to Ireland and Bangladesh, they've ruined the cup by making the Super Eights.

The ICC faces a delicate balancing act because they have to encourage countries such as Bangladesh and assist their development. But they also need to ensure that it is not so easy for them to play such a big part in the whole tournament unless they are truly up to standard.

The problem is that the current structure makes it too easy for a minnow to make the second stage, and once there they are guaranteed seven more matches. So far, a lot of the tension has been removed around who is going to make the semifinals.

But right now world cricket's problems go a little deeper. Over the past five or six years, a clutch of great players have retired - Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis to name two.

And some of the remaining greats who have turned up to this tournament - Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara being the obvious ones - have been off the pace.

No one has really come through to replace them - the fast-bowling stocks are nothing like they were 10 years ago and I can't see a 23- or 24-year-old batsman out there who looks like he is going to make 30 test centuries.

That's just the ebb and flow of international cricket. Those players will come through at some point.

But for the past couple of years, and for the next few, if you take Australia out of the picture the quality looks very lean.

Maybe New Zealand is going to lead the next revolution, through players such as Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor.

New Zealand cricket has never had a better chance to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

In one-day cricket we are already reasonably dominant, although to date we have lacked consistency and the ability to push the Aussies around as often as we appear capable of.

As for winning this World Cup, New Zealand has been presented with a dream run in many ways.

They have had what amounts to a series of warm-up games before facing the three best teams leading into the semifinals.

South Africa may be a stumbling block for us. Historically, we have always struggled against them although I don't know why. We have often found South Africa harder to beat than Australia. Sri Lanka are up there, and will get stronger, although it seems to me that batters are finally getting to grips with Muttiah Muralitharan and are increasingly comfortable facing Lasith Malinga.

My big fear, though, is that New Zealand will be lulled into playing an orthodox game against Australia.

We need to go outside the box, throw caution to the wind.

The problem may be that our guys believe they can beat Australia through patterned cricket, having trundled so comfortably through the tournament so far and after beating Australia B 3-0 out here. That could be our downfall.

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