18 Feb 2011

Cricket World Cup set to begin with top teams given best chance to win

7:41 am on 18 February 2011

The Cricket World Cup hits the subcontinent on Saturday with an unabashedly biased format favouring marquee teams like India which seeks to salvage the country's reputation as a capable host of major sporting events.

The game's governing body appears to have learnt their lesson from the soulless tournament in the Caribbean four years ago where India's early exit robbed the event of the attention of its largest and arguably most passionate support base.

Worse awaited Pakistan, where the game is followed with no less fervour.

Within 24 hours of their cricket team's first-round ousting following a shock defeat by Ireland, coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in mysterious circumstances.

The security excesses and over-priced tickets conspired to sap the event of its soul but the International Cricket Council (ICC) seems determined to right most of the wrongs and the first step was to tweak the format even if it meant bias.

The 14 teams are now split into two round-robin grounds with the top four in each progressing to the next stage.

As the ICC says, one bad result will not now lead to a swift departure home.

India and Bangladesh start the February the 19th to April the 2nd tournament in Dhaka on Saturday with the opening ceremony also in the Bangladeshi capital on Thursday.