Calcutta: The co-hosts of the 2011 World Cup — India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — are looking at a tournament which won’t exceed 35 days.
“A period of 30-35 days has been talked about internally… That’s going to be conveyed to the International Cricket Council (ICC) over the next couple of days… We want a high level of interest to be sustained throughout,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph.
Hosting two matches each day (except in the knockout stage) could be one way of trimming the event. This year’s World Cup, in the West Indies, was the longest — 47 days, four more than the 2003 edition.
It was the most boring too.
The last time a World Cup was completed within 35 days (33, actually) was in 1996, when Asia’s Big Three were the co-hosts.
Speaking from London on Saturday evening, ahead of the ICC’s Annual Conference Week, the source added: “Besides the duration, we’re looking at having the format changed… We don’t have a problem with 16 teams, but they could be divided into two groups allowing for everybody to play seven matches in the round-robin stage.
“It would, after all, be disastrous if this year’s format is retained and teams like India and Pakistan again make an early exit… One shudders to even think of that possibility… Imagine two of the co-hosts bowing out after just three matches in the group stage…”
Both India and Pakistan failed to get past round No.1 in the West Indies.
A shorter tournament and a different (safer') format were among the issues discussed during the recent Central Organising Committee meeting in Bhurban.
Footnote: The first two World Cups, in 1975 and 1979, were each completed in 15 days. It was a different ball game then, though.