It has hardly been a month since the ICC published its schedule for the much anticipated Cricket World Cup in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand and right from the time that the schedule was first published, it has been a part of cricket centric discussion among cricket fans all over the world. So, what exactly are the talking points from the 2015 World Cup schedule and what are some of the unique features to look forward to?
The World Cup Legacy
First and foremost, the most exciting aspect of the next World Cup is that the quadrennial showpiece will be returning Down Under in Australia and New Zealand after a gap of 23 years and when you consider the fact that the subcontinent hosted 3 World Cups in 24 years, you would realise the sort of injustice that had been meted out to the Oceanic region. For those who had watched the World Cup in 1992 would remember that it was the first World Cup in which cricket well and truly became a modern sport, with coloured clothing for every team, white balls and last but not the least night cricket. So, it is surely a great thing that the event is going back to the country where it well and truly came of age.
The 2015 Schedule
Many complained about the length of the 2011 World Cup which stretched over a period of 43 days but in that regard it can be said that it only gets worse since the tournament will now go on for 45 days- between February 20 and March 30- in the 2015 edition. The format remains the same with teams being divided into two groups of 7 teams each and each group will have 2 qualifiers from the associate member countries. Pool A comprises of England, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh while Pool B has India, Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies and Zimbabwe. The 2 associate members are yet to be decided for either. However, one can easily identify the blockbuster clashes in the initial rounds by having a look at the two groups. For starters there are plenty of blockbuster clashes in the offing but the biggest of them all takes place on the very second day of the tournament, when India and Pakistan will clash at the Adelaide Oval in a day/night encounter. You will get an idea of the enormity of that clash when you consider the fact that the tickets are usually sold out withing hours of them being released.
That is not all by the way since there are plenty of other games you can look forward to like the game between the Trans Tasman rivals Australia and New Zealand on 28th February at Eden Park as well as the game between Australia and England on the February 20 at the MCG. In Pool B the games between South Africa, Pakistan and the West Indies would prove to be crackers due to the near pace bowling firepower that all those sides possess and everyone knows how the Australia pitches are good for fast bowlers.
The format remains the same as the last edition with the top 4 team from each group being pitted against each other in the quarter finals while the winners would advance to the semi finals. The grand final would take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 30th.