50-overs World Cup: Past perfect, future tense?

‘It takes one day’ – said the promotion of the 50-overs World Cup in India. As the 13th edition of the tournament finally draws to a close today, one wonders if the patience is wearing really thin to sit through those eight hours of action. 

It’s time to ponder over the takeaways, starting with India’s phenomenal form which saw them march to the final with a 10-match winning streak. Afghanistan’s rise as a serious cricketing nation, a series of superhuman batting feats or someone like Rachin Ravindra as the best emerging talent have to come a close second – but it does little to detract us from the bigger picture which clearly shows it’s future tense for the format which was the game’s biggest cash cow even 15 years back.     

The next eight-year cycle announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) till 2031 features two 50-over showpieces, the 2027 one to be held in South Africa (along with Zimbabwe and Namibia) and again in India in 2031 (with Bangladesh). There is, however, a big question mark whether this format will continue to stay relevant for such a long period as the chorus is growing whether the next one will actually be the last edition. 

The ICC has kept up a brave face for now, with their chief commercial officer Anurag Dahiya dispelling any such fears in near future. ‘’Looking at engagement on TV, the numbers that have been coming up have been superlative; 500 million by the end of the 35th game (in a 48-game tournament). We have seen digital records being broken twice in terms of concurrence,’’ Dahiya said.   

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