An event by the way, that started off as the next big thing to the World Cup was reduced to nothing more than a transit lounge for a few teams ahead of their future engagements. Even as I sat back and admired this Indian team for easily being the most consistent in all departments of the game over the fortnight, I wonder what will be its place in history for having won a tournament in a format that's no more the most popular and in an event that has been phased out too. Don't get me wrong, it was an amazing performance in testing conditions by the Indian cricket team. But at a micro level, its as good as undermining what has been an outstanding victory in a tournament, which when instated was dubbed the mini World Cup.
Plenty of water has passed ever since and quite ironically the 50-over final that it was intended to be was reduced to 20 overs a side - perhaps an unintended message there for the commercially inclined. Maybe the lack of a reserved reserve day hurried the organisers in getting into a huddle and extending the cut-off time on a day when sun shine shied away for most parts of the day.
While you can appreciate the ICC for having been flexible on the day, I'm not too sure where the blame lies for not having a reserve day for a final or for not having been flexible earlier in the tournament when the weather gods opened up. The situation becomes all the more glaring when the same version of the tournament had India as one of the teams playing on a reserve day against Sri Lanka earlier this century. Whatever the reasons, barring the players and the audiences, the administrators that be didn't seem to provide enough attention to a tournament that it was and perhaps still is as good as any other, if properly spaced out in the tours programme. After all, its not held every year and after all, every team of note in the cricketing world come together on one common stage and most importantly, the tournament operates at some serious pace.
Besides bordering on what appears to be a bit of an obituary of the tournament, I thought I should also make a point about the use of technology. The DRS was used, India seemed to pick and choose the moments of its implementation well. I guess as a viewer who has also spent years broadcasting the sport, I feel that a part of that responsibility around handling 'decisions' involving technology also lies with those like us describing the sport. The more some one goes about letting us know the reasons behind why the umpire might have committed the error, the more 'sorry' we begin to feel for the human beings judging the game to the best of their abilities, the more we are focusing on the competence of the umpires albeit unintentionally.
While its important to explain what could have been, its equally important to move on quickly. It happens in other sport - tennis, for example. There are errors committed by the linesmen fairly regularly and the chair umpire has at times, toed the line. But a quick replay followed by the next point means the errors are not being harped upon. In a sense, humans and technology lead a happy married life. Maybe, a genuine argument is that tennis doesn't allow so much broadcasting space between two points and that could be one of the primary reasons why an error from the chair isn't discussed as much as an error from the men around those 22 yards are. Whatever the reasons, errors aren't necessarily unintentionally amplified.
But at the end of the day, the latter part of the subject in this article can be forgotten for a bit now as India still wants time to be convinced about the use of technology and the former could be forgotten by the generations to come. The ICC Champions Trophy is history. Thanks again for the memories.
First Published: June 24, 2013, 11:08 AM IST