The Cricket World Cup is almost here. I’m sure like me, you are bristling with excitement. Or at least probably were until you realised that NONE OF THE GAMES matter until the quarter finals. If you support one of the full test member nations (which, lets be frank is most of us), your teams is pretty much guaranteed to get into the knockout stage of the tournament.
Of course its nice for
cricket fans cricket boards relying on TV revenue that their team will make the knockout stage. There is just one small problem: it robs the group stages of any meaning whatsoever. Worse it means we will have to endure six more weeks of meaningless one-day cricket. Its like the ICC thought the tri-series we just endured was such a great idea, they would do it again. TWICE. In fact they probably tried to. Imagine that, a world cup where England, Australia and India just play each other over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. It would be the ICCs wet dream. Instead they went with the next best option.
So if you’re in the camp like some of us at the Sportress that looks at the World Cup group stage and cries “what’s the point of all this, why, Jesus why” and answer hurriedly to yourself as you rock in the corner “there isn’t any, everything is meaningless, existence has no point, where is my Xanax?” I’ll save you the hassle of even thinking about it. Australia, India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, South Africa, Pakistan and the West Indies qualified for the quarter finals. The group stage is an elaborate hoax, the tournament actually starts on the 20th of March. Everything is going to be ok.
For the rest of you, who like us are going to watch it regardless, here are some tips for enjoying the group stage of the Cricket World Cup.
Drink a lot. If you drink enough over the next six weeks, you will forget that there even was a group stage of the Cricket World Cup. Problem solved.
Hate. Hate can be a way of making tedious tasks more enjoyable. For a few brief moments, hate allows us to get caught up in the moment and forget just how pointless everything is. So look through the team lists of the test member countries and chose five players to take your frustrations out on. Maxwell, Kholi, Clarke, Broad and Anderson are popular options, but to be honest it doesn’t matter who you pick or why. Just pick a few guys and start laying into them.
Begrudge them every success, celebrate their every failure. If you want to be fairer about it, just hate on the ICC, it is their fault after all. You will probably be a bitter twisted shell of a person by the end of the group stage, but at least you will have had something to keep you occupied. Easy to combine with drinking a lot which is a plus.
Pontificate. Wonder about who will bat at 8 for Australia if Faulkner is out for the entire tournament. Think about whether or not George Bailey can captain a side he is probably not good enough to be in right now. Tweet about how much better England would be if Ben Stokes was their death hitter and bowler, rather than Ravi Bopara. Admire the untimely form of Stokes and Bopara. Predict who will be in the final, and whether or not AB De Villiers will get knighted by Tony Abbott*.
Support the underdog. On a much more positive note, Afghanistan, Scotland, the UAE, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Bangladesh are all still technically in the competition. It is here that fans of cricket may find a saviour. A white knight to lead us out of the depths of despair and into a world of joy, happiness, wonder and a meaningful group stage. Miracles can happen after all. Ireland, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh have all done it before.
Man, Steven freaking Bradbury won a gold medal when everyone in front of him fell over, maybe, just maybe Scotland can knock out England (which would be the greatest thing ever). Maybe Afghanistan can win a game. Maybe Bangladesh can win the World Cup.
Whether these joyous events happen or not, your World Cup group stage will be better if you are hoping they do. If you invest time and energy in willing them to happen. As fans of cricket it is your duty.
Now where’s is that drink?
*Admit it. It makes more sense than knighting Prince Phillip.