Jonathan Agnew reviews the Cricket World Cup

By Jonathan AgnewBBC cricket correspondent

You could not have asked for a better World Cup final - it was a fantastic match entirely befitting of the occasion.

It provided a memorable climax to a tournament that has been frustrating in some ways and surpassed expectations in others.


I think the most important thing the World Cup has shown is that there is still very much life in the old 50-over format.

In the latter stages of the tournament, when the games actually meant something, the standard was increased, the interest was increased, the cut-and-thrust was there and you had a better product.

Unfortunately, 50-over cricket has suffered because the game's administrators and the television companies have treated it as a cash cow for flogging advertising.

There have been far too many games, they have been over-exposed and the games have been meaningless.

However hard the players think they are trying in the fifth one-day international out of seven, actually the cutting edge isn't there.

The legacy of this World Cup should be that if treated properly and with respect, the 50-over game is by far the best format for one-day cricket.

The administrators have to start putting cricket first.


It is still far too long.

I came home for four days before the quarter-finals and you would not know there was a World Cup on because England had played one game in 13 days.

It is different in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka when they are hosting it and nothing else matters, the momentum can carry on there.

But in other parts of the world where there are other things even more important than cricket going on, it is very hard to keep that momentum and public interest going.

The International Cricket Council seems to think the answer is to take out the associate nations, but I think they are wrong. They have to be incentivised and encouraged. They need to play 50-over cricket to improve.

All you have to do is play one of their matches in the morning and play a more high-profile game in the afternoon.

That way the associate matches would not be in the spotlight as they are now, when often they are the only match being played and it looks terrible.

They have to sort that out and the answer is not to chuck them out of the tournament.


Some of the journeys for the teams were unacceptable, with players travelling for up to 13 hours between matches.

The lay-offs between some of the games were far too long and players lost intensity.

But the enthusiasm for cricket in that part of the world is extraordinary and the embracing of the World Cup in Bangladesh in particular was very, very moving.

You witness how we here quibble about the Olympic Stadium, and its legacy, and how much it is costing - whereas Bangladesh, where most people have got nothing, really bought into the World Cup. It was very inspiring to see how much they loved it and were proud to be hosting it.


England's tie with India was the best match. It was a classic example of 50-over cricket, which ebbed and flowed in a way that 20-over cricket never can.

Kevin O'Brien's hundred against England was just spectacular. He will never do it again. He will dine out on it with his pink hair for ever.

The contrasting innings by Mahela Jayawardene and Mahendra Dhoni in the final was another highlight.

They just showed how in 50-over cricket two very different players, one a silky smooth touch player and the other a brutal, bottom-handed big-hitter can score at almost identical rates and have a major influence on the game.


Muttiah Muralitharan and Sachin Tendulkar both played very second-rate matches in the end and it just goes to show that no matter how great a sports star you are, you have to write the fairytale ending.

For Murali, it was a bit of a sad way for it all to end, but he will be remembered as one of the most controversial, most successful, most genial cricketers of his generation.

There will always be people who will mutter about the way Murali bowls. But he has always ridden that controversy with a very broad smile and I think everyone will always admire him for that.

As for Sachin, he may have said goodbye to the World Cup but we will be seeing plenty more of him this summer.

With India and Sri Lanka both touring England, we have some great cricket to look forward to in the coming months.

Jonathan Agnew was talking to BBC Sport's Sam Sheringham

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