Afghanistan will benefit if they get to play the IPL

There are often very good reasons why schedules are the way they are and it is also true that those commenting on schedules have fewer variables to consider than those making them. So there must be a reason why the first four games of the World T20 are so underwhelming. I am writing this with the tournament three days old and that compelling game, the one that forces cricket lovers to stop what they are doing and watch, is still somewhere in the distance. Hopefully one of the qualifiers, or Bangladesh, will get this jamboree up and going because otherwise it doesn't really begin till the 27th when the Super Eights start.

That, either way, is a new beginning because teams don't carry their points from the qualifiers and that means there are a few dead rubbers. Like India vs England on the 23rd. As the tournament hopes to gather steam it is suddenly up against what should have been a marquee game but is really a warm-up game. To allow people to choose the matches they want to watch, and that is a valid reason, teams are pre-seeded into the Super Eights and so whether or not India beats England doesn't really matter to the tournament. Maybe there is a case for carrying points against the other qualifiers to inject greater value to the earlier games.

That is not to say it hasn't been fun watching them and I enjoyed watching Afghanistan's spirited cricketers try and make the most of the little opportunities thrown their way. Theirs has been the story of world cricket over the last five years and the good news is that it doesn't seem likely to end very quickly. They have withstood political turnoil, violence and displacement to come so far and hereafter other barriers must seem like small hurdles in the way of their spirit.

... contd.

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