Shastri wishes WC had IPL-like format

Ravi Shastri

One of the most unforgettable moments in the World Cup history comes from the 1992 edition. In the second semifinal at Sydney, the scoreboard, after a rain-interruption, read: South Africa need 22 from one ball.

For a team that was impressive in their return to the international fold, it was a heart-breaking exit. South Africa had fallen prey to rain and a bizarre ICC rule. In the round-robin format -- introduced first in that edition -- the Kepler Wessels-led side had finished third in the table with five wins from eight games. But one cruel night had poured water on South Africa’s dreams.

At England in the World Cup this time, teams are braced up to compete in a similar format where each team meets all the others once before the knockout stage. Indian coach Ravi Shastri feared any team can face such a dangerous situation. Shastri said world tournaments must have an IPL-like format, which allows teams finishing top two on table one more chance in case of a defeat in the play-offs.

“I have always said that the IPL format is fantastic. You never know when, maybe in the future, they might think of doing it, at least because of the rain factor. At this moment, in case rain knocks a team out, we will just have to say bad luck because it is not something you can prepare for. If nature intervenes, then tough luck,” Shastri said at the pre-departure press conference here on Tuesday.

Shastri echoed the thoughts of skipper Virat Kohli that the format will be challenging. “If you look at 2014 and 2019, the gap is much closer between teams. See what Afghanistan was in 2014 and see what they are now, see what Bangladesh was and what they are now. So it is a strong competition. West Indies, if you look at that side on paper, they are strong as any other team and we saw some of their players during the IPL, the way they hit the ball, it is going to be fantastic,” he said.

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