Many months ago, when the ‘schedule’ for the 2011 World Cup was announced, it was possible to comprehend the group stage. Logistically challenging, it was nonetheless reasonably straightforward to make plans. Travel is never ‘easy’ here, but at least you knew where you had to be on a certain day.
The knockout stages, however, always seemed like a problem best tackled ‘later’. Even for those blessed with a logistically atuned outlook on life, it was hard to fathom. Now that the time is here, the chaos that many predicted is playing itself out in real life.
Television production companies have booked hundreds of rooms in most of the top hotels knowing all along that they would not need all of them. Flights, too, are fully booked and empty at the same time.
Despite qualifying for the next round over a week ago, the Proteas had to wait until they’d thrashed Bangladesh to be sure that they would stay in Dhaka for the quarter final. And it wasn’t even worth trying to guess who they might face.
But at least they knew the game would be on Wednesday, right? It’s written in black and white in every tournament guide you can find. “Not necessarily,” said a bewildered ICC spokesman. “It depends on who the opponents are and their travel arrangements. We’ll see…”
At least all the teams have the same mess to deal with. Having done everything possible to organise the tournament to favour the three host nations, many locals are beginning wonder whether it was worth it.
Gary Kirsten and Paddy Upton are two of the most relaxed people you could ever meet in cricket but the India coach and his first lieutenant know what is best for their players given the overbearing weight of expectation from the Indian population – and its media. “Watch films, listen to music, spend time in the gym…and do NOT read newspapers,” were the latest guidelines issued to the national squad for coping with the waiting, and waiting…
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