20th February 2011

Poor Kenya. Poor Canada.

As KP so inaccurately put it, today was literally the slaughter of the innocents.

Clearly Kevin’s a man who’s read the Bible, if not perhaps a dictionary definition of ‘literally’; as I’m sure there are many things of which you could accuse Daniel Vettori, but I’m not sure killing the first born male child of every family in Nairobi if one of them – although technically there’s nothing in the laws of the game to stop him.

No, we’re not witnessing mass infanticide – this is the World Cup group stages. A chance for the associate nations to step out into the limelight and, if luck is with them, for one of their players to seize the day. Not by being awarded Man of the Match but by winning the far more important sprint across the field to be the one who swaps shirts with Sachin Tendulkar. You can’t put a price on that kind of memory, although conveniently eBay can.

For the rest of the cricket world – and by rest of the cricket world I obviously mean India – the real purpose of the group stages is to keep the TV channels out here happy by giving them a month’s guaranteed revenue from having that MS Dhoni Pepsi ad on heavy rotation.

Yes, nothing says “Change the game” quite like watching Canada being beaten by 210 runs and seeing Kenya bowled out for 69. Change the game, indeed. Change it for something a bit more competitive…