The Stabroek News in Guyana claims the schedule of matches heavily weighted in India’s favor. I think rain may have a greater impact on the matches.
It should be pointed out that the Indian team management complained about the tournament’s schedule giving an impression it wanted to play early and does not favor “the draw”. Also, the Indian captain, Virat Kohli, in an interview before the start of the world cup matches, complained that India was playing its first match so late in the tournament that it impacts on their fitness and psychological preparation. He said himself and his players were anxious for early action. To stay active, they had to go to the nets daily to stay fit. They were also seen kicking soccer balls and playing table tennis.
Indian fans in the UK also complained about the tournament’s schedule, according to news reports. Indian supporters wanted to see India in action early especially on weekends. The stadiums for all three of India’s games (including the washed out one) were jam packed with Indians (mostly UK residents, as opposed to tourists). In fact, a newspaper report did a dissection of the ethnicity of the crowd in all of the matches played. The report pointed out that whereas the 1975, 79, 83, and 99 tournaments were mostly “British or White” in composition, all of the matches so far (18) were heavily Indian or South Asian in composition. The stands for the match between Australia and India were mostly Indians which may have given an advantage to India. The former Australian captain Steve Smith was booed by fans (cheater in reference to his ball tampering in South Africa. The crowds at the tournament so far reflect a changing ethnic composition of the UK and declining interest in cricket by Britishers who had dominated the sports for centuries. The fact that Australia, South Africa, West Indies, and New Zealand have South Asians help with South Asian attendance in the stands.
I don’t think the matches were planned (scheduled) to benefit any team. I do not know how the games were planned. I believe it was done randomly (luck of the draw) so as not to give any team an advantage over the others in terms of rest time at the start of the tournament and between matches. As of now, all teams played at least three matches. The Indian team has played like champions in its first two matches. There was all round performance from every player against South Africa and Australia. This should have done a lot for the morale of the Indian players. I am of the view that India will come out on top of the tournament and probably undefeated – it has deep batting and bowling. Australia is the strongest team and India clinically defeated it suggesting India should triumph over her remaining six matches.
What is worrying is not the luck of the draw but inclement weather (rain). Some three or four matches were washed out. This could affect which teams get into the playoffs (the two semi finals). In fact, the legendary former West Indies (and Guyana) captain Alvin Kallicharran (my village hero) made this point only on Thursday to an Indian newspaper. There is no alternative date for a washed out match. The two points per match are divided one each for a washed out match. India was affected by a washed out match on Thursday against New Zealand. Had India won, it would have gone on the top of the standings. As it stands, now, India is number four (assuming England defeats West Indians in the encounter on Friday) with New Zealand on top followed by Australia and England. I believe those four teams will battle it out in the playoffs.