Archive for October, 2010

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One Day International in jeopardy?

October 23, 2010

One Day International in jeopardy?

These days every so called die-hart cricket fan and self proclaimed cricket experts or gurus are talking about greatness of Test cricket and the efforts to survive the Test cricket. Everyone has almost same but differently portrayed suggestions. List of suggestions is big, to list few:
1. Starts with playing test series within competitive teams. I guess this list is too short viz India, South-Africa, Australia, Srilanka, England & Pakistan (doubts after all allegations surrounding the team). Well for Srilanka an extra condition applies, no more test series in srilanka. For rest of teams it is not just waste of time & money, but it will put test cricket future in danger.
2. Prepare result oriented wickets. Agreed to certain extend, but at the same time home team is criticized for preparing wicket to suit the home team and not playing a series with sportsmanship.
3. Play atleast more than 2 test matches in a series. This is when a home team is having edge over a once dominant team, who is struggling to stay in race to be on top.
4. Play test cricket only at selected venues. No one in stands to witness and applaud the heroic moment when Sachin reached 14,000 test runs. Really they expect people to be in stands, tanning under the sizzling sun, for entire 5 days when a player is striking a ball with strike rate of 30.0 or so. Ask these commentators who are in the a/c suite, getting paid to brag about less crowd, will they be in open stands even for more than 30 mins ?
Almost everyone will agree, a cricket lover is following the test cricket, but do you really need to be in stands to follow test match? As a common working man, forget about paying for tickets to watch a test match, he won’t go even if someone offers him some money to be in stands unless it is in VIP section.

Test cricket is dying not because of failure to adhere the above suggestions (may be a small reason), but the major one is evolution of another form of cricket and that is T20 featured by IPL.
Every sport or for that matter every event is driven by the finances/money which is driven by sponsorship, which is linked with the people, the economy. This should also highlight the reason for other sports not being popular in India (no followers, no sponsorship, no quality team)

I am personally a big fan of IPL, not because I love T20 cricket format, but amazed with the strength of people driving this form of cricket. First time ever witnessed and as narrated by Harsha Bhogle, first time could see the actual benefit of huge population in India. It is this population because of whom IPL is a great success and investors from different part of world are on their toes to invest money in India.

But again so called cricket die-hart fans tend to hate this format. Few reasons for their un-liking:
1. This is not real cricket, there is no display of skills in T20 ? Seriously, I guess still they are playing with a cricket ball and a bat to defend the wickets. Isn’t that cricket, for which stands are over flowed to watch the action, for which investors are knocking at doors of BCCI to get them in.
2. Country comes first and they should abide to duties of country and give priority to international schedule. Ask NewZealand or WestIndies players, how much they get paid for their duties and here we talking about 2 months of the year. Ask fast bowlers like Shane Bond, how limited a career of fast bowler can be, should he be playing for country or playing for his family?
3. No window should be allowed for IPL. Why, isn’t it a hatred for IPL that is coming out through such statements? If this can be win-win situation why can’t we go for it?

However, everyone is kind of forgetting about the ODI, which a year back was most popular format of cricket, but now getting sandwiched in the debate of Test & T20 cricket and being overlooked. Good, talented, most experienced players no more playing ODI because they want to preserve themselves for test cricket. ODI series ahead of historic event like Ashes is regarded less valuable than a club cricket. Players playing the domestic cricket as to prepare for ashes or resting because they just played a dramatic successful Test series and backing out from ODI series (Ind v/s Aus). I wonder why Srilanka is visiting Australia and that too for ODI series just few days ahead of Ashes.
I feel pity for the huge crowd who shows up to see the best players playing the best cricket but they are awarded a worthless ODI match played between almost 3rd level teams. Isn’t all these activities and debates between Test & T20 breathing out the ODI ?
Now where are these cricket gurus, blaming crowd not being knowledgeable & apprehensive for cricket. I guess they are busy gossiping about trash talk before the ashes or about India really worth number 1 ranked team in test cricket?

Wish one day this confusion will be resolved and these experts will understand that the event is driven by the people. Try to give them the best they want, worth their money. This is real secret of saving future of cricket and not just saving Test cricket.

Save ODI first, which is still a huge revenue generating machine and then look for Test cricket survival. Do not worry about IPL, it is there to stay for long.