Monday, June 25, 2012

its time for a sweet 16

Phew…thankfully not much cricket going around. I’m sure cricket buffs like me must be thanking BCCI for allowing us to spend valuable times with family, friends and possibly exploring other entertainment opportunities. In the meantime, cricket columnists and experts are running intense debates as which form of the game is under severe threat – the ODI’s or Tests?

As long as there is no over dosage or meaningless cricket exhibited, every form of the game is safe. Just as we speak meaningless cricket, here we go, India take on Sri Lanka for a 5 match ODI series and a T20 match in July 2012. Probably, a gesture from BCCI to compensate Sri Lankan Board for not allowing its players to participate in their T20 league. Since Test Cricket is not feasible revenue generating option and the number of T20’s played in a calendar year has restrictions, India takes on Sri Lanka in an ODI series!!! By the way, I wonder who is going to watch India – Sri Lanka encounters. For a poor turnout, the pundits will get another chance to blame the format.

To me, Test Cricket remains ultimate Test; ODI’s provide useful opportunity to evaluate a player’s talent/temperament (in others words breeding ground for the litmus test) and T20’s provide ultimate entertainment for the audience. All formats demand sustenance for the good of the game and there are takers for each variety. For each format to bring optimal revenue, every calendar year should limit to 14 Tests (7 Home, 7 Away), 25 One Day Internationals (10 Home, 10 Away, 5 dedicated to the development of Cricket in Associated Nations), a World Cup in 4 years and T20’s should be restricted to club level with a World T20 every 2 years. In all, a year should comprise not more than 125-150 days of cricket.

Somewhere, in other part of the world, India A lost to West Indies A (1-2) in the Tests. Considering majority of the India A players has more International exposure over their counterparts, it is a disappointing loss. However, India A fought better than Team India outside subcontinent is the consoling factor. But, the bottom line remains same. India A or India, games don’t go past 3rd day (first test against WI A was an exception) is the cruel reality. Chetashwar Pujara was the lone star, probably a lone candidate too to fill the shoes of Dravid. A century performance would have been a nice icing and rendered solidarity to his case. Rahane was the biggest disappointment while Mukund was a disaster. Rohit Sharma surely let go off the glorious opportunity to seal a Test birth. Let us see what is in store for the A team on the Tour of New Zealand in Sep-Oct 2012. I wish Rohit Sharma & Rahane put a better show here to make a case for reckoning against England Tests.

The performance of A Team at the Caribbean shores should urge the selectors to look beyond the options available. Teen Debutants are an option to ponder. In the past, India managed to reap rich dividends from Teen entrants as Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Suresh Raina etc., However players like Parthiv Patel disappointed too. But the success of majority surely overwhelms the minority. When we talk about Teen options, Vijay Zol name appears top of the list.

If Dravid is the master of temperament, he scores about 200 runs in 2 days. While Lara scores double the amount of runs in the same amount of time with equal temperament. Though I did not witness Zol’s 451 personally, I could visualize the innings studded with stroke play coupled with Dravid’s temperament. I know I’m using some big names for reference, but it is only an analogy to make an inference. Outside that mammoth 451 he went to make few more big tons to exhibit his appetite for batting long.  Anyways, Zol being in the squad for the England & Australia Tests should only do more good to him than harm. I excluded New Zealand series here as I assume Zol could be in Australia to represent India Under19 in the World Cup. The moment has arrived to mix a kid among youth in search of name after a Dravid or Tendulkar or Laxman. Time the selectors wear a thinking cap.

Kevin Pieterson retiring from One Day cricket must have surprised many. Since the retirement came out primarily on difference of opinion grounds with the board, it is only a matter of time, before he comes out of retirement. 

Bottom line: There was a time cricketers used to prolong their career only to end up leading wicket taker/run scorer. These days’ players limit their career for a prolonged pie from a %$#@ Premier League.

Cricket Lover

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