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Friday, October 20, 2006

Cricket on bad pitches: I am loving it

Vivian Richards says that the pitches prepared for the ICC Champions Trophy are not good enough for One-day cricket. Rickey Ponting obviously agrees with him. So does Stephen Fleming, Muttiah Murlidharan, Navjot Singh Sidhu and the rest of the cricketing world. The CCI president is so shocked by the under-prepared wickets that he wants the final of the premier cricket tournament shifted out of his own ground! And he must be right because the ICC wants the decision reversed( no, no it's got nothing to do with the fact that ICC read in the reverse reads CCI, just that they always take the wrong decisions, that's all!!). But I am loving it.

A completely doped out Pakistan defeated favourites Sri Lanka. The permanent underdog Newzealand outclassed the Proteas and then the West Indies, beaten-to-the-pulp-by-Lanka shocked World Champions Australia in a classic cliff-hanger. Three matches so far in the main league of the Champions Trophy and Three upsets. What more could one ask for? The berated ICC Trophy is suddenly alive and kicking - all thanks to the severely criticised wickets.

Slowly but surely One-day cricket has been losing its charm - everything seemed to be falling into a very monotonous pattern. If you want to be less harsh, you could say that there were four or five patterns from which the captain was free to choose one depending on the situation and his own style and supply of substance in the team. Lets look at some of the ingredients:

1. Captain A elects to go with one traditional opener and one of the swashbuckling variety( Dravid and Tendulkar). Captain B prefers a high-risk, high-gain flamboyant couple to open. ( Kaluwitharana/Jayasurya).

2. When the going gets tough in the middle, fielding captain A who has saved 4-5 overs of his opening bowler's spell for the end-burst, brings him back for a 2 over spell to help him get a break-through. In this rule, there are almost no exceptions, so no captain B at all

3. Captain A experiments(sic) by promoting batsman no. 7 or 8 to no.3. Captain B does not. He prefers a regular batsman at no.3

4. If 3 to 4 wickets fall early, god save the viewers because now is consolidation time. So batsmen 5,6,7 will rotate the strike like good school boys, take singles, dispatch the occasional bad ball to the boundary et cetera. God really save the viewer if 5,6 and 7 fall too because now the game is as good as over.

The last 500 One-day Cricket matches have been played like this. The first 250 were fun because it was new. The next 250 were not because of the first 250. Thank god for the CCI and the ICC Champions Trophy wickets. The monotony has been broken and One-day cricket is fun again. A television commentator (think it was Tony Greig, but am not too sure) had once remarked that Cricket is at its best when the ball dominates the bat by just a little margin. He was almost right, except for the margin bit. Cricket is at its best when the ball dominates the bat by more than just a margin !!!

1 comment:

omarhaq said...

i love the cricket being played here. i actually assumed indian pitches were dusty, slow and spinner friendly just like in pakistan.

were people expecting anything else?

but this cricket is competitive.

by the way - why do you have lik 6 blogs. why not consolidate them all into 1 and just have different labels for your posts? like humor or champions?

i found your blog through blogrolling. did you link mine as well?!

thanks for the comments on mine though. i jus tdont like irresponsible journalism. parore shouldnt be allowed to BS for the sake of making a few bucks for his column. shoaib is great and all. but if he really is guilty..then he needs to pay the price. i feel really bad for asif though. that kid was amazing. take care