June 7, 2011

Innovations

Are you with Shahid?

Andrew Hughes
Shahid Afridi at a press conference in Karachi, June 6, 2011
“Fooled you again, didn’t I?”  © Associated Press
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Saturday, 4th June Shahid Afridi and the PCB are now officially in a state of feud and are settling it like men, the old-fashioned way: press releases and legal notices at dawn. Stopping Shahid from playing Twenty20 in England does have a hint of the playground about it. But then again, Afridi would try the patience of the most benevolent administrator. He is the boy (with the lovely hair) who cried resignation once too often.

So whose side are you on? It’s tricky, as Run DMC put it.

Though this revolution is timely, I’m not sure Afridi is the man to lead it. The Che Guevara of Pakistani cricket may look good on a t-shirt but he’s not the most reliable of figureheads around whom to rally. He is the embodiment of unpredictability. He lets you down, then he makes up for it, then he lets you down again. It's no coincidence that the founding members of the Afridi fan club all went grey years ago. As heroes go, he is from the shelf marked “flawed”.

On the other hand, he isn’t Ijaz Butt. Like I said, it’s tricky.

Sunday 5th June Cricket Australia are toying with the idea of twilight play in some Sheffield Shield games next year. Not before time. It’s as timid as warm milk, but they’re reckless revolutionaries compared to the ICC. In most corners of their dominion, Test cricket has nearly ceased to be and is well on the way to being an ex-format. So what are they doing to reanimate it? We may, possibly, have some sort of Test championship playoff in 2013, a mere decade after the Test ratings were initiated. That’s about it.

How about day-nighters? Four-day Tests? Coloured clothing? Players’ names on the backs of their shirts? A slightly more robust approach to playing in the rain? A new ball every 40 overs? Sacrilege! Whilst (popular and profitable) 50-over cricket is fair game for all manner of wacky innovations and bizarre experiments, the five-day format must be perfectly preserved, like a museum exhibit, as the cobwebs accumulate and the spectators drift away in search of something more interesting.

But perhaps there is another angle. Maybe, instead of trying to find 21st-century solutions, we should seek inspiration from the past. I’m not talking compulsory beards, cravats or Bodyline (although there’s a lot to be said for all three). No other sport depends so much on the condition of the playing surface, so why not make a virtue of it and bring back the uncovered pitch? Hands up who wants to see how well Ian Bell or Thilan Samaraweera cope with a sticky dog at Old Trafford or a hard-baked turner in Chennai? Let’s make Test cricket a real test instead of a run-fest.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by adil on (June 10, 2011, 19:36 GMT)

he is one of great cricketer of pakistan.plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz dont lose him

Posted by rezwan rajar on (June 9, 2011, 15:35 GMT)

yes i am with shahid afridi because of not he is a good player but he is also best captain last 8 months...and ijaz butt the man one who destroing pakistan cricket last 2 years.....

Posted by Arshad Hussaub on (June 8, 2011, 8:02 GMT)

Afridi is right of wrong? it does not matter, the fact is PCB is destroying careers of many good crickters in Pakistan. If Afridi succeed in getting PCB reverse its decision against Afridi other players will also be able to get their problems solved with PCB through courts.

Posted by Rafiullah on (June 8, 2011, 7:57 GMT)

I do not think so that shahid doing right becouse did this type of action many time and doing this is just become hobby for him.

Posted by Ali Khan on (June 8, 2011, 7:47 GMT)

In my opinion Ejaz Butt should be sacked immediately. He does not know the C of cricket. He has made Misbah Ul Haq captain for ODI's the man drew the TEST SERIES against W.INDIES who are the weakest, it is as good as losing the series. Secondly the coach and the manager giving reason of losing the odi's against west indies despite pakistan beat them 3-2. Ejaz Butt is solely responsible for decline in Pakistan Cricket in last 2 years. Waqar and Inzamam captained Pakistan in 2003/2007 world cup and pakistan were shamefully out in the first round despite having all the stars in the side. SHAHID AFRIDI HAS LEAD THE TEAM FROM THE FRONT DURING WORLD CUP 2011 and PLAYED SEMI FINALS AFTER BEATING SRILANKA / AUSTRALIA. INSTEAD OF APPLAUDING SHAHID PCB TRYING TO END HIS FUTURE BY ADOPTING UNETHICAL MEANS WHICH IS NOT FAIR. IS THERE ANYBODY TO COUNTER PCB(EJAZ BUTT )

Posted by mobin on (June 8, 2011, 7:31 GMT)

i Think Afridi Is Right.PCB/Izaz Butt Is A man Who Distroid Pakistan Cricket Team.

Posted by javed on (June 8, 2011, 7:14 GMT)

KEEP IT UP AFRIDI YOU HAVE PUT THE DICTATOR ON THE BACK FOOT

Posted by sabkababaone on (June 8, 2011, 5:47 GMT)

yes i m with afridi due the tremendos playing idea and the way they handle things in world cup people require to see that moment also when he lead the team against sri lanka and australia and also i want to a to z reformation in the board till the peon should be suspended

Posted by ansar asim on (June 8, 2011, 5:10 GMT)

yes me and my family shahid.....iijaz butt tottly wrong.he should leave his seat.....afradi should play for pakistan.

Posted by Indian Muslim on (June 8, 2011, 4:40 GMT)

Pakistan is the laughing stock of the world of cricket. Without Pakistan, cricket would be so boring. A new drama comes out of Pakistan cricket every week. When will the lethargic Pakistani people do something about these weekly dramas?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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