Indian domestic cricket October 23, 2012

A tepid start minus the stars

In many ways this is a unique first-class season in India
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In many ways this is a unique first-class season in India. For starters, the format has undergone a massive overhauling, with every team now getting a minimum of eight matches. The Duleep Trophy will now be held before the Ranji season starts in November and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (T20), quite rightly, will be conducted at the end of the season and just before the IPL.

Oddly though, there's something equally unexpected transpiring at ground zero within most first-class teams. For the first time, a lot of the players/coaches are secretly wishing for their star players' teams playing the Duleep Trophy, Champions League etc to lose! It's bizarre because the same people who took pride when a few among them went a step further to represent their zone and an IPL franchise are now hoping that their respective team loses. It certainly isn't out of a grudge for the more fortunate lot; in fact they still want their wards and peers to do well. But they also want them to be back as soon as possible.

The fact is, the Ranji Trophy is serious business, much more serious than the IPL, Duleep Trophy or the Champions League. If you don't believe me, visit any state association's ground right now and you'll see the dedication and complete devotion towards preparing for the season. While the IPL teams get together a week before the tournament, zonal sides for the Duleep Trophy meet directly at the venue. Compare this with a month (or more) long camp with at least six hours of training every day for a Ranji Trophy team before the season.

While the Ranji camps are in full swing, the soul has been sucked right out of these camps because the men who make all the difference for these state teams are either busy representing the zonal sides or are in South Africa honing their T20 skills. Delhi has lost almost their entire squad, including the coach to both these tournaments, and hence it didn't come as a surprise when their officials spoke on record that they wished for their early exits.

Many state teams, as an essential part of the process, have also brought in different agencies to conduct programs on 'Mental toughness', 'Goal setting' and 'Team building'. Unfortunately, with the main building blocks of the team away, it's the guys who are unlikely to be a part of the eventual squad who are participating in these programs.

While CLT20 is a different beast and its scheduling doesn't fall under the Technical Committee's purview, one can't say the same about the Duleep Trophy. Was it really necessary to hold this tournament just ten days ahead of the season? Earlier, the Duleep Trophy was held at the end of the Ranji season and worked as a just reward. But now, one has to wait several months of no competitive cricket to start the next season with the Duleep Trophy. There must be some sound logic in making this shift, but I'm yet to discover that. Feel free to chip in with your guesses.

Since we're discussing the Duleep Trophy it's worth mentioning that the timing of this tournament isn't the only thing that has changed this season, for the ball with which it was played for the last few seasons has also been shelved for this year's edition. A few years ago, at Rahul Dravid's behest the BCCI had introduced the Kookaburra ball for the Duleep Trophy. The reason for playing with the Kookaburra and not the traditional SG Test ball was that our players found the going a little tough in overseas conditions, and the Kookaburra used in most countries had a significant role to play in our predicament. Sachin Tendulkar had gone a step further to suggest that we should even consider using the Kookaburra ball in the second innings of every Ranji game. Obviously, he also saw merit in making the Indian players familiar with the Kookaburra much in advance.

In case you're wondering what sets apart a Kookaburra from an SG Test, since both the balls are of the same color, shape and weigh exactly the same, here's a crash course on the differences--the new Kookaburra ball has a more pronounced seam and moves appreciably in the air. On the contrary, the SG Test ball, even with its pronounced seam, starts moving only when one side becomes slightly rough. The Kookaburra doesn't swing or seam even half as much once it gets old and hence the only way to make the ball talk is by hitting the deck hard. Well, it's quite the opposite with the older SG Test ball, for it swings appreciably the whole day. Another significant difference is that as the Kookaburra ball gets old, its seam gets embedded on the surface and makes it difficult for finger spinners. But the seam remains pronounced throughout on the SG ball and hence even finger spinners can impart more revolutions and get more purchase off the surface.

These subtle differences are actually not so subtle when it comes to adjusting and modifying your game accordingly in quick time. There was merit in organizing a tete-e-tete between the cream of Indian cricket and the Kookaburra ball.

The flip side of using the Kookaburra ball was that it responds best on hard and bouncy pitches and hence it wasn't as productive on the surfaces where the Duleep Trophy was played. Perhaps, playing only once a year wasn't enough to know the finer nuances of the workings of the ball and remember them too. But instead of addressing the bigger issues, which are the 'non-responsive surfaces' and not enough game time with the Kookaburra, we have dumped the ball. Instead of finding out why the idea hasn't worked, we have scrapped the idea itself. The reasons better be profound.

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Robin Sen on December 1, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    Aakash..brilliant article and not wasted on the readers as this piece will appeal to the non T20 crowd and those who understand the game. BCCI is run bymen with little experience of playing the game. Seems like a 'job for the boys' scenario. Unlikely anyone from the BCCI will reakashd this, let alone appreciate it. The top honchos at BCCI should be fulltime employees (not that they need the money) with plenty of time to handle all that is required. Totally absurd that until 3 years ago, they did not have a web site??!! Even my window cleaner ( Oily Harry..he only has one hand which iss always dirty) had a web site before the BCCI. Anyway, keep up the good work Aakash.

  • Leslie Aloysious on October 28, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    Well assessed, Aakash. Earlier, the best performers in Ranji used to be automatically selected for Duleep trophy and the best here for the Irani Trophy. Now, the best in T20 and last year's heroes who might be off color this season become automatic choices for Duleep and Irani. As a result, the worthy loses their chance to gain visibility.

    There are obviously some steps in the right direction. But unless 75% of the matches are played on green tops and square turners, Indian batsmen will keep flopping abroad as usual as we see now in T20 in SA. Ranji was the most bowler friendly under Vensarkar, which brought results abroad, so let us just hope visionaries come at the top and take a leaf off marshall...

  • soulcurry on October 27, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    There are "pundits", then there are pundits, then there are experts & then there is Akash Chopra. Always very insightful, easily comprehendable style, and always 'hitting the deck' with the readers. Great work Akash, keep doing. Thanks.

  • Harshavardhan on October 27, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    As always, great analysis. I've always wanted to know, whats the ball the English use(If I remember correctly, its the Duke or something of that sort right?)? Is it similar to the kookaburra?

    Also, is it time we encouraged more players to travel overseas during non-Ranji times to participate in the domestic 4/5 day tournaments of other countries? I know for a fact that English domestic teams, unlike Indian teams, allow foreign players to play,is that the case with the Aussies and the RSA as well?

  • kevin martin on October 26, 2012, 21:46 GMT

    From an Indian-born cricket tragic and writer now settled in Australia let me say Akash that I look forward to your articles with a keen sense of anticipation. I'm always impressed by: a) the level of technicality and analysis you bring to each piece and(b)how clearly and simply, yet straightforward, you state your case. Congratulations on making a perfect seque: from making the bat speak to letting the pen do the talking now; although, these days, one hardly equates one's keyboard with a pen.

  • Sitanshu on October 26, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    Aakash, great job.

    Instead of having the first innings lead as a decider, why not have the point system which is similar to that used in County Cricket. Have certain amount of points for scoring a certain number of runs and taking wickets. And then add certain number of points for scoring at a certain run rate. Things would get a little complicated, but ensure that we don't have borefests.

    Also, I must add that I do not like the new structure of Ranji. I would much prefer the structure of the last two seasons. But, ideally we should have something similar to county cricket.

  • Megha Sinha on October 26, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    My guide to Indian grassroot Cricket. Eagerly waiting for your next piece Sir!

  • Vishal on October 26, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Agree with the points here. Would just like to add that coincidentally the Duleep Trophy might help in preparing some of the players for the home series against England. But I hope the players who did well also get rewarded by getting selected. And I wish players like Sehwag and Gambhir preferred Duleep over CLT20.

  • Nitesh on October 26, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    Hello Akash,

    Very nice article and good read too! I like the way put your thoughts on the paper and the choice of words.

    I have one question for you. Since this was the introducton of Kookaburra ball in Duleep Trophy and in India.

    Was it the reason behind Dinda's match winning performance of a hostile spell of 26 for 7 wickets in 13 overs?

    Kind regards, Nitesh

  • Sisir on October 25, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    Nice Article Akash but was wondering if both the kookubura and SG are of same make and size what makes them behave differently? I believe it might be the pitches, Outfield, the moisture in air, the wind and the way players handle the ball which dictates the behavior... Having the Duleep trophy at the start of season would give the necessary match prep for the players...they would get into the test match groove and would be match ready from Day 1. I also feel the 1st innings lead rule is a wonderful concept, specially in India where the pitches are far to conducive to batting, yes we do end up with lot of draws but in most cases players play out of their skin to make sure they get the innings lead... it's wonderful to see batsman concentrate day in day out trying hard not to make mistake or throw their wicket away... similarly blowers have to strive hard, bring in variations and have to be patience for their wickets... It's wonderful!!!

  • Robin Sen on December 1, 2012, 19:17 GMT

    Aakash..brilliant article and not wasted on the readers as this piece will appeal to the non T20 crowd and those who understand the game. BCCI is run bymen with little experience of playing the game. Seems like a 'job for the boys' scenario. Unlikely anyone from the BCCI will reakashd this, let alone appreciate it. The top honchos at BCCI should be fulltime employees (not that they need the money) with plenty of time to handle all that is required. Totally absurd that until 3 years ago, they did not have a web site??!! Even my window cleaner ( Oily Harry..he only has one hand which iss always dirty) had a web site before the BCCI. Anyway, keep up the good work Aakash.

  • Leslie Aloysious on October 28, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    Well assessed, Aakash. Earlier, the best performers in Ranji used to be automatically selected for Duleep trophy and the best here for the Irani Trophy. Now, the best in T20 and last year's heroes who might be off color this season become automatic choices for Duleep and Irani. As a result, the worthy loses their chance to gain visibility.

    There are obviously some steps in the right direction. But unless 75% of the matches are played on green tops and square turners, Indian batsmen will keep flopping abroad as usual as we see now in T20 in SA. Ranji was the most bowler friendly under Vensarkar, which brought results abroad, so let us just hope visionaries come at the top and take a leaf off marshall...

  • soulcurry on October 27, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    There are "pundits", then there are pundits, then there are experts & then there is Akash Chopra. Always very insightful, easily comprehendable style, and always 'hitting the deck' with the readers. Great work Akash, keep doing. Thanks.

  • Harshavardhan on October 27, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    As always, great analysis. I've always wanted to know, whats the ball the English use(If I remember correctly, its the Duke or something of that sort right?)? Is it similar to the kookaburra?

    Also, is it time we encouraged more players to travel overseas during non-Ranji times to participate in the domestic 4/5 day tournaments of other countries? I know for a fact that English domestic teams, unlike Indian teams, allow foreign players to play,is that the case with the Aussies and the RSA as well?

  • kevin martin on October 26, 2012, 21:46 GMT

    From an Indian-born cricket tragic and writer now settled in Australia let me say Akash that I look forward to your articles with a keen sense of anticipation. I'm always impressed by: a) the level of technicality and analysis you bring to each piece and(b)how clearly and simply, yet straightforward, you state your case. Congratulations on making a perfect seque: from making the bat speak to letting the pen do the talking now; although, these days, one hardly equates one's keyboard with a pen.

  • Sitanshu on October 26, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    Aakash, great job.

    Instead of having the first innings lead as a decider, why not have the point system which is similar to that used in County Cricket. Have certain amount of points for scoring a certain number of runs and taking wickets. And then add certain number of points for scoring at a certain run rate. Things would get a little complicated, but ensure that we don't have borefests.

    Also, I must add that I do not like the new structure of Ranji. I would much prefer the structure of the last two seasons. But, ideally we should have something similar to county cricket.

  • Megha Sinha on October 26, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    My guide to Indian grassroot Cricket. Eagerly waiting for your next piece Sir!

  • Vishal on October 26, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Agree with the points here. Would just like to add that coincidentally the Duleep Trophy might help in preparing some of the players for the home series against England. But I hope the players who did well also get rewarded by getting selected. And I wish players like Sehwag and Gambhir preferred Duleep over CLT20.

  • Nitesh on October 26, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    Hello Akash,

    Very nice article and good read too! I like the way put your thoughts on the paper and the choice of words.

    I have one question for you. Since this was the introducton of Kookaburra ball in Duleep Trophy and in India.

    Was it the reason behind Dinda's match winning performance of a hostile spell of 26 for 7 wickets in 13 overs?

    Kind regards, Nitesh

  • Sisir on October 25, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    Nice Article Akash but was wondering if both the kookubura and SG are of same make and size what makes them behave differently? I believe it might be the pitches, Outfield, the moisture in air, the wind and the way players handle the ball which dictates the behavior... Having the Duleep trophy at the start of season would give the necessary match prep for the players...they would get into the test match groove and would be match ready from Day 1. I also feel the 1st innings lead rule is a wonderful concept, specially in India where the pitches are far to conducive to batting, yes we do end up with lot of draws but in most cases players play out of their skin to make sure they get the innings lead... it's wonderful to see batsman concentrate day in day out trying hard not to make mistake or throw their wicket away... similarly blowers have to strive hard, bring in variations and have to be patience for their wickets... It's wonderful!!!

  • Milind Raj on October 24, 2012, 16:23 GMT

    You were the pillar of our opening stand in that Australia tour and I know you did not get credit as much as others got.This is to let you know I acknowledge your immense solid contribution as opener whnever you got a chance. Having said that ,I like your writing too & ideas seem practical. How about opening your own cricketing academy and making sure the tracks for practice in your academy are of different types i.e bouncy , green, spin tracks. How about you yourself identifying fast bowling talent through some pace competition at your academy and once you identify 4-5 good pacers , train them at academy to bowl the perfect line/length but with pace & then present these bowlers to one Ranji team. This was your contribution to India will be acknowledged in one way or other. Besides it may turn out to be profitable academy to you financially at later stage as well if you provide a couple of bowling/batting stars are result of your academy.With your knowledge you could be next Achrekar.

  • Anand on October 24, 2012, 15:56 GMT

    Very well written article.

  • Aakash Chopra on October 24, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    Thanks, guys!

    Dear Paritosh, the answer to your question is playing some of the Ranji matches on neutral venues. We can identify the pitches with more bounce and pace (Dharamshala, Lahli, Mohali etc.) and then ensure that every team plays a couple of games on these venues.

    Dear Nabeel, bounce isn't spinner's enemy. On the contrary, all good spinners prefer bounce, for the edges and bat/pads carry to the fielders. No one is suggesting getting rid of the SG ball completely, but it's only fair to allow our youngsters to get a feel for the Kookaburra ball. Aus, SA etc. don't use SG Test for their domestic tourney because SG Test is used only in India. We need to use the Kookaburra because everywhere else (except Eng) cricket is played with Kookaburra.

    Dear Sudheer, I'm totally against the first-innings lead rule and opposed it vociferously on various platforms too. If you follow this blog, you'll find me bringing it up again this season. Hope things change. Archaic rules need to go!

  • Maddy on October 24, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    Superb Aakash...Always love to read your articles...Very informative,detailed and transparent.Very Interesting too.I want to congratulate and also appreciate your efforts. Great Job. looking forward to your next one eagerly..Keep up the good work..Cheers !!

  • Sudheer Deoli on October 24, 2012, 6:48 GMT

    Akash Chopra you seem to have impressed a lot of people with your meticulous writing and observations. Yes i do believe that Teams like to get in the thick of thing when its about Ranji Trophy. But there is no point fighting for that coveted trophy, till the time there are rules like winner on the basis of first inning lead. I still remember the dullness you and your team member reflected through your batting in last Ranji Trophy Final. Thanks to Dinesh Kartik of Tamilnadu that i was made to feel happy. More than any technicality in the Domestic Cricket in India, BCCI must get away with these kind of unreasonable laws or else we don't have an option to see an undeserving team getting thrashed in Irani Trophy by Rest of India.

  • jerry on October 24, 2012, 6:22 GMT

    Do you seriously think that the semi new ball which is used after 34 overs is helping the game at all ? I know it may be a off question. MSD always complaints that we have to improve in the death overs of the games...but without the old ball & reverse swing...ICC kind off killed climax of the game.I can't understand why it should be batsmen friendly again when there is already a extra power play.

  • GM on October 24, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    sensible points to be looked into by the BCCI tecnical committee, what is akash chopra's state association's take on the article, if they are endorsing it, than the ball is in the tech comm. court

  • Raman Nallamilli on October 23, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    Great Post Akash. Hope BCCI Listens..

  • tweakerf on October 23, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    A key issue that needs addressing is the composition of temas for the Ranji and Duleep Trophy matches. The fact is that the absence of leading Test players not only devalues first class cricket but also deprives young aspirants to Test cricket to hone their skills against the best in the country. Further, it is very apparent that given the lack of practice games on tours these days, Indian Test cricketers lack match fitness for the big games. And this applies to the entire team - more so these days to the likes of Tendulkar and Sehwag! You cannot walk into a Test Match and perform after a few hits in the nets. In contrast teams from other countries compel their Test aspirants to play First Class cricket in preparation for Test series. Michael Clarke even plays Grade cricket in Sydney if required to stay match fit. Sadly Indian Test cricketers are chasing dollars and the BCCI really does not care enough to force them to play Test cricket.

  • satish on October 23, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    Aakash Chopra really makes some sound & valid points.one more thing he was best short leg fielder second only to Eknath Solkar nobody can anywhere near them.he should be given his due place by BCCI for his sound knowledge

  • Arvind on October 23, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    IPL is not even India's domestic T20 league. Why does everyone care so much about this so-called Champions League? I think I know.

  • Nabeel on October 23, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    Although i agree with most of the points in the article there are 2 things that I would like to understand 1. India uses the SG Test ball in the Home tests. And with spin being our strength the help it gives to the spinners is the obvious home advantage. Also reverse swing comes into picture. 2. If we prepare bouncy pitches and use Kookaburra ball for the full season, we basically prepare domestic players to play in forgein countries, but what about home games. india plays 50% of its games at home. 3. Also we do not find Austalian/ South African sides using SG balls and slower pitches to prepare their domestic players for sub continent conditions - at least not in their domestic tournaments, they may do it in camps and all. 4. So I think we should have bouncy pitches on some grounds and use them for 1-2 months camps before touring these countries. Even for India A, Junior teams before going on the tours. But for the domestic tournaments stick to the SG ball

  • Paritosh Anand on October 23, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    Aakash, if you follow your readers' comment. I would like you to say a) Firstly, It is an excellent insightful article. Profound analysis.

    b) Secondly, if you can ANSWER my question here, it would be great. You have been a major part of Indian national team, Rajasthan and Delhi Ranji teams. It would surely make an impact if cricketers like you ask BCCI to invest in pitches that offer Australia and England kind of bounce. And that would be more helpful if those are made in cold windy places like Dharamsala. That would make many young players accustomed to foreign tracks. And even encourage more fast bowlers. Atleast an initiative.It is a REQUEST. hope you answer me.

  • Bharath on October 23, 2012, 11:19 GMT

    T20 will not exist if test cricket evades. Whether a person represents his national side or not he should have proved himself in the domestic circuit to be successful in T20's . Else it would be difficult for a person to sustain. We see consistent failures from Pollard/Morkel/ few more hard hitters ,it is very clear that they do not play any other form other than T20 and they may not show success for a longer duration of time. They were successful initially because of the amount of longer format of cricket they played till then. Cricketing skills can only be developed if one plays a longer innings else he may not get enough experience to maintain his consistency

  • Sandesh N Parkar on October 23, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    I think Aakash Chopra needs to be on that BCCI Technical Committee. He makes some sound points!

  • Dheeraj on October 23, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    Great post by Akash! The roots of India becoming a prominent cricketing nation lie in the Ranji tournaments of the 1970s, 80s and even the 90s. True cricket lovers still wait for and follow test matches (and the Ranji). That is where strategy and true grit get reflected. ODIs are still strategy and skill in a pill. T20s can never create a Holding, Garner, G. Vishwanath, Gavaskar, Sachin, Rahul or the Waughs. Indian cricket is because of the likes of Bedi, Prasanna and many others who were because of the longer and much more cricket-like forms of the game.

  • Naresh Patel on October 23, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Another good article. Aakash has again gone into the technicalities of cricket. Ball types, grounds, and even bat types are making Indian cricketers poor. As the game changes and revolves Indian batsman/bowlers get left behind. Good suggestion by Aakash that Indian think tank needs investigating these changes and make players ready for the game.

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  • Naresh Patel on October 23, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    Another good article. Aakash has again gone into the technicalities of cricket. Ball types, grounds, and even bat types are making Indian cricketers poor. As the game changes and revolves Indian batsman/bowlers get left behind. Good suggestion by Aakash that Indian think tank needs investigating these changes and make players ready for the game.

  • Dheeraj on October 23, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    Great post by Akash! The roots of India becoming a prominent cricketing nation lie in the Ranji tournaments of the 1970s, 80s and even the 90s. True cricket lovers still wait for and follow test matches (and the Ranji). That is where strategy and true grit get reflected. ODIs are still strategy and skill in a pill. T20s can never create a Holding, Garner, G. Vishwanath, Gavaskar, Sachin, Rahul or the Waughs. Indian cricket is because of the likes of Bedi, Prasanna and many others who were because of the longer and much more cricket-like forms of the game.

  • Sandesh N Parkar on October 23, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    I think Aakash Chopra needs to be on that BCCI Technical Committee. He makes some sound points!

  • Bharath on October 23, 2012, 11:19 GMT

    T20 will not exist if test cricket evades. Whether a person represents his national side or not he should have proved himself in the domestic circuit to be successful in T20's . Else it would be difficult for a person to sustain. We see consistent failures from Pollard/Morkel/ few more hard hitters ,it is very clear that they do not play any other form other than T20 and they may not show success for a longer duration of time. They were successful initially because of the amount of longer format of cricket they played till then. Cricketing skills can only be developed if one plays a longer innings else he may not get enough experience to maintain his consistency

  • Paritosh Anand on October 23, 2012, 13:57 GMT

    Aakash, if you follow your readers' comment. I would like you to say a) Firstly, It is an excellent insightful article. Profound analysis.

    b) Secondly, if you can ANSWER my question here, it would be great. You have been a major part of Indian national team, Rajasthan and Delhi Ranji teams. It would surely make an impact if cricketers like you ask BCCI to invest in pitches that offer Australia and England kind of bounce. And that would be more helpful if those are made in cold windy places like Dharamsala. That would make many young players accustomed to foreign tracks. And even encourage more fast bowlers. Atleast an initiative.It is a REQUEST. hope you answer me.

  • Nabeel on October 23, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    Although i agree with most of the points in the article there are 2 things that I would like to understand 1. India uses the SG Test ball in the Home tests. And with spin being our strength the help it gives to the spinners is the obvious home advantage. Also reverse swing comes into picture. 2. If we prepare bouncy pitches and use Kookaburra ball for the full season, we basically prepare domestic players to play in forgein countries, but what about home games. india plays 50% of its games at home. 3. Also we do not find Austalian/ South African sides using SG balls and slower pitches to prepare their domestic players for sub continent conditions - at least not in their domestic tournaments, they may do it in camps and all. 4. So I think we should have bouncy pitches on some grounds and use them for 1-2 months camps before touring these countries. Even for India A, Junior teams before going on the tours. But for the domestic tournaments stick to the SG ball

  • Arvind on October 23, 2012, 16:30 GMT

    IPL is not even India's domestic T20 league. Why does everyone care so much about this so-called Champions League? I think I know.

  • satish on October 23, 2012, 16:34 GMT

    Aakash Chopra really makes some sound & valid points.one more thing he was best short leg fielder second only to Eknath Solkar nobody can anywhere near them.he should be given his due place by BCCI for his sound knowledge

  • tweakerf on October 23, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    A key issue that needs addressing is the composition of temas for the Ranji and Duleep Trophy matches. The fact is that the absence of leading Test players not only devalues first class cricket but also deprives young aspirants to Test cricket to hone their skills against the best in the country. Further, it is very apparent that given the lack of practice games on tours these days, Indian Test cricketers lack match fitness for the big games. And this applies to the entire team - more so these days to the likes of Tendulkar and Sehwag! You cannot walk into a Test Match and perform after a few hits in the nets. In contrast teams from other countries compel their Test aspirants to play First Class cricket in preparation for Test series. Michael Clarke even plays Grade cricket in Sydney if required to stay match fit. Sadly Indian Test cricketers are chasing dollars and the BCCI really does not care enough to force them to play Test cricket.

  • Raman Nallamilli on October 23, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    Great Post Akash. Hope BCCI Listens..