December 24, 2009

Change is not cricket's enemy

It hasn't been a decade of doom, merely one of change
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Doomsday scripts are deluging us, as if churned out by a Hollywood production line. But as we know, while scripts can be scary, they need not necessarily be true. And so it must be stated up front: cricket is not in peril, it is merely undergoing change. Some people equate the two, but that happens every time a comfortable world order is disturbed.

Cricket as we knew it might change, but that has also happened with the way we communicate, with the way our families are structured and with the kind of medicines we take. Change doesn't always mean progress but the status quo isn't always the best result either. It is merely the most convenient.

The decade started with one of the greatest Test series of all time, when Australia came to India in 2001. At its mid-point we had one of the most riveting Ashes series ever. And the decade ended with some quality cricket between Australia and South Africa, Pakistan and New Zealand, another fine Ashes series, and a contentious Indian tour of Australia, where controversy shrouded the fact that it was still an excellent contest. Notice Australia is the common factor, and even if some of their cricketers believe that laws concerning behaviour should be a bit different for them, the fact is, they produce the best cricket on the planet.

Elsewhere, in the middle of the decade, cricket caught politicians napping and brought Indians and Pakistanis closer than ever before. But politics had the last laugh and that wonderful period between Kargil and Mumbai's 26/11 may never return. Cricket's greater enemy, certainly in the subcontinent, is not change but the hatred that evil minds spread and feed on. Don't forget, too, that cricket gave South Africa one of its most loved icons and allowed Makhaya Ntini to script one of sport's nicest feel-good stories.

Even if some of their cricketers believe that laws concerning behaviour should be a bit different for them, the fact is, Australia produce the best cricket on the planet

And so in spite of having been on death row for a while, Test cricket gave us many happy moments this decade. And given its resilience it would be fair to expect a few more in the decade ahead. The key question, though, will be whether or not youngsters either want to play it or look upon it as the highest form of the game. Those that lit up this decade, the Warnes and McGraths and Pontings and Tendulkars and Dravids and Muralis, grew up dreaming of playing Test matches. Teenagers today may not feel the same way, and by 2015 the Twenty20 generation will be playing international cricket. That will present an interesting challenge.

Already we are seeing fewer and fewer cricketers wanting to bowl quick. It is the best way to sneak into a world XI of Test cricketers at the moment. Shane Bond has quit, Shoaib Akhtar is a memory, Dale Steyn turns up far too infrequently, Brett Lee looks like he is done, Fidel Edwards is occasionally sighted, Kemar Roach is too young for an assessment, and Ishant Sharma is as confused as young men his age tend to be. That explains the number of 50-plus batting averages in recent times and why it has been a batting decade.

The good old one-day international has been knocked around a bit too, but viewership figures and attendances seem to tell a story that's a bit different to that which some columnists have been propagating. My suspicion is, as I argued some time back, that it is not the ODI that is in danger but the world contest played in front of neutral audiences. There is so much cricket that viewers must prioritise, and so home games are doing well while others are being ignored. If that is what market research is telling us, then we need to tailor our products accordingly. The 2011 World Cup is consequently going to be a key event in shaping the future of cricket contests and one that the ICC must watch very closely, since it will be impacted the most.

The end of the decade was lit up by the IPL and Twenty20, by the arrival of the brash young kid. To be honest, I am not worried by that since most non-conformists are labelled brash anyway. And it is the non-conformists who challenge the world, not those who seek satisfaction in the status quo. It has given the consumer what he or she likes and has given many more players the opportunity to earn a living from the game. We'll wait and see if it becomes a monster or a saviour.

And so it has not been a decade of doom, merely one of change.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ww113 on December 27, 2009, 18:41 GMT

    Harsha,change may not be Cricket's enemy but Lalit Modi and the BCCI seem to have taken it upon themselves to become international Cricket's enemies.All this talk of "windows" in the international calender,talking about still more seasons of IPL and tempting cricketers with so much money that representing their country becomes a secondary consideration for them.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 27, 2009, 13:34 GMT

    There are two ways of disliking cricket. One is to not watch it or follow it, the other is to like 20/20.

  • starjay on December 26, 2009, 22:17 GMT

    Some of the comments posted here criticizing the IPL are totally uncalled for. The IPL is a true innovation of the game. Whether it's a positive or negative innovation is another matter. Secondly, I don't mind commentators talking about the IPL during international games. It's a matter of fact that players respect each other a WHOLE lot after the IPL. The IPL has brought many players together. In spite of playing for their countries, many players display signs of friendship on field which was totally non-existent previously. The Australian players for one now understand where the Indians come from and vice versa.

    The IPL is similar to the FA premier league. I remember in one world cup game where England played France, Wayne Rooney and Mikael Silvestre were mentioned as 'good mates' playing for Manchester United. In that case the commentators were not endorsing the FA premier league but simply stating a fact. The same applies to the IPL. The IPL is an international 'Indian' league.

  • celticfrost on December 26, 2009, 20:30 GMT

    Yes! The booming average of batsmen is the result of good fast bowlers being absent from the seen. The game looks lopsided in favor of batsmen more than ever before.And especially in sub continent high scoring dramas have lead to the gradual decline of fast bowler's enthusiasm and eventually his breed.

    The game urgently needs a balancing act of some short between the wood and the leather.

  • mh.navuda on December 26, 2009, 17:51 GMT

    Why everybody is making noise about test cricket future. I am fed up with this.As per me test cricket is like what it was there 5 or 10 years ago. I don't think test match number is decreasing year by year. Spectator watched the game at 2000 is equal to no.of spectator watched today test match in india. You can see from today boxing day match attended by 60K people in Australia. Don't make this kind of noise, if we continue that everybody feel test cricked is dieing even though its not

  • Shanks... on December 26, 2009, 12:47 GMT

    Even though new formats have been introduced in the world of cricket and people are more attracted towards them. T-20 and other other formats of the game are just for fun and entertainment, but the real meaning of cricket is always displayed by Test format. Its a shame that most of us dont like watching test matches at al, but according to me the real meaning of cricket is Test match only because it show the character and the class of a cricketer. One can play short formats of game pretty easily, but playing a test game shows the ultimate caliber of a cricketer. Even though I am 22 yrs old and i love watching all formats of cricket, but I really enjoy watching Test cricket the most.

  • borninthetimeofSRT on December 26, 2009, 4:05 GMT

    Nice article Harsha. Aussies no doubt produce some compelling cricket and seem like never believing that they are not number one. That shows their determination to be back on top. Just because BCCI rakes in a lot of money from India matches, I think this is just about the right time to market the forthcoming Border Gavaskar Trophy (just like The Ashes Series is promoted almost right after they are done with one). And also just about the right time to push for a 5 test series instead of 4. In my opinion the format that draws in a lot of hatred is none other than T20, the new kid in town. There has been sympathy for the other two formats - so that is a good sign. What are the officials waiting for? Why don't we have Lalit Modi doing to Test Cricket what he did with T20? Put on some Colors and get on with it. Its funny that as Sachin speaks of the failure of D/N ODIs, Test cricket is getting ready to embrace it. What on earth is going on with ICC? Why are they micro managing (with UDRS)?

  • hiren0825 on December 25, 2009, 17:32 GMT

    I believe, over time, in a matter of 1-2 years, people would have had enough of the IPL/CLT20 madness and sanity will return in the form of 10 test matches a year. I'm craving for the Boxing Day tests; doesn't matter whether India is part of these. Long live test cricket !

  • Farce-Follower on December 25, 2009, 16:26 GMT

    Test cricket in India seems to be in the decline. But innovation can revive it. T20 is a game of luck and Indian audiences will tire of it when their 'Icons' get walloped regularly by Tier 2 teams. Hey, in the end Indians get very little free entertainment. Cricket on TV will always sell, even if it is over-hyped galacticos playing.

  • R00ster on December 25, 2009, 16:24 GMT

    Harsha: yes,i agree that cricket is not in danger of going the way of dodo and neither is test cricket, but thats not what the arguement is about.T20 is what it is and wether one is a purist or not the fact is that the entertainment value provided for the money spent in a T20 game or a 50 over game is much much higher(for some),and i have no problem with it.But the issue is this persistent,gradual,CHANGE( to use your term) in the favor of batsmen that is affecting the game in a very fundamental but negative way.Almost every new rule or change of a rule that has been brougt about in the recent history is driven to protect batsmen or give them a chance to score with a slight advantage.it's one thing to introduce technology or employ new methods to help administer the game better. it's completely diffrent to tweak the rules for a better return on investment and in the process make it unbalanced: thats where cricket is starting to loose it's credibility.

  • ww113 on December 27, 2009, 18:41 GMT

    Harsha,change may not be Cricket's enemy but Lalit Modi and the BCCI seem to have taken it upon themselves to become international Cricket's enemies.All this talk of "windows" in the international calender,talking about still more seasons of IPL and tempting cricketers with so much money that representing their country becomes a secondary consideration for them.

  • 2.14istherunrate on December 27, 2009, 13:34 GMT

    There are two ways of disliking cricket. One is to not watch it or follow it, the other is to like 20/20.

  • starjay on December 26, 2009, 22:17 GMT

    Some of the comments posted here criticizing the IPL are totally uncalled for. The IPL is a true innovation of the game. Whether it's a positive or negative innovation is another matter. Secondly, I don't mind commentators talking about the IPL during international games. It's a matter of fact that players respect each other a WHOLE lot after the IPL. The IPL has brought many players together. In spite of playing for their countries, many players display signs of friendship on field which was totally non-existent previously. The Australian players for one now understand where the Indians come from and vice versa.

    The IPL is similar to the FA premier league. I remember in one world cup game where England played France, Wayne Rooney and Mikael Silvestre were mentioned as 'good mates' playing for Manchester United. In that case the commentators were not endorsing the FA premier league but simply stating a fact. The same applies to the IPL. The IPL is an international 'Indian' league.

  • celticfrost on December 26, 2009, 20:30 GMT

    Yes! The booming average of batsmen is the result of good fast bowlers being absent from the seen. The game looks lopsided in favor of batsmen more than ever before.And especially in sub continent high scoring dramas have lead to the gradual decline of fast bowler's enthusiasm and eventually his breed.

    The game urgently needs a balancing act of some short between the wood and the leather.

  • mh.navuda on December 26, 2009, 17:51 GMT

    Why everybody is making noise about test cricket future. I am fed up with this.As per me test cricket is like what it was there 5 or 10 years ago. I don't think test match number is decreasing year by year. Spectator watched the game at 2000 is equal to no.of spectator watched today test match in india. You can see from today boxing day match attended by 60K people in Australia. Don't make this kind of noise, if we continue that everybody feel test cricked is dieing even though its not

  • Shanks... on December 26, 2009, 12:47 GMT

    Even though new formats have been introduced in the world of cricket and people are more attracted towards them. T-20 and other other formats of the game are just for fun and entertainment, but the real meaning of cricket is always displayed by Test format. Its a shame that most of us dont like watching test matches at al, but according to me the real meaning of cricket is Test match only because it show the character and the class of a cricketer. One can play short formats of game pretty easily, but playing a test game shows the ultimate caliber of a cricketer. Even though I am 22 yrs old and i love watching all formats of cricket, but I really enjoy watching Test cricket the most.

  • borninthetimeofSRT on December 26, 2009, 4:05 GMT

    Nice article Harsha. Aussies no doubt produce some compelling cricket and seem like never believing that they are not number one. That shows their determination to be back on top. Just because BCCI rakes in a lot of money from India matches, I think this is just about the right time to market the forthcoming Border Gavaskar Trophy (just like The Ashes Series is promoted almost right after they are done with one). And also just about the right time to push for a 5 test series instead of 4. In my opinion the format that draws in a lot of hatred is none other than T20, the new kid in town. There has been sympathy for the other two formats - so that is a good sign. What are the officials waiting for? Why don't we have Lalit Modi doing to Test Cricket what he did with T20? Put on some Colors and get on with it. Its funny that as Sachin speaks of the failure of D/N ODIs, Test cricket is getting ready to embrace it. What on earth is going on with ICC? Why are they micro managing (with UDRS)?

  • hiren0825 on December 25, 2009, 17:32 GMT

    I believe, over time, in a matter of 1-2 years, people would have had enough of the IPL/CLT20 madness and sanity will return in the form of 10 test matches a year. I'm craving for the Boxing Day tests; doesn't matter whether India is part of these. Long live test cricket !

  • Farce-Follower on December 25, 2009, 16:26 GMT

    Test cricket in India seems to be in the decline. But innovation can revive it. T20 is a game of luck and Indian audiences will tire of it when their 'Icons' get walloped regularly by Tier 2 teams. Hey, in the end Indians get very little free entertainment. Cricket on TV will always sell, even if it is over-hyped galacticos playing.

  • R00ster on December 25, 2009, 16:24 GMT

    Harsha: yes,i agree that cricket is not in danger of going the way of dodo and neither is test cricket, but thats not what the arguement is about.T20 is what it is and wether one is a purist or not the fact is that the entertainment value provided for the money spent in a T20 game or a 50 over game is much much higher(for some),and i have no problem with it.But the issue is this persistent,gradual,CHANGE( to use your term) in the favor of batsmen that is affecting the game in a very fundamental but negative way.Almost every new rule or change of a rule that has been brougt about in the recent history is driven to protect batsmen or give them a chance to score with a slight advantage.it's one thing to introduce technology or employ new methods to help administer the game better. it's completely diffrent to tweak the rules for a better return on investment and in the process make it unbalanced: thats where cricket is starting to loose it's credibility.

  • D.Nagarajan on December 25, 2009, 15:31 GMT

    Test cricket will thrive, I presume due to the fact that T20 is being subjected to an overkill. Non high scoring one day matches evince interest but they are very rare.If test cricket is impacted then its more in the sub continent where a greedy board has not shown the tactical acumen to respect the game's fundamentals and traditions with the commercial possibilities. Its purely the commercial angle that it looks into. Make the stadiums better with the IPL money to improve spectator comfort and improve the standard of first class cricket. Fundamentally for cricket to thrive there has to be a contest between bat and ball and match scheduling should be proper, stronger teams should play against each other in competitive tracks favoring bowlers.The decline in pace bowling is the reponsibility of the administrators who have tweaked all rules in favor of the batsmen. Cricket quality is directly proportional to the pace bowling quality. I hope we see fast bowlers back!!!

  • TwitterJitter on December 25, 2009, 15:16 GMT

    You are right. The consumer is the king. The boards would do well to always remember that. To some extent, BCCI tapped this market with IPL and it was a runaway hit. As for test cricket, unless it finds a way to adapt itself and find a niche market large enough to self-sustain without being subsidized by shorter forms it will eventually loose out. Now is the time for boards to accelerate their market research and experiment with test cricket to see if can find a big enough market to be commercially viable. I personally feel that test cricket will still survive although in a much diminished form only because players will feel that the longer form is needed for them to improve their skills if only to improve their averages in T20 for their franchises and increase their market value. In India test cricket may also move away to franchise format and that might not be a bad thing. There is an excellent chance of BCCI agreeing to a test championship in franchise format.

  • vishkal on December 25, 2009, 14:00 GMT

    Those who want test cricket to live forever constantly talk about IPL during international matches. How many times do we have to hear Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri talking about the IPL. ' They play for the same team', 'I think it has helped'.. etc etc. Now, my first question is why should they talk about IPL during international matches. What is the need to talk about IPL? Gives me a feeling that they try to incorporate the word IPL somehow during their stint in commentary.I don think there is no need to talk about IPL during international matches. May be my comments are irrelevant to the topic but I wanna condemn commentators and players who endorse IPL during international matches.

  • srikeshi on December 25, 2009, 13:51 GMT

    I think there are more number of genuinely fast bowlers than any other time in cricket history. Apart from the names you mentioned umar gul, mohammad aamer, lasith malinga, dirk nannes, mitchell johnson,jerome taylor, darren powell all regularly bowl around 90mph .

  • Percy_Fender on December 25, 2009, 13:30 GMT

    A Test match is really what the game of cricket was designed for. If this has stuttered onto other formats like the 50 over ODI or the more recent 20/20, it is not as if the original is going to be dumped no matter what the prophets of doom say.20/20s are like penalty shootouts. Not th real thing. I am quite sure that Test cricket will go on. Some changes may be necessary though. Each innings in a Test match should be of 90 overs and there should be a new ball after 45 overs to even out the impact of the toss. All lbw verdicts, cought behind and close catches should automatically be decided by the hawkeye technique and relayed onto the giant screen. I do'nt think such a song and dance should be made about the diminished role of the field and TV umpires whatever the romantics may say.The Tests should be played from Fridays for 4 days. This will ensure better attendance. Even day/night matches could be considered.A Test Championship could commence in India. This will be a great start.

  • chokkashokka on December 25, 2009, 12:50 GMT

    Perhaps, I'm being simplistic here but people tend to follow the fortunes of their team if it is playing well. A good contest will always bring viewers. Test match cricket produces the most decisive results in a contest and the viewers know that. It is not practical to watch each and every play of a test match. And that is how it has always been - even before the arrival of 20-20. The new format has done more for the sport than the nay-sayers realize. It has put cricket on map of viewers' entertainment alternatives which will expand viewership and generate more money for the sport. IPL is Indian and it gives the BCCI unprecedented power. Power that will allow it to identify, groom and retain talented players to ensure its team performs well and grow its fanbase. The other boards need to get innovative to expand their fanbase - they can start by giving those fans some performances to cheer about. And the nay-sayers need to accept reality. In 2020, they may be getting paid in Rupees.

  • zak123kaif on December 25, 2009, 12:37 GMT

    Really good article by Mr Harsha.Now a days when every Tom,Dick and Harry have average of 50+ in test its no longer safe to argue that players who have 50+ average are great batsmen.Similarly now a days FAST bowlers are those who bowls just at 140km and rarely crosses the 90mile barrier.Gone are the days when fearsome fast bowlers consistently at 150km and i guess that in the near future we won't see them also.

  • Sekhar_S on December 25, 2009, 12:29 GMT

    This has also been a decade which saw the fall of Zimbabwe and Kenya as cricket playing nations.With fewer than 15 teams playing at the highest level,international cricket is poorer by two teams.How longer should we wait before Bangladesh start competing fiercely at the Test level ? Ireland has requested Test status and if they are confident they can do well,it would be sensible to assess their competency levels and if found good,award them Test status.Then use T20 to improve the levels of teams like Canada,Hong Kong,Scotland and Netherlands;after a few years make them play some ODIs and then give them Test status.

  • ish038 on December 25, 2009, 10:54 GMT

    nice article & full of hope. but the fact is cricket will loss its true essence in the coming years. the next tendulkar or mcgrath will come from where ? if players with their calibre come they will be lost in the tide of t20 cricket. the t20 world cup is holding once in two years. i dont see the logic. ian botham rightly said, "the greed is killing the game".

  • Mahesh_AV on December 25, 2009, 10:50 GMT

    Good article. On the comment of a Twenty20 generation playing international cricket by 2015, as long as the good players of today (not just the older ones but the younger ones as well) keep supporting test cricket, we may still have the drive in the young talent across the world wanting to play test cricket. Cricketers are idolized. Young talent looks up to a hero or two. If these heroes publicly support test cricket (unlike one Mr. Chris Gayle), the youngsters will understand that the dream of playing test cricket, and an aim to do so, will bring them riches that they are after. As for the viewers, if the media and the administration stops swaying their view against test cricket, the interest will certainly remain.

  • sophisticated001 on December 25, 2009, 10:23 GMT

    Guys Just Imagine world of cricket without Aus.Their dominance in world cricket, if they are not there I think cricket will not survive. Art of competition which they give to cricket is superb.IPL is dominated with Aussies players, in fact two Aussie captain won their franchise owner a whole lot of money. I believe cricket is about competition ... we as cricket fans remember only competitor. If Imraan Khan was still playing Ricky would look bit shallow. Javed Miadad would make Sehwag look Cinderella's ugly sister. Competition is good for cricket rather boring cricket one sided 20/20 also looks boring. Bring competitive cricket & cricket will live on test/ODI or 20/20

  • tomjs100 on December 25, 2009, 10:11 GMT

    I'm 24 and I along with my friends all think test cricket is the finest form of the game. I don't even watch 20:20. I do however struggle to find £60+ for a seat in a test match.

  • sray23 on December 25, 2009, 10:02 GMT

    Harsha, I'm a big fan of your's but in this case it is of concern to me that you're not concerned enough for the welfare of Test cricket. Tests are the real cricket and being delusional enough to think otherwise is to say that a 5-minute football match is the same test of players' skills as a 90-minute football match (ie it's laughable). Cricket is changing and T20s are making inroads into the psyche of viewers and it is a favourite of administrators and players simply because of the investment to return ratio: authorities don't have to expend resources to make sporting pitches and improve stadium facilities for spectators who will be watching for 6 hours a day, and players don't even have to break a sweat to get handsome rewards compared to playing Tests. Granted Tests and cricket needs change at the moment but it will be a sad sad day when players choose to play T20s instead of Test cricket for their countries. That will be the day I, a cricket fan of 20 yrs, turn away from cricket.

  • Fireballers on December 25, 2009, 9:57 GMT

    Think about the time when Test Cricket was discovered, when it flourished and why. Times were different, societies were structured differently - the game was meant to be enjoyed by a specific audience. In India today, in general, people cannot afford to spend entire days at the cricket ground to watch a game. I imagine that to be the case elsewhere as well. That makes watching Test Cricket's concept impractical and watching Test cricket almost impossible. T20 is here and popular for a reason and not just because of some media-backing or greed. T20 is practical enough for most people to watch and enjoy. The contest, as has already been proved time and again, remains far more riveting than most Test and ODI matches. There is nothing wrong with T20 except that it is new and at times unnecessarily flashy in the way it is presented eg Foreign cheerleaders during IPL games (That is absurd. Blonde girls cheering for Rajesthan??).

  • Munish.Kalia on December 25, 2009, 9:54 GMT

    Why cannot we see these 3 forms of cricket 3 brands of one comprehensive game called cricket. It is like having BMW 3, 5 and 7 series cars. They are no competition to each other but are supplements to each other based on consumer requirement. Cricket, the sport, is a form of entertainment to a common man and is played for huge no. of audiences around the world. Different people have different liking which can be different. Players willing to play one form are not enemies to the other for form, Michael Bevan who re defined ODI batting was not successful in Tests, but he is still legendary. Stereotyping one form of the game better than other is not good. Finally, I would like to mention I am die hard fan of test cricket and strongly believe that Test cricket cannot go any where till the time Don's record is alive (99.96).

    Nevertheless great article from great writer, one of my personal favorites. Cheers!

  • Celtics24 on December 25, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    It's always easy to blame the fast bowlers Harsha, and yes there is a relatively short supply, but the pitches around the world have been extremely flat over the last few years. Especially on the sub continent and West Indies. Even here in Australia as well, Perth is as flat as a typical Indian road these days, although they at least tried to make it semi decent last test. This is the main reason why batting averages have become so inflated over the last few years.

  • kuwupu on December 25, 2009, 8:59 GMT

    um..good thinking but ok karticle. i slightly disagreed. im 20... teen or u can say adult anyways personaly myself i enjoy every type of cricket doesn't matter to me if its test, ODDs or t20s. each one of has its own unique techniques and skills to be required to be at its best. i think cricket is getting more accurate and players using their brain instead of just trying hard and dont know what the helk their doing...u used to see in 1900th was working 20th was okay 21 is gonna be good and best of best yet to come so wait n watch1

  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on December 25, 2009, 8:01 GMT

    We should review this article in 2015 and we shall have an interesting observation to make.

  • santoshnemani on December 25, 2009, 6:48 GMT

    I like the article. Keep coming more Harsha, but tell you what, Test Cricket is father and mother of cricket and one cannot ask to cut them off. Its more competetive these days with India Australia South Africa and England playing some really good games.

  • Nishaan on December 25, 2009, 6:23 GMT

    Interesting, but maybe a bit more research and thought first? "Dale Steyn turns up far too infrequently" ? Steyn has only missed 3 of SA's (25) tests since the tour of Pakistan in Oct 2007, where he became a regular in the team. And maybe the demise of fast bowlers (and hence 50+ averages) is a result of smaller grounds, flat pitches, improved bat and padding technology which disincentivises quick bowlers?

  • sophisticated001 on December 25, 2009, 6:00 GMT

    Finally Harsha an IIM grad is revealing Aus produce the best cricket in the planet. Test cricket wont have survived with hard hitting teams like AUS,SA & ENG. As Sunil Gavaskar once stated there is very big line between Flashy Cricket & Sensible Cricket. Media is just too much behind test cricket. But main killer is the IPL .. IPL has literally forced early retirement & huge money has damper cricket.

  • anoopsy on December 25, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    I mean the English don't have a stake in the IPL, or the Champions League. They are no longer the financial power in the game. So they are bound to think like that. For us Indians, cricket is in better health than ever. We are No.1 in Tests, No.2 in ODIs we own the IPL. Majority stakeholder in Champions League. A healthy rivalry with Aussies. Rosy? you betcha!!!!

  • anoopsy on December 25, 2009, 4:49 GMT

    Finally a sane voice amidst all the prophets. I seriously started to think if the administrators were killing the game or the journalists. I think i know the reason for all the doomsday theory though. If you look at it most of the doom sayers are English. What else do you expect from them?

  • vik56in on December 25, 2009, 4:42 GMT

    While Harsha ,as you base your opinion about the increase in 50+avg batsmen in this decade to the dwindling number of fast men,the truth is that pitches all round have become flatter.In the 90s only three illustrious cricketers had 50+,Lara,Tendulkar and Steve Waugh. Ponting and Rahul Dravid had their avg in the 49s in the 1990s and they crossed the 50 only in the 2000s.While Perth was the fastest pitch in the world in the 1990s it had flattened out in the 2000s.Test pitches in India were square turners from the first over of the game and usually crumbled in the 3rd onwards.Nowadays cricket pitches in India are so flat that teams don't get bowled out even if they have to bat against 3 days against a Muralitharan.

  • knowledge_eater on December 25, 2009, 4:31 GMT

    We have just witnessed the evolution of Cricket in this decade. In 1900-2000, we have witnessed rise of Legends Inzi, Tendy, Warny, Lara, Murali, Mcgrath, Imran, Waughs, Donald, D Silva, Ranatunga and lots of them .. we were like 'oh this my hero must perform to win match for my country'. But now its more becoming like team effort, players are scoring faster, taking wicket faster, taking catches faster, running between wickets is faster. Player recording 100's and high 50's at 8, 9 and 10th wicket. You know what there was a big time evolution of the game. I wouldn't say it was entirely due to ICC rules. It is we, fans have evolved as well. It is cool though i don't regret it that it happened. Game must evolve and should be nurture very well. Remember, soccer is still number one sport, well, we can't beat soccer but we can be 2nd at least. Let's see what brings next decade. Cricket will be breathing harder and deeper as long as we will. Peace

  • cricwallet on December 25, 2009, 3:45 GMT

    Nice article harsha.... as always... Change should always promise improvement, but I guess its not the case here. Sooner or later we will only see 20 or 30 over matches with scores consistently hitting 300+ mark and batsmen with pathetic footwork, timing and dhoni like power. Iin the bowling department its already started and I dont think we will ever see the Waqars,Wasims or McGraths in near future. The 20/20 cricket no matter what sucks. There shouldn't any shortcuts in life for money and this applies to cricket as well.

    Cricket was always game with lot of style and it was always joyful to see how the runs scored and not how many. (e.g. You will enjoy more when Lara or Sachin hitting 4 wonderful cover drives or square cuts with lot of temperament,elegance and against best bowling attacks like Mcgrath, Waqar, Wasim, Ambrose etc. than watching a dhoni like century.) ((I am not against dhoni, used just for batting style ref. !!!!))

    I hope ICC or BCCI listens to the cricket lovers!

  • santhoshkudva on December 25, 2009, 3:09 GMT

    'That explains the number of 50-plus batting averages.......'

    wish to differ harsha, but the likes of kallis, sangakkara, jayawardene, tendulkar dravid, ponting inzi and lara would have thrived in any era. and they have played against the best, warne, mcgrath, kumble, murali etc. and the bowlers you mentioned as the reason for batsmen clocking 50+ per dismissal are the ones who made their appearance during the fag end of the decade. and just to let you know, since the arrival of the crop you mentioned, the averages of all the big guns have diminished by a good 3-4 runs! those averaging in the upper half of the 50's are now on the other side.

  • dr_sachinfan_chennai on December 25, 2009, 3:08 GMT

    A good article. But I hope Test Cricket is not going to suffer if the boards are going to be better in management of the player workload and schedule. A 7 match O.D.I Series is uncalled for. 5 matches would be good. Also overdose of O.D.Is especially is happening these days. Maybe why not a little lesser? As for those retiring from Test Arena are already Fragile guys who if they play Test wont be around for long.

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  • dr_sachinfan_chennai on December 25, 2009, 3:08 GMT

    A good article. But I hope Test Cricket is not going to suffer if the boards are going to be better in management of the player workload and schedule. A 7 match O.D.I Series is uncalled for. 5 matches would be good. Also overdose of O.D.Is especially is happening these days. Maybe why not a little lesser? As for those retiring from Test Arena are already Fragile guys who if they play Test wont be around for long.

  • santhoshkudva on December 25, 2009, 3:09 GMT

    'That explains the number of 50-plus batting averages.......'

    wish to differ harsha, but the likes of kallis, sangakkara, jayawardene, tendulkar dravid, ponting inzi and lara would have thrived in any era. and they have played against the best, warne, mcgrath, kumble, murali etc. and the bowlers you mentioned as the reason for batsmen clocking 50+ per dismissal are the ones who made their appearance during the fag end of the decade. and just to let you know, since the arrival of the crop you mentioned, the averages of all the big guns have diminished by a good 3-4 runs! those averaging in the upper half of the 50's are now on the other side.

  • cricwallet on December 25, 2009, 3:45 GMT

    Nice article harsha.... as always... Change should always promise improvement, but I guess its not the case here. Sooner or later we will only see 20 or 30 over matches with scores consistently hitting 300+ mark and batsmen with pathetic footwork, timing and dhoni like power. Iin the bowling department its already started and I dont think we will ever see the Waqars,Wasims or McGraths in near future. The 20/20 cricket no matter what sucks. There shouldn't any shortcuts in life for money and this applies to cricket as well.

    Cricket was always game with lot of style and it was always joyful to see how the runs scored and not how many. (e.g. You will enjoy more when Lara or Sachin hitting 4 wonderful cover drives or square cuts with lot of temperament,elegance and against best bowling attacks like Mcgrath, Waqar, Wasim, Ambrose etc. than watching a dhoni like century.) ((I am not against dhoni, used just for batting style ref. !!!!))

    I hope ICC or BCCI listens to the cricket lovers!

  • knowledge_eater on December 25, 2009, 4:31 GMT

    We have just witnessed the evolution of Cricket in this decade. In 1900-2000, we have witnessed rise of Legends Inzi, Tendy, Warny, Lara, Murali, Mcgrath, Imran, Waughs, Donald, D Silva, Ranatunga and lots of them .. we were like 'oh this my hero must perform to win match for my country'. But now its more becoming like team effort, players are scoring faster, taking wicket faster, taking catches faster, running between wickets is faster. Player recording 100's and high 50's at 8, 9 and 10th wicket. You know what there was a big time evolution of the game. I wouldn't say it was entirely due to ICC rules. It is we, fans have evolved as well. It is cool though i don't regret it that it happened. Game must evolve and should be nurture very well. Remember, soccer is still number one sport, well, we can't beat soccer but we can be 2nd at least. Let's see what brings next decade. Cricket will be breathing harder and deeper as long as we will. Peace

  • vik56in on December 25, 2009, 4:42 GMT

    While Harsha ,as you base your opinion about the increase in 50+avg batsmen in this decade to the dwindling number of fast men,the truth is that pitches all round have become flatter.In the 90s only three illustrious cricketers had 50+,Lara,Tendulkar and Steve Waugh. Ponting and Rahul Dravid had their avg in the 49s in the 1990s and they crossed the 50 only in the 2000s.While Perth was the fastest pitch in the world in the 1990s it had flattened out in the 2000s.Test pitches in India were square turners from the first over of the game and usually crumbled in the 3rd onwards.Nowadays cricket pitches in India are so flat that teams don't get bowled out even if they have to bat against 3 days against a Muralitharan.

  • anoopsy on December 25, 2009, 4:49 GMT

    Finally a sane voice amidst all the prophets. I seriously started to think if the administrators were killing the game or the journalists. I think i know the reason for all the doomsday theory though. If you look at it most of the doom sayers are English. What else do you expect from them?

  • anoopsy on December 25, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    I mean the English don't have a stake in the IPL, or the Champions League. They are no longer the financial power in the game. So they are bound to think like that. For us Indians, cricket is in better health than ever. We are No.1 in Tests, No.2 in ODIs we own the IPL. Majority stakeholder in Champions League. A healthy rivalry with Aussies. Rosy? you betcha!!!!

  • sophisticated001 on December 25, 2009, 6:00 GMT

    Finally Harsha an IIM grad is revealing Aus produce the best cricket in the planet. Test cricket wont have survived with hard hitting teams like AUS,SA & ENG. As Sunil Gavaskar once stated there is very big line between Flashy Cricket & Sensible Cricket. Media is just too much behind test cricket. But main killer is the IPL .. IPL has literally forced early retirement & huge money has damper cricket.

  • Nishaan on December 25, 2009, 6:23 GMT

    Interesting, but maybe a bit more research and thought first? "Dale Steyn turns up far too infrequently" ? Steyn has only missed 3 of SA's (25) tests since the tour of Pakistan in Oct 2007, where he became a regular in the team. And maybe the demise of fast bowlers (and hence 50+ averages) is a result of smaller grounds, flat pitches, improved bat and padding technology which disincentivises quick bowlers?

  • santoshnemani on December 25, 2009, 6:48 GMT

    I like the article. Keep coming more Harsha, but tell you what, Test Cricket is father and mother of cricket and one cannot ask to cut them off. Its more competetive these days with India Australia South Africa and England playing some really good games.