There are two things that have vanished from the face of the earth like the dodo-bird. They are the one-cent coin in the monetary denominations and the forward defence stroke in cricket. At the same time I will not be surprised at all if in the very next Test match the batsman goes on rampage scoring over twenty runs in the very first over itself.
In reality the game of cricket is at very important crossroad right at this moment. On one hand the established game of Test cricket is gasping for breath and it looks like one wrong dose of medicine may give it also the transfer to Dodo land.
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On the other hand the twenty20 version which was first conceived as a gimmick to lure the none cricketing nations and make them an extension of the flannelled fools has been hijacked by the mainstream and in turn TV Mudalali’s have turned it to a currency minting machine. But, still the vibes within the game of cricket does not sound that good.
Recently I read an article which originated in the very country that brought forth the game of cricket to the world. Now they say Cricket is a dying sport in that country. It read “The commercial hub of cricket may have shifted to the Indian sub-continent, but is the game dying out in England, the home of cricket?
A new survey of parents suggest that only one in 10 children in England plays cricket at school. In short, competitive cricket has become a minority interest in schools here. English parents believe that professional cricketers made far better role models than football stars, according to the survey by poll company Yougov.
The Yougov survey is a reminder of what exactly cricket can uniquely offer, but also how much more needs to be done," said Nick Gandon, director of the cricket foundation, which commissioned the study.
In the poll of nearly 1,000 parents, just nine per cent said their children received coaching or were part of school cricket teams.
Initially when the idea of having a twenty20 World Cup was mooted, India which was a more conservative country was not very keen and was bent on looking for avenues of plugging leaks that led to the early exit of the last world cup. As a result they rested their time-tested warriors and instead chose an inexperienced youthful combination to represent it and an early exit of this unit may not have caused vibes so bad like what happened in the West Indies.
Sometimes the unexpected really comes to pass. This time at the Twenty20 World Cup Cricket tournament in South Africa the youthful Indians just exploded into the melee and hit the rest of the World out of sight like what Yuvraj Singh did to English fast bowler Stewart Broad during the same tournament. This sudden change of fortune suddenly rehashed the entire cricketing face in India and thus the cricketing world. The birth of the ICL gave the shortest version of the game a tentative look, but the Indian Premiere League, not only gave this ambush version a human look, but it also gave it the necessary official recognition that even the inaugural twenty20 World Cup lacked.
With this development there are certain statements which I have heard or read and some questions asked. Just the other day former English fast bowler Jonathan Agnew made a very strong statement when he said that the 50-overs version has got too predictable and boring and it is time that it was phased out and twenty20 cricket given that status. Q: Then what happens to the Cricket World Cup. Can that too be replaced?
At the same time some say five-day cricket is too long and people have lost interest and the dwindling crowds at Test matches is ample proof.
Q: Test cricket is the established form of cricket and the entire game is woven around it. Dwindling crowds or not, it definitely has TV appeal and the majority of cricket enthusiasts still do follow the game very closely. It’s interesting to learn how the ICC is going tackle this phenomenon on a long-term basis?
Another fact in ambush cricket is that now the orthodox batting manual is thrown over the nearest wall. A good length ball is a ball that a batsman tries to loft over long on for six and yorker is ball that a batsman tires to pull for six over mid-wicket. Besides this many a new stroke has been added to the batsman’s menu and batsman getting out for a seven ball thirty is well accepted.
However in the Test cricket manual most of these new acts at the crease are not well accepted as the norm in that game is all about building an innings and outwitting the opposition in two innings. You are given five days to fulfil this obligation.
At the same time there is a humane side that has emerged especially from a tournament of the nature of the IPL. There was a time the name Shane Warne would have brought many scoffs in a country like India or Sri Lanka. Now when you watch the entire broth of international stars in one entity and celebrating their victories united there is a strange chill that runs through your spine. Then how would they react when they begin meet in opposing dressing rooms in the future?
Yes, this would definitely bring a better camaraderie among the international cricketers, but, all this would be good as long as the heavy dollar does not take the pride of position in a cricketer’s agenda.