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Posts Tagged ‘World Cup’

Goodbye To A Legend

November 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Cricket has come to that period where a generation says goodbye to the legends they grew up with. A few years back the world said farewell, albeit a little later than they expected, to Sanath Jayasuriya. Last year India’s most underrated batsman, Rahul Dravid, bowed out of international cricket; and today the world prepares to say goodbye to Ricky Ponting.

Ponting has been in an up-and-down patch in his career for the past year. Averaging less than 15, he had a superb summer against India which included a double hundred before being shored up against the West Indies and now South Africa. While most supporters of the man have called for his inclusion, many others (including himself) knew that time was running out.

He did what all great sportsman do and called time on a career that was reaching its end.

Ponting can leave international cricket behind with his head held high knowing he was only second to Sachin Tendulkar in both runs and centuries, while he also has the mantle of having won three successive World Cups leading his team in two of those. He was also one of the most successful captains in test and one day cricket, and while people argue it was the team that gave him this, his record as captain speaks for itself.

Of course his career will be pockmarked with the three Ashes losses, including one at home, while a couple of hiccups against India and South Africa also surfaced in his time at the helm. His last bout as captain came in the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup against eventual winners India. Ponting shrugged off the criticism to play a great hundred, but was unfortunately unable to deliver his team to a fifth consecutive final.

I had the pleasure of meeting Ricky Ponting a couple of times and from a personal point of view was certainly impressed with him. Despite having a hectic schedule Ponting took time off to get a game of golf in during their World Cup campaign in Sri Lanka. Even better was the fact that I got to play with him. The game gave me an insight in to the man off the field and away from the public spotlight.

Friday will be his last test match, and ironically it is Australia’s opportunity to regain the number 1 mantle (a spot Ponting did a great deal to secure for Australia in the first place). I will certainly be watching the match, and no doubt be hoping to see him produce that great last innings (similar to Greg Chappell) to help his team take the series and the number one spot.

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The Failing Revolution of Cricket

October 19, 2012 4 comments

When one day cricket was first seen in the late 1970s, in the form of the controversial “World Series Cricket”, supporters of the game described it as a “game played in pyjamas”. Now, 20/20 is here and it can only be likened to a fancy dress party whose hosts have never been to a party before.

The World T20, which concluded in Sri Lanka two weeks ago, is a shining example of how this format has failed to live up to its billing in all aspects.
Of the 27 games which had been packed in to three weeks, the audiences were treated to only four nail-biters. When this format was first introduced to the world, it was promoted as an arena of explosive cricket that would keep the spectators on the edge of their seats.

Two ties, a win off the last ball and a win in the last over was all that it could muster; on the other hand the remaining 23 games were so heavily one sided that audiences were found to be turning off their televisions even before the game was over.

Entertainment had been promised both on and off the field; the ICC did not fall short in that avenue. The cheerleaders, who had been rounded up five days before the tournament, were an amusing sideshow. Out-of-sync, dressed in absurd outfits and clearly cursed with two left feet these cheerleaders were nothing short of a joke. I do feel sorry for them, with such bad choreography and so little preparation time nothing better could be expected.

Twenty-twenty cricket on the international stage has proven to be a joke, what about domestically? The “Champions League T20” is being held in South Africa and while the crowds have been impressive the games have been once again one-sided affairs. It only serves to highlight the gaping difference that exists between the domestic structures.

So why is this format, which has all the ingredients of being an exciting venture, falling short of its hype?

To the purists, ODIs were not accepted until the mid-80s. But this transition from test cricket was made easier due to the fact that it had the colourful characters of Caribbean cricket to help it through.

The 70s and 80s saw world cricket dominated by the West Indians, who had come along and challenged the old powers of England and Australia. The rest of the world jumped behind these men who defied all odds and swaggered on to the field with an air of arrogance that could never be emulated by their opponents.

Their “calypso” brand of cricket was unique in that it could not be taught but rather it was in their blood. Their tall lanky fast bowlers intimidated all that stood before them, while their batsmen dispatched bowlers as though they were swatting flies.

This arrogance, which resonated from their pure talent, can no longer by reproduced in the shortest format. Glimpses of it have been seen in Chris Gayle, but like the format it is fleeting.

Players that would have otherwise been found out in international cricket are now able to fly below the radar and still be considered class acts.
Prior to this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) Ravindra Jadeja was purchased for a whopping $2 million in the auction. A player who has never performed, and still couldn’t perform after being branded with such a price tag is just one such example of how 20/20 cricket overshadows the talented.

Test cricket, in its purest form, will separate the true greats who go down history from those who will soon be forgotten.
The battles between bat and ball no longer exist. The sight of a batsman dancing down the wicket to a spinner and clipping him through the leg-side have now been replaced by the ungainly image of a batsman closing his eyes and trying to flick the bowler over the keeper’s head.

Technique has been replaced by brute strength, patience by dumb luck and a day of cricket by 3 hours of mayhem that will often leave the spectator disappointed. 20/20 cricket has certainly cornered the commercial aspect of the game, but whether it grabs the attention of the lovers of the sport remains to be seen.

Technique has been replaced by brute strength