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Archive for the ‘ICC’ Category

Not Really Invincible But Definitely the Strongest

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

It is not surprising to see an Australian team emerge as the winner in an ICC Cricket tournament; however, the way this Australian outfit bounced back after their dismal Ashes campaign is peerless. They have got the perfect combination and the perfect replacements, though it won’t fill the shoes of the former greats.

Australia struggled terribly in the ICC World T20 and this was followed by an abysmal effort in the Ashes series which made them look pretty ordinary. An almost white wash by Australia in the ODI series against England was just a beginning. Even then, there were those who believed that Australia did not have the arsenal to defend the Champions Trophy they clinched in 2006.

In the initial stages, Australia’s performance justified the skeptics and they were almost on the brink of another oust. After winning that nail-biter against Pakistan, Australia peaked at the right time by winning the semi-final and the final matches comprehensively.

So we might see another strong team in the next World Cup that is not so far from now. This will intensify the battle for the World Cup as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa have strong bids for the next World Cup.

Too Much of Cricket Will Spoil the Game

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

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There have been a lot of heated discussions prevailing in the cricketing world to ‘control’ the game. What does this ‘control’ imply? Is this to control the T20 matches to make the traditional versions alive or to truncate the Test matches and the ODI matches to increase the gush of money to cricket? ICC, at the helm of cricket is in a dilemma to choose the best for cricket; to make it popular at the same time not diluting it.

FIFA – the perfect example

So, what is the real concern? There are lots of wise men at the helm; however they couldn’t come to a conclusion to find the resolution for this ‘concern’. There are many things which cricket could learn from Football.  Being a game of small-duration, spectators endorse the brevity of Football, which perhaps is the main reason why it has roots across the globe. Being played in over 200 countries, football hardly has any crisis which threatens its existence. FIFA, the governing body of Football has the last word in football, when it comes to a decision. They continuously improve the game by applying new rules that would entice the spectators at the same time won’t kill the soul of the game. ICC should come up with new revenue models so that they stay on the top of the national cricket boards. Currently, ICC hardly has any power to stand against the power houses – India, Australia, England and South Africa. BCCI, the Indian cricket board stands tall due to the chunk of revenue coming from India.

Too Many Matches

‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ is perhaps 100% correct in the case of cricket. Let’s take the example of India – Pakistan matches before 2005 and after 2005. Though the matches played after 2005 were in front of a full house, the intensity plunged due to matches played often between them. The 80’s and the 90’s experienced lot of high-voltage contests between the two and never lacked the exuberance. Contrary to the current scenario is the Ashes series, which is not played very often, attracts lot of spectators and never lacks the intensity. It is the dream of every Aussie or English player to win the Ashes urn more than a World Cup simply because of the legacy it carries. Downsizing the number of bilateral series and implementing more 3 nation or 4 nation tournaments is also another solution.

Fortifying the grass-root level

The respective Cricket Boards should strengthen their domestic structure to form a good pool of potential players, who could represent their nation at any point. If the domestic structure is robust then, the team won’t lose its momentum when a senior player retires. Apart from this effort, the ICC should conduct the U-19 World Cup and other junior level ICC tournaments in more serious ways as these tournaments are the stepping stone for the youngsters to the International cricket.

All the efforts will go fruitless, if the member nations won’t participate actively. ICC could only formulate plans, which should be carried out by the member nations, who should not show their financial arrogance when decisions concerning the fate of the game are made.

BCCI Flex Muscles Yet Again

Monday, August 31st, 2009

In what is said to be a controversial revelation, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) chief Julian Hunte has told reporters that India, the financial super power of cricket has dismissed the proposal by ICC to setup a World Test Championship around the four year cycle. Being a full-time ICC member, Hunte’s disclosure will wallop the cricketing world that is already rocked by several controversies.

According to Hunte, ICC was considering a Super League – a four year structure resulting in a World Test Championship as a part of changing the structure of the Future Tour Programs (FTP) after 2012. Hunte exposed the decision-making power of 4 commercially valued members headed by India in the ICC meeting. Though Hunte hadn’t revealed their names, it is well understood that the other 3 super powers are England, South Africa and Australia.

Hunte also revealed that a few members of the ICC are skeptical about the motives of the IPL team promoters. He told that the ICC should take reasonable steps to take hold of the game as it’s in a crucial juncture.

The main reason for BCCI’s rejection is the sharing of broadcasting revenue from a central pool, which would not be profitable for them unlike other tournaments. As 70% of the ICC’s revenue comes from India, it makes it difficult for the ICC to stand against India.

Back to the ODI carnival

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

After some heart-stopping T20 matches and quality test matches, cricket is back to its foremost shorter-version to take the spectators by storm- The Champions Trophy 2009.Following the draggy World Cup at the Caribbean, the cricketing world would be keen to see how this event performs, as there are lot of expert opinion to cut back the no of ODI’s and retain test cricket.

Australia, the reigning winners will be keen to resurgent in the world of cricket after some abashing defeats in the form of World T20 and at the Ashes. They have lost the dominance since the retirement of their great players and the infusion of new blood hasn’t proved effective yet. Australia is pondering different options like splitting the captaincy to reduce the pressure on Ponting, who is the backbone of the Australian batting order. Brett Lee has missed the bulk of the season due to injury and would be keen to make an impact as the Aussie bowling struggled in his absence in the Ashes.

South Africa and India are the strong contenders who’d be bidding for the title. South Africa’s dismal performance in the crunch matches has been a conundrum that they would like to crack this time around. India on the other hand, is more confident and would like to keep aside the grim at the World T20 as an aberration. They have performed consistently since 2008 and would like to get the silverware that slipped from their hands several times.

Pakistan, Sri Lanka and England are also unavoidable due to their volatile nature and the unpredictable nature of cricket itself.  The tournament promises to be a belter, if it lives up to the hype.

Cracking The WADA Code

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

The Signing of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) code has triggered another confrontation between the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI). The tension has now stepped up after the Federation of International Cricketers (FICA) warned the ICC for giving any leeway for the Indian players.

The International Olympic Committee too has initiated WADA as a part of its continuous endeavor to wipe out doping from the world of sports. The signing of this code which started off with the athletes from the Olympic events later spread across events outside Olympics.

The main constraint in this code is revealing the whereabouts of the players to WADA, which is unacceptable for the Indian players. Due to their tight match schedule and security issues it will be tough for them to reveal their details in advance. Though several other celebrity players have signed this code including Roger Federer and Usain Bolt, the level of security threats against the Indian players are quite higher.

FICA’s intervention in this clash is not really related to any player’s concern but to voice against the Indian players, who are not part of them. ICC has begun talks with BCCI to sort out this issue, however WADA has made it very clear that there will not be any leeway for the Indian players as several other players have signed this without any hesitation.

Commercialization of the Gentleman’s Game

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Since the first cricket test played in 1877, cricket has evolved drastically and diversified into three main formats and other local formats. Test cricket remains as the heart and soul of cricket, while one day cricket and now T20 are tagged as the popular versions of the game. Cricket has been generating billions of money from the sub-continent, especially from India, where people keep cricket close to their heart and celebrate every cricket match as a national festival. Advertisers pour in to be a part of every cricket carnival where cricketers are considered as demigods. Corporates are behind them for making them brand ambassadors of products, because of their superstar value and it is no wonder that cricketers are amongst the highest paid sports professionals now.

IPL has helped several international and domestic players to secure their lives through its lucrative pay packages and helped them to get priceless experience through its generic flavor. The IPL has contributed a lot to team India’s current success, with players like Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Abhishek Nayar and several others being the beneficiaries. It has also amplified the flow of money into cricket. The prize money, sponsorship, players’ salaries and all other attributes have outdone the prevailing trend and IPL became the benchmark in the world of cricket.

Notwithstanding its attractiveness, arguably, IPL has resulted in the premature retirement of several great players like Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and the latest update to the list is Andrew Flintoff. Can the players alone be blamed for this especially when West Indies players boycotted their series against Bangladesh due to contract issues? We can argue that the players should give preference to their country first than any other commitments. However, the fact is that, at the end of the day money matters!

Salvaging The Vintage Edition

Friday, July 24th, 2009

There has been lot of discussion across the globe pertaining to the saving of test cricket from becoming obsolete. Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the lawmakers of cricket, have been brainstorming on this issue for a while and come up with several solutions including ‘Day-Night’ matches.

The lack of interest for test matches has been being prevailing since 2004, after the introduction of T20 matches. The huge success of the Indian Premier League has fastened the demise of Test cricket. Andrew Flintoff’s retirement from test cricket has brought the spotlight again on IPL that provides a lucrative income stream for the players. It is rather apparent that the opulence provided by the IPL is resulting in the premature exit of several great players. Let’s see some solutions by which we can keep the test matches alive.

Starting the matches on Wednesday

This will increase the revenue of the match, since the last couple of days will fall on Saturday and Sunday. People will be quite happy to spend their weekends to support their home team.

The 20-20 Intervals

Currently there are 3 sessions, which are Lunch, Tea and Post-Tea. The mandatory overs bowled per day can be reduced from 90 overs to 80 overs. This would help to create 4 sessions of 20 overs each, which will avoid the ‘bad light’ issue, which happens very often these days. This will also help the players to charge up as they would be getting sufficient breaks. By reducing 10 overs everyday, the pace of the game will also improve.

Mandatory sporting wickets

An ICC committee should review each turf before the matches to ensure that they are made without any bias to the home team. It will make the match more competitive as the ‘home advantage’ factor is eliminated.

Test World Cup

The concept of a World Cup for test matches is quite a complicated topic, however there are few ways by which this concept can be applied properly. In the preliminary stage, the 8 test teams will face each other in a home and away match. There will be 40 match days in this round (8 matches * 5 days) followed by 20(4*5) in the semi finals and 5 days in the final. Altogether there will be 65 match days and this can be stretched to the whole season like the football leagues are conducted.

Above all, the cricketing fraternity that includes players, boards, officials and most importantly, the spectators should love and favour this version of the game. If the test matches are overlooked, the coming generation would find it hard to understand the feats by the great legends like Don Bradman and Garfield Sobers.

The 4 Stalwarts From Down Under

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

The Australian team is facing tough times since their great players are frequently hanging their boots after every tournament. The present situation of the team could be attributed to the retirement of their all-time great players like Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne.

These folks have changed the entire dynamics of the game through their peerless career. Each one of them was special in their expertise and niche; when they played, they ruled the game and history was rewritten on several occasions. They were truly instrumental in getting the ‘Invincible’ tag for Australia. They carried on the legacy given by Steve Waugh, who enlivened the Australian team in the mid 90’s to perform at a different level and to become the world-beaters. These players have been the backbone of Australian cricket for the past few years and the void created by their exit is hard to fill.

Biggie Haydos

Mathew Hayden’s debut hasn’t been a mesmerizing one and it had triggered his exile from the national side for some time. He cemented his place in the Australian team with the help of an astonishing batting display against India in its own backyard.

Later, he alongside Adam Gilchrist forged one of the best opening partnership pair ever in the history of One Day Cricket. He seized the record of highest individual scorer in test cricket from Brian Lara. However, Lara retrieved it back after a short period of time.

He is known for his behemoth presence, which intimidates the opposition bowlers. To add to the bowlers’ woes, he comes down to the track before the ball is bowled, which forces the bowlers to keep it short, which eventually is Hayden’s strength.

Mathew Hayden will always be remembered for his powerful stroke plays, true dominance over all types of bowlers and his prowess in all formats of the game.

Dazzling Gilly

‘Just hit the ball’ is the philosophy of Adam Gilchrist, when it comes to batting irrespective of the format. He has revolutionized the role of the wicket-keeper batsman with his explosive batting. He has de-railed several lethal attacks, which includes the onslaught against Sri Lanka in the 2007 World Cup and several other matches.

Gilly’s overwhelming strike-rate of 96.94 in ODI’s, after playing 287 matches is indeed incredible. He was at the helm of the Australian cricket team, when they posted their first series triumph in India in 2004 after a long gap, when Ponting left out due to injury.

His entry into the test team changed the whole dynamics. His presence at No.7 helped the top order and middle order to play with sheer confidence, which apparently made the Aussies stronger than before. Australian batting has gained a lot from the solid starts provided by Gilchrist. His physical & mental fitness has been tremendous during his playing days.

When he came joined IPL after a gap of 14 months from his retirement, he exhibited the same energy he had when he played for Australia. When he led the Deccan Charges to triumph after their dismal performance in the previous version, it was yet another epic in his dazzling cricketing career.

Conjurer Warne

Shane Warne has been a surprise factor for Australia, ever since his debut. His first delivery during The Ashes, the one that pitched outside leg and hit the offstump of Mike Gatting, is considered as the ‘ball of the century’. He has been an aberration for Australia’s pace bowling legacy, which produced several legendary fast bowlers like Dennis Lillie and Glenn McGrath. It is still a mystery on how he could perform like this, which his predecessors and successors couldn’t do.

He has got 700 odd test wickets, majority of which came from the seamer-friendly tracks in Australia. His flippers were the deadliest in his arsenal and it was effective on all types of wickets. It was a paradox that Warne couldn’t replicate these performances against India. He had haunting memories each time Australia toured India. Finally, in 2004, on his last tour, he helped Australia to seal their solitary series triumph in India after 1967.

Like his cricketing skills, he has been always in the headlines for his flamboyant character, which finally led to separation from his wife. Despite all controversies, his contributions to the Australian cricket are peerless as Australia is still struggling to fill the shoes left by him.

Accurate Pigeon

If you want to know what ‘surgical precision’ is, then look at the video clips of Glenn McGrath’s bowling. The lanky fast bowler from New South Wales has fascinated the cricketing world with the accuracy of his bowling.

He could neither bowl at the pace generated by Brett Lee nor could he swing the ball like Wasim Akram. His run-up was quite simple, just like a warm up, and then followed by a smooth action. His main weapons were the steep bounce that he got due to his height and the line, which he bowls just a whisker outside the off-stump that leaves the batsmen clueless. When his fellow bowlers struggled, he has come up with magical spells that have won several matches for the Aussies.

Aggression was another attribute of Glenn McGrath, a typical Australian trait. That pedigree has led to several bickers on the field, which also got him the appointment with the match referee. McGrath was the Man of the Tournament in the 2007 world cup. The final match, which was won by Australia, has been his last appearance in the Australian colors.

Battle For The ‘Ashes’ Starts Today

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Now it is back to good old test cricket after we witnessed a hemorrhage of T20 matches in the IPL and the World Twenty 20. Since inception, T20 has been a major threat to test cricket because it is short and thrilling and the kind of money it generates is unparalleled. But Test cricket still remains as the ultimate test for the cricketers. Ashes has a unique place among the list of elite series in test cricket, thanks to the arch rivalry between Australia and England. Australia are still struggling to fill the vacuum created by the exit of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne. Their preparations have been put in complete disarray after Brett Lee was ruled out of the series opener at Cardiff. Apart from Lee, none of the other Aussie fast bowlers have played test cricket in England before and this gives England a slight edge over Australia. England have the likes of Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff  who are potential match winners in present-day cricket.

Phil Hughes was the surprise package against South Africa and emerged as one of the future prospects for Australian batting. But his tentativeness against short-pitch bowling was well exposed in the warm up match against the England Lions. Besides that, the inexperienced bowling attack, in the absence of Brett Lee, will have to toil hard to contain the strong English batting line up. Apparently, the current Australian outfit doesn’t look as ominous as their predecessors have been in the past . However, few will write off an Australian triumph this time around also.

Return Of The Bond

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

It has been nearly two years since Shane Bond played an ODI for New Zealand and these two years have been rather devastating for New Zealand cricket. They lost several players to ICL, the rival Indian T20 championship, which triggered the T20 fever in India. Regardless of his short career, he has managed to grab 125 ODI wickets at a frugal economic rate of 4.20 with an astounding average of 19.32 a piece.

Promising start

In his debut against the mighty Aussies, Bond made early inroads into the Australian top order, dismissing Ponting and Bevan in a span of two overs after sending back Mark Waugh in the first over. That marked the beginning of a genuine pace bowler who bowls at late 90 miles with a staggering accuracy. He has torn apart several defensive walls but was confined due to the lack of quality fast bowling support from his teammates.

Anti-climax at Port Elizabeth

His performances against Australia itself are the testimonials of his skills and talent. In his 11 outings against the Aussies, he has scalped 30 wickets and three times bagged 5 wickets or more in a match. The Super Six match between Australia and New Zealand in the 2003 World Cup will be remembered for Shane Bond’s breathtaking performance against the defending World Champs. Australians had no answer to his accuracy and pace. He started with a ripper to remove Hayden. It was only Shane Bond before Andy Bichel played a blinder along with Michael Bevan to take Australia to 208, which proved too hot for the Kiwis.

Welcome to ICL

New Zealand players were amongst the least paid International cricketers and they lacked the lucrative endorsement contracts, which the Indian players had. Due to this financial instability and an injury prone body, Bond was quite skeptical about his career span and it was at that time that ICL contacted him. He had to choose ICL to make some dollars out of it to secure his family, which is to any man. BCCI showed their muscle by influencing ICC to ban all the ICL players from playing for their country and this was the catalyst in Bond’s abeyance from the national side.

Coming back

The terror attacks in Mumbai prompted the ICL to stop its tournaments for a long time, which was a blessing in disguise for several international players like Shane Bond to come back to the national side. After a long hard 2 years, Shane Bond is all set to play against the Srilankans in August, which is also a platform for him to come back into the test side. With the inclusion of Bond, the New Zealand pace battery will have a new vigor after their lackluster performance against India in their own backyard.

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