February 12, 2008


Wanted: Animation in one-day cricket.

Before & Beyond India’s one-day win versus Australia in Melbourne (9th - 12th February, 2008)

Test cricket appears healthy albeit in a sick sort of way. Twenty20 appears sick but will guarantee the future health of cricket. One-day cricket is caught in the middle, running out of tricks.

It comes down to that oft-repeated question: and chances are, when marooned on a desert island, fewer respondents should choose one-day cricket as the ideal companion compared to test cricket or Twenty20.

And why won’t they? Test cricket, once the learned father of all forms cricket, is now arguably the big daddy of cricket. If this was ever in doubt, the India-Australia test series has squashed it. Years from now, the reverberations of Sydney and Perth will still be heard – and 2007-08 will be the year that some divine force threw test cricket the life jacket, though not without that eye-opening near death experience when one’s entire cricketing life flashes past. Oh right, so that’s what Douglas Jardine said to Harold Larwood! Hmmm…

Whereas Twenty20 is the babe on the threshold of an exciting new world – and a chance for everyone, even the old-timers, to revisit their youth. Though like some sick, perverted pleasure they will not admit to it openly – yet, like even the mighty warrior, Beowulf who gave into the monster’s yummy mummy, they will be hapless against the guiles of T20. And there is no shame in that.

But what about one-day cricket – it’s frankly too old to rock ‘n’ roll but too young to die. It’s much too simplistic to pin the blame on the very fabric of one-day cricket – that its very trappings were, a trap! Reducing the game from a laborious 60 to fifty overs was more of a quick fix solution. And hoping for rain, for the occasional truncated twenty over game is just living on a prayer. Or maybe that’s where T20 came from- the skies, with the rain!

If these cricket incarnates were three siblings, then clearly one-day cricket is the neglected middle one – crying for attention, game after game. First, it’s essential to grasp the problem, understand the symptoms. Else we’ll continue to toss power plays and super subs around, only to appease the likes of Courtney Walsh or a Glenn McGrath along with other reluctant batsmen. But that is not the solution.

The solution could be something drastic. Like borrowing from both test cricket and T20 – creating four innings of 25 overs each. More intervals. More action. What’s better than one T20 game – two T20 games rolled into one?

Or maybe the solution could be something simple. Reduce the number of games being played in a year. From the mindless seven match series, reduce the games to three. Increase the break between games – from one-two days to three or even four days. Going by the gargantuan sums of money involved, a few more days at the hotel won’t break the BCCI’s bank.

Do not be surprised if the quality of cricket increases manifold. Maybe teams won’t beat Australia overnight, but they will for starters, compete. And that is a big deal – today, every team aspires to beat Australia. Hopefully, they will look to accomplish this on a cricket field, and not the courthouse.

Games will stop being played to fill broadcasters and cricket Boards’ pockets. Somewhere the intensity of a test may sneak into one-day cricket again. Somehow our hearts may follow suit. Like the first time: in 1983.

After India’s win at MCG and beyond

India finally beat Australia at Melbourne in a one-day game. The last time this happened Dilip Vengsarkar was man-of-the-match. Now, he selects men for matches. Some might argue that he selects boys for matches. But that’s beside the point, or is it?

It’s no secret that this team has come under severe scrutiny from all quarters – often for not what it has, but what it doesn’t – Messer’s Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman. No surprise some skeptics even miss Kumble in this one-day squad.

And while potshot after potshot is taken at India’s young, new ODI team (now even more like its T20 avatar) – it’s worth reflecting: that a sport’s team, like good old Rome, is not built in a day. Yet sometimes, teams need to be undone in a day, in the blink of an eye – only at such times, the blink theory (the power of thinking without thinking) is not too encouraging – especially when writing off new talent.

And before you know it, the same critics will line up to applaud Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma and their ilk. Blinking idiots or what?
But then that’s what Indian cricket makes us all look like. Come Canberra, and India went down to Sri Lanka. And before you can dig out this defeat, there will be another victory to cherish. And then another defeat! Just around the corner. Go slow. Accident prone area. That’s one-day cricket for you!

16 comments:

Straight Point said...

i don't know why they dumped this super sub rule while all it required was fine tuning of naming super subs after toss...

another suggestion could be giving at least one set of power play decision to batting team...it will add to the mystery and pressure for bowling captain...

Naked Cricket said...

Straight Point,
While the supersub rule was an amusing addition, it was still a minor tinkering with the text. My Q is - isn't ODI cricket good as it is? Can't we just go easy on it, play fewer games - like they've put a lid on the no. of T20 internationals. It's almost like hunting the tigers down for eternity, and then realising one day they aren't any left. Too many ODIs today, too few good cricketers tomorrow.
Btw this sounds contradictory, but I do like the little tinkering - like the free hit, supersub, flexible power plays, and yr suggestions - keeps the game dynamic. But it doesn't save the soul of one-day cricket. Or overworked players.

Straight Point said...

however we want it boss, we cant reverse the cycle now...one day or another...administration of respective cricketing nations will have to sit and devise a definite rotation policy...this will enable them to have a pool of players who will be ready to be thrown in...

don't be surprised if we see in future that players are capped to play lets say only four consecutive matches after that they will compulsory sit for say cuple of matches...this will enable captain to use their key players wisely and will pose a challenge to their role of managing the resources well...without actually tinkering with the traditional format of ODIs as you mentioned...

Naked Cricket said...

SP,
just read this:
http://content-ind.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/current/story/336391.html
Love to see some rotation, not dropping, resting, BUT rotation. And by India, for once.
cheers!

yatharth said...

I like the two innings of 25 overs each idea. I think they actually tried this in one day games sometime in the '90s during a few games in the WSC triangulars. I remember watching an England-Aus game played in this way. Don't why the experiment failed. Also, the two new balls from either end was a good idea during the 92 WC.

Naked Cricket said...

Hi Yatharth,
And welcome!
Admit I like it too - snaps out those aimless 3.66 recurring rpo 25-40 overs in an innings!
More than that, one-day cric is ready for rebirth - instead they've been trying silly cosmetic stuff, and playing in denial. Either knock the frequency or get ready to be freaked out.
Aside: IPL -Indian Pension League

Jrod said...

Perhaps if Angelina Jolie played one day cricket it would be interesting.

Naked Cricket said...

Aye! Jolie should ADOPT one day cricket too!

Jrod said...

One day cricket, once loved by its parents, but now a humble orphan from, um lets say zimbabwe and pakistan, make it sound a little more desperate.

Naked Cricket said...

Isn't it ironic? Even if Angela doesn't, it should grab Alanis.
http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Ironic-lyrics-Alanis-Morissette/D4044FB07FBB76BA482568BB001736BC

Jrod said...

Hello Good Friend

I’m sure you are concerned about all the worlds ills, and you probably wish there was at least one thing you could do.

Well now there is visit cricketwithballs.com and Sign my David Hussey for Australia Petition and you’ll be contributing to world peace.

Vote David Hussey, he will represent you the people.

Naked Cricket said...

Consider it done. In return, please sign in invisible ink, a non-existent petition for the return of Virender Sehwag.

Soulberry said...

Next year we will definitely know for sure.

Naked Cricket said...

What's that, soulberry?

scorpicity said...

That's some pic...

ODI will soon be phased out as I see it... test cricket though will remain.

2 sessions per side in a ODI is a cool option, should do well. The question is which one of those moronic officials will actually take any effort to make it interesting... zilch!

Naked Cricket said...

Today's IPL Breaking News literally broke every news in sight. It's the end of the world as we know it (and i feel fine)