Is IPL killing cricket?

I read this illuminating article about ‘ripping’ the textbook by Cricinfo’s Sriram Veera. Yes, the textbook is Test cricket. I was rather shocked to read that some of these cricketers have had to unlearn the things they spent their entire life on. Any guesses on who the ‘playing within the V’ cricketer is?

Moving on, this begs many questions. First of all, as Ajay Jadeja had alluded to during the T20 World cup, is this even cricket? Cricket has been a complex game: about strategy, declarations, field positions, “temperment”, and much more, not merely about hitting the ball out of the park thereby making the bowler feel like a “extra” in a dance-number. Secondly, given the changes required of batsman, shouldn’t we have two seperate teams – one for Tests and another for T20, which don’t mix. Test cricket and T20 have only the letter T in common. One is for men, the other for adrenaline-pumping-boys. True, there is a fearlessness associated with T20, which can rarely be seen in a Test match, but the latter builds charecter and does more to the development of person than many other things in life. So much for the well know adage that cricket is a metaphor for life. If we do deciede that T20 is cricket, and if that be our metaphor of life, India is likely to be filled with a lot of arrogant youngsters, who will have nothing but thier arrogance to flaunt.

There is yet another alarming prospect – this is a bit of a stretch. Consider the case where the Utthappas, the Gambhirs and other fly-by-night hitters of the upcomming generation make it to Test cricket, with their new found batting techniques, thereby polluting it with their vulgar slogging. Assuming that international standards also drop a notch, thanks to the IPL, then, Test cricket won’t be Test cricket anymore.

Granted, with time, games like language, are bound undergo change, but not at the cost of the very foundation. For once, I’m with the ICC on their pompous-sounding, yet mostly toothless declaration in support of Test Cricket. There is just some noise, not even a semblense of a game-plan to see it through.

While this is the case, the BCCI selectors have proudly announced that they are watching the IPL with an eye on selection for ODIs. This declaration the biggest embarrasement for Indian cricket, perhaps on par the Harbhajan episode.

If Test cricket dies and takes with it, the Dravids, Tendulkars, Kallis-es and Chanderpauls, damn you, BCCI. The Aussies might turn out as the care takers of the purest form of the game. Then, as a fan of Test cricket, I will then have to throw way my pride and turn into an Aussie fan, through and through.

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9 Responses to Is IPL killing cricket?

  1. Homer says:

    strong words vmminerva but completely unfounded.. If classical test cricket is what interests you, then let us go back to the good old days of uncovered wickets, linseed oil seasoned bats that weighed no more than 2 lbs, Feather thin pads and gloves, cardboard thigh pads. And no helmets.

    Because, when a batsman is confronted by a 95 mph delivery with very little protection and on a wicket that is green and damp ( because it has been uncovered), that is the true test of technique. And character.

    And do be prepared for matches to get over in under 3 days.

    Now, about technique itself and also a bit about what you term vulgar slogging – what is technique anyways?

    Technique is the optimal means of playing the ball with proper distribution of body weight so as to retain balance.

    In days when the bats had to be seasoned with linssed oil, since the bat weigh contributed negligibly to the stroke played, the emphasis was on body weight. And because there was very little protection by means od padding or helmets, the trajectory of strokeplay was different.

    Bring in helmets and better padding and batsmen could move forward to even short balls to play strokes on the rise – it was vulgar slogging at one point in time.

    Better and heavier bats meant that there was more value for money on meeting the ball with bat alone without too much emphasis on body position – hence the emphasis shifted from technique to timing. And balance.

    At the end of the day, the only thing people crave for is a result. And the more discerning ones, a contest. ODIs became popular because they delivered results in a day in an era when there used to be repeated stalemates after 5 days of match play.

    Run rates went up because the import of the one day game was to score more runs than the other team and to do so in a limited periods of time ( and overs). This got reflected in Test cricket. So, instead of a run rate of 1 or 1.5 and a score of 175 at the end of the day’s play, you now have teams scoring in excess of 300.

    T20 is a progression of the same..

    And if you really want to root cause why Tests are getting unpopular, look no further than the roads that are laid out in the name of pitches today.. For the ostensible reason of prolonging the duration of a test to 5 days.

  2. Ottayan says:

    VMM,

    I hold batsmen like Dravid, Attapattu, Kallis and other pure technique batsmen responsible for the sorry state of Test cricket.

    They are the one’s who made Test cricket dour.

    BTW, I disagree(politely of course) with your argument that Test cricket is a metaphor for life. It is utter nonsense perpetuated by Neville Cardus and his ilk.

    Cricket is a game, where all sorts can ply their skills.

    There has always been batsmen for example Don Bradman, who score at a ferocious rate. Remember we had a Kapil Dev and Botham playing all sorts of agricultural shots.

    It is these stunted personalities like Boycott and Gavaskar, who made Test cricket so complicated.

    These asinine regressive characters have always preached doom when anything innovative is implemented.( If you notice these guys have written a book on cricket or writing about cricket)

    I think Twenty20 players have the technique to energise Test cricket. The difference I see is that there will be lot more aerial shots played and every ball will be considered a scoring opportunity.

    Apologise for taking so much space.

    Cheers

  3. scorpicity says:

    I read that article on cricinfo but really it did not make sense for the teams to resort to that. You can still score a big truck load of runs by playing in the v. In the powerplay, he can hit straight or chip over the field in the v and in the later overs, clear the boundary within the v. V or not to V… it is a matter of skill. The question that should be posed to the so called established test players is whether they have the skill to score big runs within the V. Obviously they are unable to do it.

  4. scorpicity says:

    I also echo Otts here on the likes of Gavaskar and Boycott totally ruining test cricket by selfish pointless batting.

  5. trideep says:

    I agree with Homer & Ott. Even in T20 you can definitely score heavily in the V. Infact i suppose that is the safest shot still in T20. People who say that its not possible to score within the V are probably not capable of playing aerial shots in the V.
    Batsmen like Gambhir & Uthappa & other ‘fly-by-night hitters’ are not ‘vulgar sloggers’. They play proper cricket shots which are aerial. They are able to play well because they can play proper cricket shots as well as innovate with them. I feel a batsman who can do this is definitely a skillful player.

  6. vmminerva says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing your enlightening comments, folks. And don’t apologize for the detail.

    Looks like I’m in the minority here.

    @Homer, welcome and thank you for stopping by here. Your points are well taken. I would agree with you on helmetless cricket (a brand of which I have only read about in recent articles alluding to those days). However, my issue with the whole stick-to-the-technique, is that I think it is there in place for a reason. Sometimes just getting the basics right is more than half the battle. Or maybe its just me, having trouble with luck-based nature of T20. True, it gives results, and is more entertaining in some aspects. What I think it lacks, is a keener sense of a contest. One good or bad over, and it’s gone.

    @Ottayan, steaming in with bouncers, eh? 🙂 I see that you aren’t a fan of the Dravid/Kallis batting style. I’m with you partially in that some, I repeat some, of the T20 players have it in them to enliven Test cricket – the folks who will be the Gilchrists and Jayasuriyas of the forthcoming years. These are the likes of Rohit Sharma and Marsh, of what I’ve seen. However, I doubt if the likes of Uthappa will have much success in Tests, even in the enlivened version that you envision. If he does with his current style, I will eat crow. 🙂

    @Scorpy, good point about scoring runs in the V. No doubt, there is plenty in there. It is a matter of finding it and adjusting.

    @trideep, welcome to this end of the blogsphere. I’m with you on Gambhir, but not on Uthappa.

  7. trideep says:

    VM,
    Uthappa has unfortunately lost his focus in cricket recently. Atleast it looks like that to me. His bowing before the crowd after every catch, his American Indian hair style… looks like the cash has gone to his head. He probably has forgot the reason he has been selected. He will definitely have to get his focus back or less his tenure in Indian team will be a short one.

  8. Soulberry says:

    The calmness of Buddha, the patience and tolerance of Vishnu, the agility of Krishna the strategisation of Chanakya, the courage of Hanuman, the skill ofand the devotion of Laxman, are all necessary in T20 as much as in test cricket.

    The ultimate effect of the brahmastras the batsmen pelt is such that the subtle nuance of the astra’s mantra is lost.

    In the end, in both games, only those with all these requisite attributes will succeed. Those who are able to maintain them will last.

  9. vmminerva says:

    ha! Well said, Soulberry, in true Indian flavor. May I add cartloads of luck to T20. I am at a loss while trying to find an Indian mythological idol for luck.

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