September 18, 2008
There aren’t too many Indian cricket journalists who write anything other than jingoistic match reports. Picking among the few that do write well, Pradeep Magazine is one of my favorite. He writes here on how the onus is on the selectors to allow our Fab Four an exit befitting their accomplishments and stature. Indeed, they’ve scripted some very famous victories in India and overseas and have given us some wonderful memories. Thank you, Mr. Magazine! Yes, Ganguly, Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman need to be given some space and a respectful farewell when it comes to it, not unceremoniously shoved through gaps between the door and its sill. Vengsarkar! Are you listening?
And there is no need to hurry this. While the argument of picking players on merit and form is valid, there aren’t enough quality replacements, especially in Tests. In fact the young ODI side is yet to prove itself overseas. Somewhere between ’96 and now, the quality of India recruits seems to have either gone down or gone unnoticed, especially in the batting and spin departments (though spin is a different story altogether and merits a separate post). There hasn’t been another decent batting recruit after that of Ganguly and Dravid in 1995-96. Yes, there was Sehwag, but aren’t we still debating his worth? Yes, that might also be because we try to shove all of them in the opening spot, but we still don’t have a decent opening pair. Thanks to T20 cricket and IPL, the batting situation may only get worse unless deliberate efforts are put in. The India-A tours are a step in the right directions. In a few years, we should have a good idea about who from the India A is worthy of the India cap for a decent term. That should be way to go.
September 6, 2008
A once-in-a-lifetime domestic season is upon us. Tendulkar has announced his availability for the Irani Trophy vs. Ranji champions Delhi; Ganguly, Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble and Dhoni are also expected to play. Can it get any better? Meanwhile, Dravid is already playing for Karnataka in the Buchi Babu tournament in Chennai. India-A, the future of the Indian Test team, is playing the next generation Aussies in Bangalore. All this is happening and the coverage is almost non existent.
Not even a scorecard of the Buchi Babu tournament. How I wish I was in Chennai, would have rushed to the stadium, weather permitting. Unfortunately, a very busy work week meant I couldn’t make to the India-A vs. Australia-A match right here in Bangalore. On that, all we get is a scorecard. Meanwhile, I join fellow blogger Scopy in my cable-TV rues. No, not Tata Sky, but my local cable operator in Bangalore is a madman. He decides what I should watch. At any point in time, we get only three sport channels: a toss up between ESPN, Ten Sports, Star Sports, NEO Sports and Star Cricket. If there’s a live billiards tournament on Star Sports and other such live matches on other channels, means I can’t watch “India glorious” on Star Cricket or “Dravid Deewar” on NEO Sports.
I say this is a great opportunity to rope in some sponsors and cash in. Where are the BCCI? Are they not hearing the jingling of coins? The sad state of some of the domestic tournaments as described by Pradeep Magazine in his book <i>Not Quite Cricket </i> comes to mind. This is the time to cash in, folks. Lalit Modi! Where are you when you matter the most? There are at least three other very excited bloggers who are wanting to see these matches: unabashed senior supporter Buzz and avid cricket follows Scorpicity and Soulberry, who has a dedicated blog for domestic cricket. Hope I haven’t missed anyone else. But I’m pretty sure there are enough of us crazy folk to at least partially fill a stadium or count toward the TRP ratings. Surely Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid will pull crowds. Having said all that, looks like we crazy folk can only rant this season.