Archive for September, 2008

Ranatunga shows the way forward on ICL issue

It finally took a cricketer to understand the importance and wisdom of accepting a strong cricketing body comprising of a rich talent pool of cricketers & vibrant cricket structure. Sri Lanka’s most successful captain & CEO of cricket board has taken the path breaking step of understanding the modern cricket world & its dynamics. For how long could the premier cricket body (ICC) ignore a league represented & chosen by players from every major cricketing center of the world.

Arjuna Ranatunga has taken a step which will restore sanctity in the cricketing world. It is important that the ICC emerges as the supreme authority on global cricketing matters rather than follow the diktat of an IPL honcho. The IPL honcho has does great disservice to the BCCI portraying it as a bully rather than as a leader in cricketing initiatives.

It is important that the ICC does not let go of this opportunity to restore its supremacy on all global cricketing matters and shows the IPL honcho his right place.

In the final analysis it is a moral story for a few over-zealous authorities, that you can try hard but for how long can you keep a hardworking professional cricketer down.

This is great news for domestic Indian talents who choose the vibrant ICL platform; this is just the beginning of great things to follow for them. Finally they have got their rightful due for all the hard work put in.

VIVA domestic Indian cricket!

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Bangladesh Cricket board needs to show the way forward on the ICL issue

With the unveiling of the 9th ICL team in form of the Dhaka warriors and a big marketing blitz for its season-2; ICL has announced that it is here to stay. What attracts a professional cricketer to the Indian cricket league? The answer lies in the fact that the ICL provides top playing conditions an elementary requisite for a professional cricketer. Secondly the ICL philosophy and structure helps a professional cricketer get his rightful due in terms of his remuneration.

So far all the commercial spoils were enjoyed by the cricket boards and a portion of it trickled down to the domestic grass root level players & this explains the poor status of domestic players across cricket boards.

In case of Bangladesh I think the cricket Board and fans need to take the “player move” to ICL in a positive way. The grand launch of the Dhaka Warriors has given due recognition to Bangladesh cricket and its cricketers.

The traditional cricket structure always questioned Bangladesh’s test status & considered them minnows. But this is where the ICL is a cricket body with a difference, they have not only seen a commercial & cricketing potential in Bangladesh Cricket, but also unveiled the Dhaka warriors as the next big thing from the ICL stable.

Cricket pundits of the stature of Kapil Dev, Kiran More, Dean Jones & Tony Greig have seen the wisdom of inducting the Dhaka side on the competitive ICL platform & now it is for the Bangladeshi cricket fan to come out in numbers to support their players on a vibrant cricket platform that has a global reach.

From the view point of Bangladesh Board, they need to be visionaries and not follow the standard BCCI dictum. The ICL induction will showcase the true potential of the Bangladesh players and if they knock in a good performance at the forthcoming ICL Season-2, then the perception about players from Bangladesh will see a refreshing change from the global cricketing fraternity.

My sincere request to the Bangladesh cricket board, stand up to the BCCI and work only for the benefit of your own players. The first effects of the ICL induction is there to see for every Bangladeshi cricket fan. IPL authorities who ignored your players in their first season have promised to sign up your players for their next season.

For the sake of Bangladesh cricket, I hope the Dhaka Warriors put up a good show in ICL season-2.

Good Luck Warriors!

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Is the Indian Cricket fan ready for a Change in order?

As somebody who grew up on a staple diet of Test and One-day cricket, I was skeptical when T20 cricket was introduced as a serious format in England. For long I felt it was a foreign phenomenon that may not affect Indian shores. The same champion patrons of IPL were a year back strictly against introducing this format of the game in the country. The interest level amongst the Indian cricket authorities (BCCI), preceding the 2007 T20 world cup is needs no further prodding & is already very well documented.

However with the T20 world cup victory and the entry of the ICL the complexion of the game changed. IPL backed by star cricketers and big money bags changed the order & brought league cricket into the manifold.

All the above developments will radically change the way cricket consumers’ consume the sport.

My humble analysis of a metaphor for the three formats (Test, ODIs & T20) of the game lies in the following:

  1. Test cricket is comparable to theatre, not the most popular format; but from the point of view on an actor, is the best platform to display one’s talent. Similarly Test cricket is the ultimate level to test of skills for a cricketer. However both theatre /test cricket is seen as self indulgence from the point of view of a viewer. Sport in its modern context has to keep the consumer viewpoint at top priority and therefore like theatre, test cricket will have to reposition itself as a niche product to survive.
  2. One day cricket is like a 70mm magnum opus, sometimes it clicks sometimes it can flop, but is seen as the great national pastime. So far it has ruled the imagination of the cricketing world; but will new formats (T20 Cricket) outshine it? Similar to what TV & the internet have done in terms of commercial prowess in the entertainment sector.
  3. T20 is similar to TV & internet not the best platform to assess the talent of a player but the platform is so strong & humongous, that if a player proves his competitive mettle then he can shine with the vast opportunity the platform provides. Similar to what TV/internet does as a platform for a modern day actor.

T20 has caught the imagination of the viewer in the sports context similar to what TV/internet has done in the entertainment context.

The opinion makers (TV experts and perennial fans) will vouch for test cricket and dub other formats as payjama & underwear cricket!!!!! However the powerful flow of T20 & league cricket is such that it will mobilize the general mass towards it.

I think it’s a time for a change in order; cricket boards, ICC, BCCI will be the amphitheaters and Natya academies that cater to a niche outdated product.( BI-lateral cricket series ).

The format for the masses amongst cricket formats will be T20 cricket similar to what TV enjoys in the entertainment sector.

I foresee three major cricket bodies emerge as the nerve centers of cricket in this change of order ICL. IPL & Stanford.

The paradigm shift has already seen movements best exemplified with the legendary Greg Chappell seeing; T20 & franchisee league cricket as the future of cricket.

Will the huge cricket fan base in India react favorably to the change in order, the answer will first come up with the third ICL season ready to propel league cricket to unprecedented levels in a month’s time.

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Does ICL have the answer for India’s reserve wicket keeper?

The recent test series against Sri Lanka saw the Indians find it difficult to identify a reserve wicket keeper. Dhoni no doubt is the NO-1 wicket keeper a far cry from the situation in July-Aug -2007 when Indians were touring England. That series saw the emergence of Dinesh Karthik as a competent opening bat and was almost pushing Dhoni for the coveted no-1 keeper position in the Indian side.

Back home and in the A-series the diminutive Parthiv Patel was stroking in some consistent knocks showing promise of a strong comeback.

However Dhoni’s ascendancy and stature as a player has been coincided by a sharp fall in form of both these young cricketers, resulting in them being dropped from the Indian side and relegated to the domestic cricket structure. The Sri-Lankan test series was a stark reminder of a reality that in the absence of Dhoni India does not have a prominent back up keeper. So who provides the answer for the important reserve keeper job?

Personally I think the answer lies in ICL & Hyderabad Heroes wicket-keeper batsman Ibrahim Khaleel. Ever since the former Australian wicket keeper & coaching stalwart, Steve Rixon took over the reigns of the Hyderabad Heroes; has been instrumental in developing Khaleel into a top class wicket –keeper batsman.

Another strong testimonial for Khaleel has been from the legendary Jeff Dujon, who during his ICL commentary stint proclaimed Khaleel as one of best emerging wicket keeping talents fro India.

Khaleel has won the coveted wicket-keeper batsman position in the ICL –India team, a significant achievement looking into the fact that he competes with the likes of Deep Dasgupta, Sarabjeet Singh, Adam Parore & Nic Pothas on the ICL platform.

Also the fact that he was handpicked on the ICL platform by Kiran More adds strong credentials for the young wicket keeper-batsman.

Khaleel is one of the many fascinating stories emerging from the ICL chapter of Indian cricket and as a true patron of Indian cricket, I can only hope that the hard working domestic talents like Ibrahim Khaleel receive their due recognition from Indian’s humongous cricketing fraternity.

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