Posts Tagged kapil dev

Spare a thought for the lesser mortals of the game

So the league cricket system is precariously placed with the ICL players receiving the amnesty offer from the all mighty BCCI. IPL commissioner Lalit Modi has gone on record saying that it will be good for the game as he gets more players to choose from. Not a bad thing ! It will help a few top quality players in the ICL like R Sathish (easily the best young talent in the country), Ali Murtaza, Vignesh, Stuart Binny et al. The usual suspects like Ambati Rayudu, Deep Dasgupta, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala , Badani & Mongia too will get IPL offers along with the likes of Rohan Gavaskar . However my concern is about players like Abu Nechim, IS Reddy et al, along with around 70 odd domestic players who are neither a certainty with their state Ranji teams or on the IPL radar. Some would say it is a fair call ; the top performers will get their due while the rest will have to settle for a life back in obscurity of league cricket on barren grounds. This would be a sad situation if sport is only judged on basis of the survival of the fittest- the spirit of sport means that even underdogs should get the opportunity and that is what differentiates sport from business. ICL transformed player remunerations and made it possible for a decently talented young cricketer to play at the domestic level to earn a decent livelihood. IPL & ICL made it possible for a young man to take up the game even if he did not have it in him to make it to the competitive Indian national team. I believe if there is a player exodus from ICL to IPL , a lot of domestic talents in the IPL too will face the heat now. IF some of the top ICL performers are to replace them in the IPL teams , it is certain they will not get renewed contracts from their team owners. This is a point that Lalit Modi and BCCI have to introspect upon as custodians of the game. An ideal stance for them is to buy a majority stake from Essel Sports in the ICL or licensee out domestic players to formulate the ICL as a second division league to the IPL. It also takes forward the T20 format of the game and allows more broadcast revenue & earning potential for the BCCI. As the present ICL & IPL calendars are separate from each other it makes it ideal for both leagues to continue as second and first divisions respectively. What the above policy would do is to encompass a larger talent pool to earn the perks and lucrative packages offered by the T20 league format of the game.

By now you would have realized that I have a special affinity for the ICL and you may ask me the question why? For the simple reason that the gritty Baroda wicket keeper batsman Kiran More & the great Kapil Dev managed to produce a serious cricket tournament despite all the difficulties faced by them. The ICL could have easily gone the Hong King Sixes way as a recreational tournament, but these two gentlemen at the helm of ICL cricket managed to produce a serious and high quality cricket product. The contribution of Michael Bevan, Steve Rixon, Moin Khan & Daryl Cullinan should not go in vain and am sure that their cricket acumen would be tapped by other cricket bodies if ICL takes a sabbatical from the game. The ICL has done its job in identifying and developing young talent like VIgnesh, Binny, Murtaza & Khaleel. The two red hot players for me however would be R Sathish & Ambati Rayudu. These two have it in them to make it to the big league and I am sure they will prove to be ambassadors of ICL’s cause- if they get to perform in the IPL and larger platforms. Having followed cricket as a true patron for over two decades, I am sure these two young players will prove to the world that ICL too has quality acts in its talent pool and will probably bring justice and vilification to the concept of ICL not in the court of law or TV ratings but purely with their cricketing talent.
But along with these talented players a thought should be spared to the likes of Abbas Ali, Reetinder Sodhi , Rakesh Patel and Thiru Kumaran- may be age is not on their side to make it to the Indian team , but they still have a few years of cricket left in them. They may not be a Warne or a Mcgrath but they sure are quality cricketers who will enhance domestic Indian Cricket. Of course ICL would not be needed if IPL could add another 8 teams on their list –but that doesn’t seem to be a realistic possibility. So why not find the best solution in taking league cricket forward by recognizing the ICL as a second division to the Indian Premiere League. If Lait Modi & his BCCI colleagues are true connoisseurs of the game then they will do a big favor for averagely talented domestic talents to get their due from the riches of T20 league cricket; by allowing or recognizing ICL as a second division T20 league. At the risk of sounding repetitive I would again like to state that one IPL is too small to encompass the entire talent pool of domestic Indian talent and either the IPL has to accommodate more domestic talents or outsource some domestic portions to private sports management firms like the ICL.

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Kapil Dev the real Moses of Indian cricket

Circa June 1983: The English summer saw the 3rd world cup hosted by England; featuring 8 teams. The Prudential world cup started with the all conquering West Indies starting as favorites to pick up their 3rd straight world cup title. The Indians came into the world cup led by a young 24 year old all-rounder with a fresh approach keen to establish India’s credentials in the one day format of the game.

In the two previous editions of the world cup (1974. & 1978) the Indians had managed to register a sole victory against East Africa.

The Indians were placed in the tougher group B along with defending Champions West Indies, Australia and Zimbabwe. Their campaign got off in style with a victory over the defending champions in their first league game; making a strong statement that they were no pushovers at the Prudential world cup. As the tournament progressed to the final league stage, group B was wide open with Kapil’s boys needing crucial wins over Zimbabwe & Australia in their final two league matches to move into the knock out stage of the tournament. June 18 1983, was the big day when India took on Zimbabwe at Tunbridge wells. The Indians batting first were off to a disastrous start tottering at 17/5, the stage was set for the Indian captain, Kapil Dev who went on to play arguably the best one day innings ever of 175 not out (that stood as the highest individual score in the one day format for a very long time). It was that innings that took India into the semi- final stage. A comprehensive victory over hosts England saw the Indians take on the might West Indies in the final which was the classic David – Goliath contest. Kapil’s Devils, as they were described took the field on the destined date of June 25th 1983, as firm underdogs; playing out of their skins they created one of the biggest upsets in sports history to be crowned the cricket champions of the world. The victory was the catalyst that propelled cricket as India’s greatest national pastime.

If today’s cricketers have achieved Demi-god status and enviable commercial & social status in the country, then they owe a big part of it to the magnificent team of 1983 who took the game to an entire new level. It was under the astute leadership of Kapil Dev that India discovered its proficiency in the one-day format of the game. Today Kapil is at the helm of affairs at the ICL which has pioneered the city based league format of the game and was the first league to crack the T20 code which has caught the imagination of the modern cricket fan. Along with Kapil are three other world cup winners in Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Madan Lal & Sandip Patil who have embraced the ICL ideology of taking domestic Indian cricket & its players to the next level.

This proves that it is Kapil who is responsible for pioneering new paths in the two shorter formats of the game. Had it not been for the 1983 victory, one day cricket would have not seen the stature it has achieved today. And had it not been Kapils’ pioneering effort in league cricket with the ICL ; T20 would have not got its humongous support that it enjoys today .

It is now for the cricketing fraternity especially the Indian fans to decide who the is the real Moses of Indian cricket ?

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ICL important for Indian Cricket in the changing sporting scenario

The sporting environment in India is in for a robust change. The boom in the economy is seeing a change in the way sport is perceived and consumed by the general public. The mantra for sporting disciplines is globalization and it is a matter of time before other sporting disciplines making inroads to fight for its share of the pie (entertainment dollar). The world of soccer wants to tap the big Indian market and with clinics organized by the English premiere league teams & the visit of the global football chief to India; football authorities are making the right moves. Golf is also seeing a lot initiatives, Hockey with a change in guard may throw few surprises.

The above developments augurs well for Indian sport and also acts as a wake up call for Indian cricket to step on the pedal to maintain its no-1 position.

To maintain its commercial success it is important for cricket to maintain its sporting success and for this the most critical factor would be to produce an assembly line of domestic talents who receive the best of training & exposure; to complement the Indian national team.

The ICL was the first off the blocks in identifying this area of domestic Indian cricket. Investment in world class training, support staff & top of the drawer international coaches combined with top level cricket exposure has seen the ICL successful in unearthing cricket talent that otherwise would have been lost in the oblivion of an outdated domestic cricket structure (Ranji trophy).

The fact that today players like Ali Murtaza, R Sathish, Stuart Binny have become house hold names ; players like Rohan Gavaskar, Thiru Kumaran & Ambatti Rayudu have shown the world that they still possess the cricketing prowess to take on the best of the world, augurs well for the intentions & achievement of objectives of the ICL.

The IPL has taken a leaf out of ICL and launched its first tournament amongst a lot of hype & hoopla; to its credit & that of its promoters, IPL too has managed to unearth a few new stars in the likes of Ghoni, Ashok Dinda & Swapnil Asnodkar.

The fact that former international greats like Glenn Mcgrath & Shane Warne have out shone the regular icons reiterates the fact that former international greats have a significant role to play in harnessing new talents in this latest format of the game. This was again an area that should be credited to the ICL as they were the first of the blocks to identify the potential of using former international cricketers in building their city based teams. It also answers their critics who dubbed them as a league of wannbe domestic talents & retired cricketers!

The above makes it imperative for all associated with cricket to see the ICL in the same light as the IPL, after all how much one can differentiate in terms of performance between a Bret lee or a Shane Bond , Glen McGrath & Jason Gillespie or a Shane Watson & Ian Harvey.

It has now been identified by one & all that the T20 format of the game is one of the most transparent platforms for young domestic hopefuls to showcase their talents. The ICL has 124 domestic talents most of whom have played for India or first class cricket. On the other hand an IPL team roughly has 25 members out of which 8 are international cricketers making it 17 national Indian players per team. With 8 teams this figure reads approximately 136 Indian players at the IPL. Therefore the total number of Indian players plying their trade at the two leagues reads a humongous talent pool of 260 Indian players.

Now if according to the wisdom and wish of the BCCI only IPL was to exist then it means that nearly half of these 260 players would not have an opportunity to display their cricketing prowess on a city based T20 platform. This is the sole major reason why the ICL should be encouraged and seen as a synergistic initiative in the betterment of Indian cricket.

After all if the IPL has seen the comeback of the smiling assassin ( Balaji) on the IPL platform then the ICL has rediscovered the bald assassin ( Kumaran ), as one of the craftiest medium pacers in the limited over format of the game.

If IPL has thrown up a pint sized Asnodkar from the Rajasthan Royal stable drawing comaprision with sachin amongst his mates; the Mumbai Champs have discovered their very own Tendulkar in the pocket dynamo Raviraj Patil. If Ashok Dinda has impressed everyone with his pace at the IPL then one should not forget that the young Abu Nechim has been clocked bowling over 140kmps at the Edelweiss 20s Challenge.

In the final analysis it is in best interest of Indian cricket that both the leagues prosper.

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