Cricket Aaj Kal

In cricket, if top two teams play a test series, what would one expect? Drawn matches? Closely fought matches? No…….You are not in line with the reality. It is two huge wins…by an innings in each case by each team. What does this tell us? Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties or the top teams in cricket are inconsistent or something else?

They say that best time to sin is when Sachin is playing as God will be busy watching Sachin. Sachin was again at his best in Kolkata, scoring 47th test century. Over the years, Sachin has grown to be an individual who offers much more than cricket – a level headed approach to life. His views on Mumbai, his team playing skills, support he offers to his captains (who are much more juniors to him) and his mentoring of new comers makes him dear to his fans and admirers. I wish Sachin many more fruitful years.

IPL, now it appears, is best played outside India. Look at these: Deccan Chargers had to change their home venue to Cuttack, Australian players are scared for life with even Shane Warne rethinking on his participation and Pakistani Players playing in India is a sensitive issue. Added to all these is the threat issued by some self styled terror commanders. There is also a possibility of boycott of IPL coverage by broadcasters (other than SetMax). With television coverage (and the revenues coming with it), it can be hosted anywhere, even in China.

Coming to think of it, why not in China? They have superb infrastructure in the form of Beijing Olympics venues, they can manage to get huge crowds and it is lot peaceful and hopefully, these sundry terrorists can’t reach China. Only threat is that the Chinese may catch the cricket fever and beat us in our own game in the near future, as Koreans did in Hockey.

Drawn test matches are also thrillers, sometimes. The recent S. Africa V/S England series played in South Africa in December 2009 and January 2010 provided two such matches, out of four test match series. On no less than two occasions (i.e., in the first test and again in the third test), Onions, the last man in for England, stood between a South African victory and a draw. In those thrilling end overs, it was worthwhile watching Onions save the day bringing tears in South African eyes!

Cricket is fast becoming a favourite target of the terrorists in the sub-continent. The attack on Srilankan cricketers and match officials in Lahore in March 2009 brought into tragic and dramatic focus a trend that began, ironically, in Sri Lanka in 1987 – when New Zealand abandoned their tour after a car bomb in Colombo killed 100 people. Nine years later, Australia and West Indies refused to play their World Cup games in Sri Lanka citing danger from the ongoing civil war. Subsequent series to be affected include New Zealand’s tour of Pakistan in 2002, Australia and West Indies’ tours of Pakistan the same year (eventually played at neutral venues), South Africa’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2006, which was truncated halfway, England’s of India in November 2008, when the ODI series was cut short by the attacks in Mumbai, and India’s proposed tour of Pakistan in 2009.