Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gilly the Sensible

This is a pretty sensible, thoughtful Cowdrey lecture delivered by Adam Gilchrist (I'm not sure about the bit that says "get cricket into the Olympics" though). Some highlights:
Even its most ardent admirers would have to acknowledge that Test cricket is now redundant as the financial driver of the game.
No disagreement here. The question is how to find a way of subsidizing it, if the cricket world agrees that it is worth subsidizing.
Twenty20 cricket certainly has the great advantage of being able to slot directly into the one-day financial template.
And to continue the subsidy of test cricket, or to knock it out altogether?
Test cricket, arguably one of the greatest sporting contests ever devised, is by the same token an anachronism amongst modern professional sports.
Yes, but also singular and unique, and perhaps just for that reason worth holding on to (besides, won't the batsmen's union want test cricket just so that they can play those long innings?)
Test cricket should be tampered with as little as is possible...This not only includes the expanded umpire referral system, but especially the mooted introduction of night test cricket and a different coloured ball needed to accommodate this
I'm still ambivalent about night cricket but I think this is an experiment that is going to happen for sure; I'm less keen about the umpire referral system, which thus far seems to have introduced a great deal of confusion and little else
[to preserve test cricket's future]which we must - less is infact more - that we should go back to the future where there were fewer test matches, but a lot more important ones, and where the best cricketers of the day played closer to 50 tests in their career, not 150.

A test playing group of England, Australia, Pakistan, India, New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka would suit me just fine. Yes, that means demoting Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, the oldest idea in the book. And I'd be very happy to see future Tendulkars conserve their energies and skills by playing a little less cricket overall (Mind you, this hasn't stopped Tendulkar from playing international cricket for twenty years!).

Incidentally, while Gilly's insistence on the Ashes as the premier cricketing encounter might irk those who think the importance of this encounter has been overrated, its pretty clear that the India-Australia and India-Pakistan rivalries have not taken off for a variety of reasons. In the Australian case, we have not been able to arrange a full five-test series (it's another thing that India-Australia tests have often been harder fought than many Ashes tests), and in the case of Pakistan, no reasonable middle ground has been found between too much cricket, and neither have politics and the worst pitches in the world helped.


Blogger Unknown said...

Samir, why the objection to the Olympics? Cricket needs both new audiences and new players to become a better sport. The Olympics seems like a reasonable platform (amongst others)...?

6:47 PM  
Blogger David Mutton said...

Is the Olympics not a non-starter because an eligibility criteria is for lots of countries to play the sport?

8:14 PM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

JK: I'm not objection - I just don't think the argument for promotion works i.e., I'm not sure introducing cricket in the Olympics is going to help cricket worldwide - lots of sports in the Olympics haven't shot to worldwide fame yet.

David: Possibly, though, I've heard that population factors could take care of that.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Fair enough. Fencing, anyone? :-)

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Krish said...

The India-Australian series has only been interesting in this decade while the Ashes have a longer history. Having said that, I agree with you that the recent ones have been more interesting than the Ashes of this decade, apart from the 2005 series.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Going by India's record in Cricket as well as in Olympics I wouldn't really care if Cricket is included in Olympics. How many of you would remember cricket was played in Commonwealth Games sometime back. It was a flop bec at around same time we had a Sahara Cup in Canada.
On the revival of Tests, I think we could have lesser messing around and probably even going back to old rules. Like more bouncers per over, removal of side-screens, probably even doing away with the helmets. I believe there are too many rules to protect the batsmen that is killing the game. Unless wickets fall there will be lack of results which is hurting the game more.

3:14 AM  

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