Ricky Ponting in his recent interview said that minnows have no place in the world cup. I feel that that was pretty harsh statement and I feel sorry for the associate nations. The associate nations hardly play any major games and their only opportunity to showcase their talent is the world cup. ICC (International Cricket Council) is to be blamed for this situation. The associate nations have not always been a push over. They have given us some amazing games in the past and have helped throw the tournament wide open.
Who can forget the brilliant Kenya defeating WI in the 1996 world cup, Bangladesh defeating Pak in 1999, Kenya making the semis in 2003 and also Ireland defeating Pak in 2007 world cup? So it’s not as though these teams are here to just make up numbers, they have played some great cricket in the past. Yes I agree that these teams also are part of some pretty one sided affairs, so what? There are 19/20 years olds of these nations, whose dream is to play for their country and represent them at the world stage. World cup is their chance; no one knows when these teams would graduate from being an associate nation. The frustrating part is that ICC doesn’t seem to care about the same.
Kenya a very competitive team few years back has gone south rapidly. Lack of matches at the major level can be a reason. Kenya went back to wilderness after their stunning world cup exploit. They should have at least been a full member ODI side playing regularly against top International teams. The ICC faltered big time there. The sub-continent power helped Bangladesh to graduate to a full member very soon, even though they were not ready for such a giant leap at that time. The Associate nations qualify for the world cup and then no one knows what they play and what sort of practice they have ahead of such major tournament. You cannot expect a team which plays a test side once in 4 years to suddenly transform into world beaters.
The Dutch proved yesterday that these teams need to be given a chance. Netherlands team almost pulled off an upset against the English yesterday. The Canadian team also had their moment in the warm up games. This shows that these teams might lose most of the times but they have it in them to perform at this level. The enthusiasm and the passion with which these teams play in spite of being thrashed is a fantastic example. The ICC needs to make sure these teams are prepared to participate at this level in a major event. The drastic leap in standard between Associate level and International level can be very difficult for the teams to bridge.
The ICC should at least let the qualified teams to participate in domestic leagues of full member nations to get a glimpse of competitive cricket. The ICC can sure make some sort of arrangement with the respective boards. I don’t think we should just dismiss these teams but need to find a way to get these teams to be more prepared and ready for such an event. If we ignore these teams completely then the world will never know the Tikolo’s, the Ryan ten Doeschate’s of the world. These talents need to be showcased and what better than a world cup for them to do that? Every young player has a dream of playing in the world cup and we should not take away that dream in haste.
Pic Courtesy Cricinfo: Dhoni plays some football in the training session in Mumbai.
The much awaited battle between the top two sides in the limited form of the game is all set to begin tomorrow when the Indians take on the Aussies for a 7 match series in Vadodara. The lead up to the series for the teams has been a stark contrast. Australia has been in brilliant form thrashing England 6-1 in a bilateral series and successfully defending the Champions Trophy. India though on the other hand is coming into the series after a disappointing exit from the Champions Trophy.
The BCCI took some very harsh decisions aftermath of the exit by sacking the fielding and the bowling coach. Dhoni would have realized how thankless captaincy could be as in the matter of weeks he turned from hero to zero. The Indian team though would be buoyed by the return of Yuvraj and Sehwag at the top of the order. So the batting for the home team sports a balanced look as opposed to the bowling which totally relies of how Bajji would perform.
Ishant Sharma has been given a lifeline as he has been included in the squad in spite of some mediocre performances. No such luck for Yusuf Pathan though as he has been dropped from the squad after some indifferent performances in the Compaq cup and CT. So Ishant might play the first game with Nehra and Praveen (or Tyagi) being the others partnering him in Vadodara.
Australia though has no such worries as they have a fit and firing Brett Lee along with one of the fastest bowlers in the world Dirk Nannes. The only aspect of the Aussie bowling which might be exposed is their spin department. Even though Nathan Hauritz has been doing a good job for them in the past few months, he might be targeted by the Indian batsmen.
Batting though for the Aussies seems in good shape with Watson and Paine at the top with Ponting and the rest to follow. Ricky Ponting himself has been in brilliant form for the Aussies. On the flat batting tracks in India the Aussies will not be too worried about their batsmen struggling against the spinners.
Even though the Indian top order seems very strong they will be still wary of the lack of competitive matches for Yuvraj and Sehwag. Raina and Dhoni have not been in good touch. Ghambir has been scratchy in his last couple of innings in the CLT20. So there are concerns a plenty for the Indian think tank.
The teams are ranked 1 and 2 in the ICC ODI rankings and there is plenty to play for in that aspect. If India wins the series by a considerable margin then they might just pip the Aussies for the top spot. So all in all this will be an interesting series and it will be interesting to see the team combinations for the first game by both the parties.
This is an important series for the Indian captain as he would have found out recently that the media and the fans in the subcontinent have a pretty short term memory. I am sure that this will be a close series and I hope that India ends up on the right side of the results. I am going for a 4-3 win to India. Go India!!
The dismal performance by the Indians against the visiting South Africans clearly proves that the players were not ready for this battle. Unfortunately over the past few weeks IPL has been given more media coverage than the current test series. The Indian players talking about their plans about a tournament which has not yet started and which isnt an International fixture either shows their lack of interest in this ongoing test series. The South Africans on the other hand are taking this more seriously and are deservedly ahead in this series dominating both the games played till now.
BCCI’s excuse for IPL is that it will promote cricket, but where? I dont think Twenty20 tournament atleast in India needs any promotion. How many players from Kenya and Bangladesh are part of IPL?So what and where are we promoting cricket?BCCI are just trying make the most of the popularity gained by the latest version of the game in India after the WC win. BCCI has no interest to promote anything by having this tournament. BCCI as a board will become richer and the players who signed up will make money. Other than the two parties mentioned no one is gaining because of this tournament. Players have already started suggesting that this should be part of ICC’s annual schedule which is hilarious as this is not an International tournament.
This is an Indian domestic league which has international players signed up for, similar to county cricket in England. ECB isnt asking ICC to include their Twenty20 league in the International calender. If BCCI is going to have this tournament in the middle nowhere without taking the International calender into consideration then they better be prepared to miss some key players on International duties. This is getting completely out of control. When BCCI started this concept I was totally for it as the concept was completely different for cricket but now I am not able to stand it anymore.
The English players who said that they dont want to be a part of the league want their own domestic tournament adjusted to accomodate IPL. This is just getting ridiculous. Why would ECB reshedule their domestic tournament to accomodate another country’s domestic tournament? Its the players who should decide where they want to play. Which league they want to represent, no board is going to reschedule anything to accomodate a 44 day tournament. The problem is that these ameturish comments have come from players like Kevin Pieterson and Ricky Ponting.
BCCI has made sure that the players themselves are looking forward to IPL more than their International fixtures. Before the Pakistan tour was called off, there were few Australian who were dissapointed that they wouldnt be able to make it to the first edition of this league. The Indians already seem to be more interested in promoting their franchise rather than putting extra hours in practice for an International series. The series against the South Africans was very important for India as this was a follow up to a successful tour down under. A good performance by the home team would have made sure that they would be the undisputed number 2 in test cricket.
The performance in Ahmedabad Shows that we dont deserve that tag. The youngsters should realise that they can score plenty of runs or claim plenty of wickets in IPL but as Kallis rightly put it, only your performance in test cricket will be remembered. There have been lots of players who have great record in domestic cricket but the viewers will only remember the Laras, the Tendulkars or the Kumbles of cricket. Playing for the country gives a player the ultimate satisfaction and that should be the first priority for any cricketer. BCCI might make lots of money and probably the team owners will do too but they have to be careful that they dont bring a divide among the cricket fraternity. Again I stand by my statement that BCCI isnt promoting anything through IPL but just are reiterating the fact that they are the big boss of cricket.