Laaloo reacted to express bowling for an article, The importance of introducing and backing exciting new talent with regularity
I remember the year 1989 very well. Gavaskar had retired a couple of years earlier and Kapil had lost pace. We were losing to Pakistan more often than not in ODIs. The 1983 World Cup and 1985 Benson & Hedges Cup twin wins were things of the past. Crickets fans were feeling directionless. Then came the tour to Pakistan , where a baby-faced 16 year old stole the hearts of the entire nation with his brave batting against the Pakistani quicks. Watching cricket was a pleasure once again for Indians ... and this euphoria lasted for more than fifteen years. In the 1990s, when Tendulkar batted, the whole nation " batted " through him.
In 1991, a tall, thin guy, with flailing arms while bowling , burst onto the scene and bowled really quick ... and India had its first genuine fast bowler, Srinath. The year 1996 saw an elegant left-hander score a century on test debut at Lords. This was followed by another century in the next test match. While this was happening, another young man with impeccable technique missed his centuries by a few runs in both those tests. Indian cricket fans were brimming with excitement once again at the emergence of these twin gems.
Be it a wristy Hyderabadi scoring 3 centuries in his first three tests in 1984-85, a bespectacled Kumble taking a 4-fer in in Sharjah in 1991, Zaheer and Yuvraj sparkling in Nairobi in 2000, a dashing Sehwag scoring 105 in South Africa on test debut in 2001 ... these memories will stay with us for ever. More than these moments and memories, every time a special talent emerged, it gave us reasons to watch cricket for the next few years.
No one will forget the dabaang innings of 148, that a long-haired keeper-batsman played in 2005 against Pakistan ... and a new star was born. No matter what one feels today, every Indian cricket fan felt a connection with that young man, which would stay with us till the time he won us the 2011 World Cup as captain.
Then came Kohli, who would go on to become one of the biggest superstars. entertaining us in all three formats with his spectacular batsmanship. Rohit, Rahane, Pujara, Dhawan, Ashwin, Jadeja, Shami, Umesh, Bumrah, Bhuvi etc. ... all of them inspired interest among certain sections of fans. Seeing a young Shami debut, combining genuine pace with reverse swing to floor the West Indians in 2013, was very exciting. Fast bowling fans just loved it when young Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron bowled at 150 kph.
Sports survive and grow in stature and popularity because of superstars and stars. Thirty-one years have passed but people still talk about and remember Maradona winning the football world cup. Fans need to find a connection with individual players. They are happy when that person does well and sad when he fails. They realize their own sporting dreams through him or her. Cricket is facing competition from other sports in India like never before and needs star players more than ever.
In Indian cricket, we are recently seeing a trend of trying to introduce thirty-plus players as a matter of priority, especially the batters and keepers . Youngsters are getting chances but only when an " elderly " is not good enough or is injured or fails the yo-yo test or rotation policy demands more players. If the current ODI batting line-up makes it to the 2019 World Cup then we will have six batters who are 30+. Dhoni 38, Karthick 34, Jadhav 34, Dhawan 33, Rohit 32, Kohli 30.
I am not suggesting that thirty plus players should all be be dropped or not given fresh chances. But, there should be a mix of experience and youth. Too many youngsters mean lack of experience and too many older players mean lack of new direction and dwindling fan interest. Moreover, there is no point in promoting mediocrity when it comes to selecting fresh players.
We have seen young spinners and all-rounders being introduced and backed though ... and the result is there for all to see. Be it the wrist-spin twins, Kuldeep and Chahal, or the charismatic all-rounder Hardik Pandya, they have given new direction and new energy to our team.
I hope that some talented youngsters are allowed to flourish in the batting, keeping and fast-bowling departments too. If they receive the same backing as the young spinners and all-rounders are getting, they will also do well . KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Vijay Shankar, Karun Nair, Md. Siraj, Basil Thampi, Avesh Khan, Kamlesh Nagarkoti etc. etc. are waiting.
It never was and and never is about choosing the top performers in domestic cricket or the well known names. It is always about spotting and backing the players who have the potential to achieve something extra at international level from now on.
Laaloo reacted to sandeep for an article, Can the IPL help save Sri Lankan Cricket?
The one-sided beat-down handed to SL by India and the passionate words of Andrew Fernando here, here, and here, shed some light on the current state of SL cricket. Question is, where do they go from here? How do they get more competitive? Do they? Given the unprecedented level of churn and chaos that cricket is undergoing right now, Franchise T20 cricket is forcing a re-drawing of international calendars, as well as forcing cricket boards to drastically change how their domestic cricket is structured, played, coached and governed. Sri Lankan Cricket will not have a popularity problem with the sport, unlike say England, Aus, NZ, SA. But they are almost destined to have a funding and talent issue, given their population base. It is no surprise that they have firmly allied themselves to the BCCI - its given them a funding lifeline without which things would have been even worse. Based on Fernando's reporting, it appears that the lifeline may have been wasted to some extent by profligate and corrupt administrators. A situation that's as sad as it is predictable. The question is, what can SL cricket do to stay competitive at the international level?
Cricket as we know it is changing. And changing rapidly. All countries and boards need to keep up with the modernization that has entered the game in this post-T20 world. Top teams need top dollars in order to compete with the best in the world, and they need to create and/or strengthen their domestic cricket structures to ensure that they have a steady pipeline of skilled players coming through. Boards need to work to provide their younger and developing players with platforms where they get to train and compete with and against the best possible circumstances - whether that's first-class cricket or Franchise T20 cricket. Opportunities to 'develop' prospects apprenticing in international cricket over bilateral series will continue to shrink.
I believe the answer is to double-down on its alliance with the BCCI. The time has come for a Columbo Franchise to join an expanded IPL. SLC already tried their hand at getting their own little franchise tournament going. It died as soon as the Indian money stopped flowing through the "Champions League" tap. They don't have the population numbers that the Bangladesh or Pakistan have to sustain their own league. Nor do they have deep pocketed fans who can make up the paucity in numbers that Australia or England do. Their best bet at acquiring and maintaining access for their unfinished talent to top-level franchise cricket is to partner with the BCCI, and a deep-pocketed Indian investor - let them get a piece of the profits, while extending the IPL's 7 domestic player rule to Sri Lankans for the Colombo Franchise. This will create a self-funded pipeline and finishing school for Sri Lanka's younger cricketers. 7 Sri Lankans starting for an IPL team, means a dozen or so Sri Lankans are guaranteed roster spots in the top T20 league in the world. Apart from the established stars that win contracts for the other teams. If they don't do this, the only Sri Lankans who will get a chance to participate in these overseas leagues will be the ones that are already on their way to international star status.
There are 2 immediate obstacles that stand in the way of this hypothetical scenario. First, This requires a bold and visionary attitude from SL cricket administrators, one that will set aside short-sighted provincial and nationalistic attitudes to recognize the long-term benefits to SL cricket. And second, it requires equally visionary and pro-active leadership on the Indian side - both within the "non-profit" quasi-governmental BCCI, as well as the private IPL Council.
From a BCCI perspective, adding the Colombo Islanders and the Dubai Stallions to the IPL makes complete financial and strategic sense. You enhance and extend the IPL's pole position as the planet's leading cricket T20 league, expand your playing calendar, increase your fan-base, your profits, and gain/strengthen long-term allies at the ICC voting table in the process. Geographic proximity and existing cricket infrastructure means the logistical challenges are minimal. There is ample precedent for this - Look at the most successful sports leagues in the world, and you'll see that the best ones already span national borders - whether its the NBA or MLB in America, for example. The NFL - widely considered to be the most profitable sports league in the US, is working hard to expand beyond its American footprint, and is investing heavily in building a platform that will ultimately lead to creating a Franchise in London. The NBA has been quietly doing the spade work to lay the foundation for spreading its reach into emerging markets like China and India. Unlike the NFL, The IPL doesn't even need to do the hard yards. All it needs to do, is say yes.