Please have mercy on our cricket!
By Dr Nauman Niaz
A nine wicket loss at Edgbaston wasnít really news to bring home. It is shameful to write on Pakistan team and also equally reprehensible to even discuss the probability that Butt is going to pull it up? He has destroyed everything on the plate and isnít still ready to straighten his fork? He hasnít been able to mask the ugliness of his regime, and his tenure has exposed the scars of defeatism. Even a temporary shroud hasnít been thrown over the depth of problems at the PCB and with Pakistan cricket. Why hasnít he resigned? Why hasnít he been sacked? Could the Pakistan team rebound from its painful start in England?

PCB: A merry-go-round of power
By Nabeel Hashmi
For the best part of the last decade, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has seen similar faces being appointed again and again who have quite diplomatically held on to their jobs knowing that if they raise their voice against the system, it will cost them their well-paid jobs.

Mourinhoís Real revolution
By Umaid Wasim
Summer has not been the same for Real Madrid this year. There has been little in terms of high-profile signings that have been the norm at the Bernabeu in the Fiorentino Perez era. Yet, they have been the focus of attention in the transfer market because of the shrewdness of a certain Jose Mourinho.

The red cherry disaster
By Aamir Bilal
With no regards to the dignity of the gentlemenís game, the shame of the PCB has now turned into rule of fascism. Cricket in the country is passing through the worst period of its time with nothing to rejoice. The sad episode of the Edgbaston Test was not different from that at Trent Bridge where England won the opening test with a margin of 354 runs.

The enduring charm of Test cricket
The five-day game is still compelling, but pitches need to be got right if the format is to thrive
By Peter Roebuck
Ajantha Mendisí plucky stand in Colombo proved a superb advertisement for the longer version of the game. Whereas 50-over cricket is one-dimensional, Test matches can swing back and forth in the most improbable manner and at the hands of the most unlikely players. But then, one-day cricket is an artifice, a game played in a compressed period, which dictates its tempo. Everything depends on the climax, a point Twenty20 has acknowledged by removing foreplay.

DRS: Is it the future?
By Abdul Ahad Farshori
The game of cricket has come to a position where it is an absolute test of skill and ability both on and off the field and not something you could dismiss as a game filling out the sports line-up. Ask any cricketer of the modern times and he will tell you that the gentlemanís game is now a much more competitive game in every aspect of it.

 

Please have mercy on our cricket!

By Dr Nauman Niaz

A nine wicket loss at Edgbaston wasnít really news to bring home. It is shameful to write on Pakistan team and also equally reprehensible to even discuss the probability that Butt is going to pull it up? He has destroyed everything on the plate and isnít still ready to straighten his fork? He hasnít been able to mask the ugliness of his regime, and his tenure has exposed the scars of defeatism. Even a temporary shroud hasnít been thrown over the depth of problems at the PCB and with Pakistan cricket. Why hasnít he resigned? Why hasnít he been sacked? Could the Pakistan team rebound from its painful start in England?

Even their unusual, overrated triumph against the lacklustre Australia at Headingley couldnít hide the fact that they are a troubled team, on the field and off. The fast approaching end shows that now their shakiness is nothing more than a characteristic regression, as some are starting to suspect, the potentially corrosive slinking into a whirl of disasters suggests that the government led by Ijaz Butt is absolutely and thoroughly ill-equipped to arrest. It is ironic and equally distasteful that the biggest cause of alarm for Pakistan cricket is Buttís continuation as Chairman of the PCB.

His presence is a stark reminder of the giant and growing fear of cricketís extinction in Pakistan and the team that is laboring under. The question is why? Butt hasnít been stopped, being thrifty on himself and his blue-eyed incapable army, without really investing in the real needs of the game and product development. Butt needs more sanity that he hasnít fulfilled the promise he showed when he was first installed almost two years ago. He is a disappointment and is due not just to his amazing lack of remorse or politically motivated longevity but also because he isnít ready to be permanently unseated? Thatís Pakistan cricketís greatest crises? It isnít the 350 run plus battering at Nottingham or a nine-wicket mauling at Edgbaston but Buttís incumbency is the greatest dilemma.

The reality check is that the national team shouldnít be competing at the top perhaps coming months will prove that worse happens to the team, the PCB and above all the already shredded national pride. The downward spiral will potentially lead to losing revenue through television rights? Who would really be interested to see a limping team led by a chaotically confused captain and administered by people needing sticks to walk? There is a ticking time bomb ahead of them?

Let me first state my biases, as one more cricket-crazy Pakistani, upfront. I am an unabashed critique of Ijaz Butt and the state of the game in the country and do not believe, for one moment, that it is ever going to be steadied if he is asked to continue even for the next two months or so. Mr. Butt has not only contributed but expedited the decline in the standards of Pakistan cricket and its management. Not on the financial front, though it is quite close, it has truly been subjected to hedonism brought on the square wheels due to lack of Buttís vision and the travesty of his lack of vision.

Realisation of the fact that it has to be reconstructed properly and thoroughly to produce more young talent in one year than the limping domestic cricket would normally do in five. He has also to fire the imagination of so many talented young cricketers by spreading the spoils much wider, to a pool of nearly a hundred, rather than just the twenty odd as presently. He has to bring about improvement in all aspects of Pakistan cricket, uninterrupted by the political influence, installing checks and balances and eruditely something that the entire battery of critiques acknowledges till another day.

The influx of money into first class cricket and re-routing it in a cycle with some seepage helping the grassroots to benefit should be the first priority. It has to be on a long-term scale, not just jitters and maskers; enough of them. The ridicule has to be absorbed and spectatorsí apathy has to be triggered back to life with well-defined and practicable economic stimulus with pretty effective trickle down. What could even be better, he has to rise to the occasion sedately, assuredly and compliantly to act as a welcome tonic at a time when Pakistan cricket is in the dumps and a terrific revival has to be surged.

Horrendously Dr Nasim Ashraf and largely Butt tried sweeping smugly the problems under the carpet and the same issues repeatedly came back to haunt the establishment and the texture of the Pakistan team, causing disarray in Pakistan cricket.

The failure was due always to the same cause-the inability to realise that the understanding of modernised philosophy of cricket management wasnít really a class question it was as simple as understanding the modernistic corporate deals, reverse methodology, biomechanics, kinesiology, the endurance development, sports psychology, and turning plans into reality, deeds into dexterity. Cricket diplomacy remained an alien and not only the geo-political situation but also his inability and imbecility, self-preserving, apathetic attitude further alienated Pakistan in the world.

Buttís majority of decisions, rather all of them lacked common-sense, preliminary work-up, consequential and situational radical decision-making was mostly absent, the repercussions were never contemplated, understood or assessed, as was to be expected, showed not the slightest understanding of this basic fact. Instead he delineated himself happy in the conviction of being the best. Three basics of good governance, providence, rationality and dialectic are all missing, presumably Butt even doesnít know what these fundamentals are about; I believe, a man with flair who could understand that all these denominators were similar types of metaphysical abstraction may well be required. Butt shows contempt to logic and criticism against him and the regime, considering that they are all bunglers in their philosophising and dialogue about the real state of the Pakistani game.

 

By Nabeel Hashmi

For the best part of the last decade, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has seen similar faces being appointed again and again who have quite diplomatically held on to their jobs knowing that if they raise their voice against the system, it will cost them their well-paid jobs.

This is one of the major reasons for the downfall of Pakistan cricket. Undue favours have been granted to similar pool of former cricketers, who have been reinstated time and again in different roles no matter whether they possess the required expertise or not. In addition to that, generosity by the previous and present chairmen in hiring their own friends and relatives has also cost cricket dearly.

Furthermore, the one-man show of Ijaz Butt has not helped either; causing concern amongst cricket lovers over where this sinking ship will end up?

Seemingly, the PCB chairman looks to have political support as well as such bullying was never seen with cricket greats being insulted and neglected in spite of being appointed on key posts.

Such has been his arrogance and ignorance that he has been unfazed by the media pressure on his pathetic handling of issues. Former legends Javed Miandad, Aamir Sohail and Abdul Qadir were brought in by the chairman to create a setup comprising of cricketers but they were not permitted to work independently which resulted in resignation of the blunt Aamir Sohail, who at that time was the director of National Cricket Academy (NCA) and Abdul Qadir, chief selector of Pakistan team. Miandad still remains in the board for his tactics of being tight-lipped and the only time he spoke out was on the exclusion of his beloved maternal nephew Faisal Iqbal.

Moreover, Yawar Saeed, a close friend of the chairman, was instrumental in the Younis Khan debacle.

Several chairmen have come and gone by but the board setup remains the same. They are people who have been holding on to their beloved seats by the skin of their teeth and it looks that they are here to stay in PCB till eternity. Members of the Rana family Mansoor Rana, Shafqat Rana, Wasim Bari, Mudassar Nazar, Haroon Rasheed, Aaqib Javed, Zakir Khan, Azhar Khan and Shafiq Papa have all failed miserably yet their jobs still remain intact. Wasim Bari, a former Pakistan wicket-keeper, has enjoyed almost all the posts in the board and only the honour of being the chairman eludes his profile.

Aaqib Javed, Mudassar Nazar and Haroon Rasheed have all found a new home in the NCA.

Haroon has been associated with the board for more than a decade and the only wise thing he did was recommending Shahid Afridi to the senior team while Mudassar is reaping rewards of being a close friend of the legendary Imran Khan. Aaqib looked very impressive in the beginning but his interest too has faded away of late.

Former Test bowler Jalaluddin told ĎThe News on Sundayí how he fell victim to the antiques of Ijaz Butt. "I am the most qualified coach in Pakistan and yet I have been ignored not only for coaching post but I have been overlooked to be a member of governing board as well in spite of getting almost all the votes required. I applied for the post of Director NCA and from no where Mudassar Nazar was given the responsibility without having the required qualification," he said.

"If this remains the pattern in which these sensitive matters will be handled then I would have to say that Ijaz Butt will take Pakistanís cricket into doldrums. It is the PCB; not a personal property and decisions should be made keeping aside egos and favouritism," he added.

Zakir Khan, who previously was Director Cricket Operations, was coordinating the security arrangements when the Sri Lankan team was attacked in Lahore which left several players injured. In an incident which signalled the end of International cricket in Pakistan, he was allowed to continue without any punishment.

The PCB is yet to create a proper domestic structure a work which should have been accomplished decades before. Shafiq Papa was given this responsibility quite a few years back and he is yet to decide a final structure. However, this has helped him in his contract extensions and lucrative packages.

As for the Rana brothers it looks as if their roles are prescribed in PCBís will and they are here to stay for life.

In spite all these mismanagements, wrongdoings and the manner in which the cricket is being dealt in Pakistan, there is no accountability. If we want Pakistan cricket to prosper we should appoint the right man for the right job and an open an inquiry team should be set up who can keep media updated with the affairs of the board so that the nation get aware of what is happening behind the scenes.

To cut expenses, the domestic staff is usually axed while on the other hand, people who are destroying cricket in the country are still being paid heavily.

Former chairman Naseem Ashraf may not have done wonders but he was optimistic regarding the future of cricket in Pakistan and for that purpose he increased the salaries and bonuses for players. The need of hour is to bring in former cricketers of real authority and character who want supremacy in cricket in Pakistan. They should be given a free hand in dealing the matters of the board to help cricket flourish in our country.

[email protected]

 

Mourinhoís Real revolution

By Umaid Wasim

Summer has not been the same for Real Madrid this year. There has been little in terms of high-profile signings that have been the norm at the Bernabeu in the Fiorentino Perez era. Yet, they have been the focus of attention in the transfer market because of the shrewdness of a certain Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese manager has been Realís biggest coup of the close-season and the arrival of Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho this week signalled a shift in Realís transfer policy. Carvalho, 32, who arrives on a two-year deal, follows German midfielder Sami Khedira, Argentine wing-wizard Angel Di Maria and a Spanish duo of Sergio Canales and Pedro Leon in coming to the club this summer ó a huge difference from last season when the club spent some 250 million euros on new signings including those of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema.

But it has been the arrival of the ĎSpecial Oneí which has played the biggest part in Realís change of approach towards the transfer window. Carvalhoís transfer went through quietly; Khedira wasnít even given an unveiling.

Instead of Realís usual transfers done under the media glare, Carvalho wasnít even talked about before the club had completed the deal with Chelsea. Khedira, Germanyís biggest superstar at the World Cup wasnít even showed off to the fans on his arrival from Stuttgart. A paradigm shift in Realís philosophy probably? Or is it the dawn of the Mourinho era?

For starters, Jose Mourinho is not at Real Madrid just to win them titles. He is there to instill in the players his philosophy, his style of play and leave behind his legacy.

The major attraction this season is the coming together of the best manager in the world and arguably one of the best players in the world ó Mourinho and Ronaldo.

Both fellow countrymen and both have enjoyed great successes over the last few years. Their paths have crossed during that time in some intensive clashes, especially the oneís involving Joseís Chelsea and Cristianoís Manchester United, the respect has always been there. And the best part is that they are now at the same club ó a match made in heaven!

Mourinhoís arrival saw Real legends Raul and Jose Maria Guti leaving the club but the arrival of Carvalho might just raise a few questions. Almost the same age as the former Real duo, the question is whether he would be able to deliver for the Spanish giants.

Carvalho is still is one of the best defenders in the world but the fact that Mourinho has brought him for a two-year deal suggests that he is a short-term solution to Realís backline. Similarly, there is still debate on how Sami Khedira would be utilised at Real. Di Maria, who wasnít all that great at the World Cup, too seems to be a gamble. But Mourinho usually knows what he wants. He has brought in players who may not be all that flashy but those who have a very good work-rate; players he can mould into his style of play.

He did that at Porto, then Chelsea and finally Inter Milan before landing at Real. For those who still doubt his capability to turn things around, he did make an ageing Lucio the best defender in Europe last season, he made the best use of Michael Essienís versatility and he made Porto win the Champions League title in 2004 courtesy of wingers like Carlos Alberto and Dmitri Alenichev ó both who scored in the final.

The red cherry disaster

By Aamir Bilal

With no regards to the dignity of the gentlemenís game, the shame of the PCB has now turned into rule of fascism. Cricket in the country is passing through the worst period of its time with nothing to rejoice. The sad episode of the Edgbaston Test was not different from that at Trent Bridge where England won the opening test with a margin of 354 runs.

The only consolation in the second Test was a gutsy 88 by Zulqarnain Haider who tried to make amends of three dropped catches behind the stumps. Saeed Ajmal with his haul of five wickets and 50 runs in second innings provided some moments of relief to the worrying Pakistani viewers back home.

When Pakistan were reduced to 37 for 6 after winning the toss on the opening day of Edgbaston test, the writing was on the wall. Sir Ian Botham the great British exponent of swing bowling remarked that, "there is a devil in the Red Cherry and Pakistani batsmen have once again shown their inability to negotiate the moving duke ball in English conditions". This was true to a good extent as the green flag-bearers looked like a bunch of school kids in front of English pacemen and ordinary spin of Graeme Swann.

All around the cricket world the game is played with three major types of cricket balls. Kookaburra with a low seam is ideal for 20 over game and Pakistani and Indian batsmen love to score tons with Kookaburra on the straight and placid wickets of sub-continent. The other two are Duke and SG Cricket balls with a pronounced a seam that has a better grip and favours the bowlers. The duke ball is used in Pakistanís domestic cricket as well and our batsmen and bowlers are quite familiar with this brand. The difference lies with the English pitches which are soft and moist and the Duke Ball popularly known as "Red Cherry" grips and moves off the wicket a bit more than usual.

I am sure that Pakistan cricket team must have carried out necessary preparations to negotiate the devilish cherry in English conditions before embarking on this vital tour or perhaps the barren wickets of Lahore cricket academy were not good enough to provide the much needed practice to our batsmen who have poor footwork and faulty batting technique to survive on green tops.

This reminds me of Pakistanís team cricket camp in Abbottabad in 2006-07, where the team became a "captive audience" in physical training school Kakul and used to have training sessions in the lush green Abbottabad cricket ground, where conditions were identical to New Zealand, before embarking on the T20 world championship. Away from the politics of Lahore and Karachi, Abbottabad provided necessary atmosphere and conditions for the team members, where they gelled into a fighting combination and the Pakistan team reached the finals of T20 World cup.

Agreed that Abbottabad does not offer state of the art facilities like Gadaffi Stadium or Pakistan Cricket academy, but summer training camps around the world are never ideally administered, yet they pay rich dividends in terms of necessary training and required output. Converting Abbottabad in to PCB summer camp is a long awaited issue. Gen Tauqir Zia and Dr Nasim Ashraf had their plans of taking Abbottabad Division Cricket ground in the folds of PCB, but could not materialise it due to domestic "cricket politics", and other administrative issues.

The Duke Ball has done its damage and Pakistan is now 2-0 down in the four Test series. There is no doubt that the Pakistan team is young and inexperienced, both interim of players as well as leadership that requires time to mature and needs constant support and professional handling. The outcome of two Tests, however, clearly shows that the red cherry has struck in the minds of our batsmen and slipped from the hands of the fielders.

I am of the opinion that if Pakistan Cricket wants to emerge as a strong opponent for the well-prepared international teams, then a serious and full-time effort is required to build the mental side of our players.

The performance of our team in England shows that beside faulty technique the team is also suffering from a serious "mental slump".

I know that the need of mental training and sport psychology is a far cry for TA/DA oriented PCB, however thanks to the cricket authorities for sending Malang the masseur to England who to some extend understands the physical problems of our players and this would help the team in attaining the necessary relaxation of body and mind before the start of third Test match.

The PCB high-ups should remember that mental training is an educational process that should form the integral part of PCB academy training regime.

No doubt that our team has shown a disastrous performance, but the cherry is more in the brain than on the cricket pitch. Novice Zulqarnain has shown the relatively experienced batsmen the way out by showing positive mental attitude and better footwork.

Irrespective of PCBís disastrous policies, the young guns will have to put their heads and acts together under the novice leadership to lend Pakistan cricket some respectability and prove the critics wrong by staging a come back in rest of the Test matches in England.

Aamir Bilal is a qualified coach

[email protected]

 

The enduring charm of Test cricket

The five-day game is still compelling, but pitches need to be got right if the format is to thrive

By Peter Roebuck

Ajantha Mendisí plucky stand in Colombo proved a superb advertisement for the longer version of the game. Whereas 50-over cricket is one-dimensional, Test matches can swing back and forth in the most improbable manner and at the hands of the most unlikely players. But then, one-day cricket is an artifice, a game played in a compressed period, which dictates its tempo. Everything depends on the climax, a point Twenty20 has acknowledged by removing foreplay.

Mendisí attempt to revive his team when all seemed lost for the Lankans reminded observers of the great fightbacks of Test cricket, the stubborn partnerships to save a match, the audacious assaults that turned a contest upon its head. Not the least attraction of the genre is that all 11 batsmen can contribute to the utmost of their ability.

In 50-over matches the main sound is the ticking of the clock; in Test cricket it is the beating of the heart.

Of course the tweaker did not act alone. Indeed it is unusual for two tailenders to rally a side; the odds are stacked against such a turn of events. More often these partnerships include a top-order operator whose innings is already well underway and a tenacious lower-order man prepared to hold up his end or else fling his bat about with the judiciousness intermittently displayed by these unconsidered types. As befits a competitor of his ilk, Mendis chose the latter course, and by dint of various clouts and canny carves surpassed his previous highest tally nearly threefold.

Thilan Samaraweera continued batting in his no-nonsense manner. Of course it is wonderful that he is able to play. He might not have survived that horrifying attack on the Sri Lankan bus. Incredibly he returned last season and batted better than even his mother thought possible. Now he laid about himself with spirit. It was magnificent.

But India were not to be denied and VVS Laxman and chums produced the calm batting needed to square the series. Australians have always had a high opinion of Laxman, and they are usually right. Tight situations and tough opponents have always brought out the best in him because they stop his fretting so much. Worried, he resembles a grandmother darning socks. Released, he becomes a cavalier charging the enemy line.

Bear in mind that these days Laxman only plays in the Test team.

Running between wickets and outfielding cannot be counted amongst his strengths. But then Rolls Royces are not suited to sharp corners either. Itís another reason to cherish the longer format. Five Laxman innings linger in the mind ó two in Sydney, another in Mumbai, a fourth in Kolkata, and this effort in Colombo. Now try to recall as many uplifting 50-over innings from the entire population.

Meanwhile, in England another series was unfolding. Watching Mohammad Asif bowling is another cricketing pleasure. He does not send down a mere delivery; he puts together overs and spells. In that regard he resembles Glenn McGrath, a subtle and beautiful bowler capable of turning maidens into exciting productions. Cricket ought not to neglect its defensive skills; it is a craft as well as an entertainment. Flamboyant players attract all the attention, but as often as not, precise performers like Asif and McGrath provide as much satisfaction and better results.

Asifís ability to wobble the ball about and his gift for trapping the unwary set him apart. If his comrades could catch as well even as the Ancient Mariner or bat with the competence expected in this company, he might have taken a stack of wickets. Instead he scowled like Fred Trueman and bowled like Brian Statham.

Nor was Asif the only splendid leather-flinger on display. Jimmy Anderson swung the ball around superbly, making it duck and weave like a pursued bird. Swing and wrist-spin are the two most attractive forms of bowling because they invite the batsmen to come forward to play their attacking strokes, and then seek to take an edge. Whether Anderson can curl the Kookaburra as much or as late as the Duke remains to be seen. Suffice to say he has a better chance than anyone else of so doing. And the good Ďuns can make do with a little.

Both series have produced compelling exchanges. Admittedly the Pakistanis were outclassed due to abysmal batting and catching. That can happen. Cricket only has a few strong nations and most of them exist on a knifeís edge. Peace may eventually come to cricket. Harmony might one day be achieved. But itíll take leadership of the calibre provided by Gandhi, Mandela and, hopefully, Obama before such a day can dawn. Meanwhile the game can only stagger along, trying to retain

its established crops and seeking to till new fields.

But the cricket was as interesting as the pitches. Part of the

attraction of shorter matches is that they can succeed regardless of the surface. Provided they are close enough for long enough, low-scoring and high-scoring games are equally exciting. Whether bat or ball is in the ascendancy or a balance has been struck hardly matters. Test cricket enjoys no such license. Few things in sport are drearier than watching batsmen collecting runs on featherbeds. Cricket is not merely a battle between opposing forces, it is a struggle between bat and ball or it is nothing. Gulfs between sides are unavoidable but cricket is duty-bound to produce the sort of tracks likely to promote a tussle. Itís not rocket science. And anyhow they

put a man on the moon 40 years ago. If the pitches are insipid, the cricket will be the same, and the best-loved and least-liked form of the game might as well pack its bags.

All the more reason to praise Duke balls and bouncy pitches. Even the remaining rump of royalists will agree that England has not always been well served by its dukes, but this one is a ripper. Firm pitches that encourage aggressive bowling and field placements are crucial.

Moreover it is better to err on the side of the bowlers. A Test match can last five days but it is not compulsory.

Putting pressure on groundsmen to roll the guts out of the surface so that the match goes the distance has done more harm than good. By now television executives ought to realise that. Far better to give the pace bowlers a chance on the first morning and the spinners later in proceedings, with the batsmen able to dominate the middle days so long as they are good enough.

It can be done. Indeed it has been done in Sri Lanka and England in the last fortnight. Indeed English tracks have improved considerably in the last few years, and in terms of pace, in comparison with their antipodean counterparts. Certainly it could be caused by global warming but it might also be due to applied intelligence. Obviously pitch preparation is a hazardous operation. Self-interest is another factor. No one bothered to water or cover the Oval pitch for the deciding Ashes Test in 2009. The main objection to that strategy was the pretence that it had been a fluke. Home cooking ought not to be taken too far. Supposing England had been ahead. Might not a batting paradise have been laid out?

Lifeless pitches are a blight on the game. Far from bringing out the best in batsmen and bowlers, they flatter the former and render the latter well-nigh redundant. Worse, they dull the wits and thereby restrict the development of the game. Not the least problem faced by cricket in the Caribbean has been the slow nature of the pitches.

Years ago a Sydney club sought advice on how to revive its flagging fortunes. All sorts of remedies were proposed and then one sage recommended cutting the outfield as "everything else will take care of itself". He was right. Suddenly the ball could be hit on the ground and proper cricket could be played. Morale soared, youngsters signed up and the club prospered.

Nothing gives a better indication of the state of mind of a cricket community than its grounds, and especially its pitches. Other games have worked hard to improve playing conditions. Premier League football is no longer played on muddy fields (or with heavy balls). Immeasurably to its advantage, hockey at the highest level is played on artificial surfaces. No other game depends as little on the outfield and as much on its pitch as does cricket. All the more reason

to get them right.

Of course dreary decks are not Test cricketís only headache. But as Anderson and Graeme Swann and Asif and Laxman and Samaraweera and Mendis have shown in the last few days, given half a chance the five-day game can still capture the imagination. Just that it needs to put its best foot forwards. óCricinfo

 

DRS: Is it the future?

By Abdul Ahad Farshori

The game of cricket has come to a position where it is an absolute test of skill and ability both on and off the field and not something you could dismiss as a game filling out the sports line-up. Ask any cricketer of the modern times and he will tell you that the gentlemanís game is now a much more competitive game in every aspect of it.

To start with, the batting has gone in to a new level ó there is a new shot coming every few months. Nonetheless, the bats used today are so different to what we had seen in the booming days of the game. The bowlers are far more skilled and definitely faster, willing to get more and more tricks up their sleeves. The fielding levels too have also improved immensely.

In that scenario, the success of a cricketerís career would naturally depend on his performance and as the players have progressed, the game itself has tried to minimise errors it has encountered over the years and live up to the modern times.

Umpiring mistakes arenít uncommon and this is an open secret but they have been around for ages, one may call it human error. But some of them were considered to be genuine the others were thought to be deliberate and generally favouring the home team.

Hence the Third Umpireís concept was developed. In the same chain of developments the ICC then expanded on it further and after much deliberation the DRS or the Decision Review System was born. And the world hailed it and cricketers breathed a sigh of relief to the fact that finally an opportunity of minimising mistakes was in place.

Well when there are too many people associated with it they are bound to think differently and so was the case with this new technology! Some said that the very character of the game could be lost and also very soon we may not have on field umpires with the players appealing to somebody sitting off the field in a comfortable air-conditioned box, who would decide after looking at a few TV replays. Such possibilities still do exist and it could be the case eventually.

But reading the views of the some current playerís as well as the international umpires, one must concede that the DRS is universally accepted amongst them and they would wish to see it being continued come what may. If thatís how much the system is in demand what could be the logic in not using it in every series?

It is up to the countries contesting the series to mutually decide either to use the system or not. They must also bear the cost of running the system during the series.

But what does the regulation say? It is said that if either country is opposed to implement the system in a series then it canít be used.

The regulation confirms the ICCís stand in certain issues which is that, they are akin to a toothless tiger when it comes to certain boards! And the very fact that the ICC has left the decision in the hands of the two teams on using the system or not is a confirmation of it. And this is exactly what took place during the current series!

It is also known that the matter was discussed at ICC meetings at length and all countries with the exception of India had agreed to have it.

It all boils down to the same question, being asked a lot lately, whether the ICC is controlled by one nation or the committee in place to run it. And is it India that is having all this power?

For one there is no hiding the fact that India is the most sought-after team and the one that could give you the most revenue from TV rights and sponsorship deals. That is no doubt a huge positive factor for the overall benefit of cricket, but the question that begs an answer is can that be the bargaining chip of India to veto anything and everything they donít accept?

Well maybe it is high time that the authorities running cricket at the world stage which is the ICC put their foot down and stick to the principals and policies which have been agreed upon to implement after much research and thought. Or otherwise cricket will pay the price and stifle its advancement at the whims and fancies of just one nation.

Although the DRS has got a green signal for Australiaís tour of India in spite of the opposition of the BCCI, the Indian future of the game is still uncertain.

The attitude and the stubbornness of one country has deprived the world of a system which is a step ahead in the development of the game and which is preferred by both the players and the umpires.

And if you seek the opinion of the general people (fans) they are comfortable with it and in most peopleís opinion it is the way to go forward.

The ball is definitely in the court of the ICC. Are they going to take the lead here and play it by the laid down rule or will they merely be distracted by the potential India has for them financially?



Home
|Daily Jang|The News|Sales & Advt|Contact Us|


BACK ISSUES