Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PASSIONATE CRICKET AND CHAMPIONS TROPHY


Dear (s)
The 2007 edition of the World Cup was a disaster – not only because India crashed out in the initial rounds itself losing to Bangladesh but because of the tournament lasting beyond comprehension with sarcastic comments that it could be running in Caribbean somewhere still. Subsequently there have been glittering T20 WC and IPL which have sparkled comments on the epitaph of One dayers being written around.
One Day Internationals started on a experimental basis in 1971 when a Test match could not be completed and in 1974 India tested it for the first time at England surrendering abjectly. More humiliation was to follow in 1975 when Sunil Manohar Gavaskar carried his bat through the entire 60 overs chasing a mammoth 338 and ending up with an unbeaten 36.
Cricket to those days was lot different and lot bitter to Indian fans – not many wins and no single century to boot till the epic 175 not out of Kapil Dev in the WC 1983 against the Zimbabweans. The wheel has come a great circle – when Sachin scored his 44th ton in the Compaq cup. In the first decade there was only one Indian with a century and then came some from the bats of Srikkanth, Shastri, Mohinder, Manoj Prabhakar &………. Now we have Sachin at the zenith with 44 much more than that of Zimbabwe (36) and Bangladesh (15). India leads with 163, Oz have 146, Pakis 141, WI 130, Lankans 98, England 90 and Proteas 85. How interesting !!!!!!
Cricket lovers are on the anvil to another major 50 over tournament at South Africa – 8 nations vying for top honours – with some run up of people trying to write off the 50 over version and making so many suggestions virtually tampering with all tenets that had existed all along. It would be surprising to know that Champions Trophy which started with a different purpose has survived six editions. It has generated money all along and had also spread the game. The first editions were staged in Bangladesh which was not even a test nation then and then at Kenya !! – a wild life safari. The 2002 tournament did not even produce a final verdict and the 2006 one was uncomfortably closer to the World Cup. There were qualifying phases prior to the earlier versions. This time the format appears sharper and keen tussle with only 8 in two groups : India, Pak, WI & Aussie on one side; Kiwi, Eng, SA & Lankans on the other. Two from each half will quality and two will get eliminated. The setting looks ideal on a place where bowlers, especially spinners showed their wares in the IPL. Crowds are expected to be good. For the good of the cricket, some forlorn due to their ties with ICL are also back – mainly Shane Bond.

Test Cricket is for the purists and One days with room for innovations and adjustments should survive. The tournament got off to a nice start with our IPL star Tilakaretne Dilshan scoring a fine century and placing Lankans with a score close to 320. The belligerent player in opener’s role scored 106 off 92 showing glimpses of his hand-eye coordination and his ability to pick the length early. It was also an exhibition of bowler being able to come back in this format after being torn apart early – Wayne Parnell being the example. In a rain curtailed match, which generally gives some extra impetus to the chasers, South Africans were all at sea against Malinga and Mendis – unable to read the mystery spinner.
An interesting tournament is ahead. Watch them. I have plunged into blogging with some test. Request your feedback on the article and on the blog.

With regards
S Sampathkumar.

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