Friday, July 03, 2009

ICC Chief calls for his own assassination

Well, not literally, but he might as well have done. The ICC president's, David Morgan, call for four-day test matches has provided further evidence of the incompetence of our sport's leading body.

This latest rant coming out of London has done much to make one believe that the loonies in the ICC need to be purged, and for the organisation to start from square one. If the issue here is that crowds aren't gathering to the five-day format currently in place, what does Morgan believe removing one day will change? He might as well remove all forms of the game barring T20s.

I can see evidence that could possibly support the ICC's case. Crowd statistics in several test series have been worth concern: England v/s West Indies, New Zealand v/s Anyone (except India). But the common denominator in these cases is that the cricket being played is boring. With New Zealand it is impossible to tell whether they will get past three days, as has been evident in recent series with Australia. As for the West Indies, well we all know what their captain's thoughts are regarding this format of the game. And we haven't even discussed the role the minnows will play if this idea were to become a reality. These issues only go further to highlight the fact that the problem isn't in the format, but the loss of inspiration and a certain level of incompetency of some nations when it comes to the purist form of cricket.

This problem doesn't exist when India, Australia, South Africa or Sri Lanka play. Why? I would suggest that it is a case of greater enjoyment and understanding of what the game has to offer. When one does watch one a test series involving these teams, at no stage does one get the feeling that the match let alone the series will peter out to a no result. That is why the people flock through the gates in their numbers to watch the spectacle they put on for the whole test match. It is this passion and conviction which has made test cricket so beautiful since the MCC has been the guardian of since 1787. If so-called professionalism requires the fundamental organ of our sport to be dismantled piece-by-piece, we have a serious problem. What has stood strong for this length period can surely not be subjugated to this type of measure to ensure the future of our sport. This is not the way.

The majority of stakeholders in cricket have opted to remain mostly silent on the matter, waiting for developments before making any substantive statements. The most public outcry has come from former Pakistani captain, Javed Miandad. Miandad believes "there will be no difference among mediocre (teams) and an experienced side if we see four-day test matches." Miandad's theory holds much truth. For instance, how many times have we seen Sehwag and Gambhir bat India through two full sessions, leaving the middle order to score a monumental total by the end of the a second day's play. Then how can Chief Morgan even envisage the possibility of obtaining a result from the match.

I will wait in hope that sanity prevails in this matter, and the real issues surrounding test cricket, some of which I have highlighted in this article, are solved. And on the matter of the ineptitude of the ICC, though assassination may not be the best policy, a clean slate with a fresh board is well overdue.

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