note of cricket's future dilemma
Sri Lanka's four day loss to New Zealand at the Basin Reserve has
opened Pandora's Box in cricket once again. Airing their concerns
about the relentless dominance of Australian cricket, have been
former Australian fast bowler Rodney Hogg, the much venerated former
Australian skipper Steve Waugh and the world's highest wicket taker
an article published in the Daily Telegraph, John Pierik writes:
"New Zealand's innings and 38-run win over a Sri Lanka side
-- albeit minus master spinner Muttiah Muralitharan -- at the Basin
Reserve in Wellington completing a 1-0 series victory, has prompted
last month Australia completed a six-week spanking of the Black
caps in their Test and one-day series". Adding to this Rodney
Hogg says: "Test cricket is not a sport at the moment. I don't
want to see Test matches over in three days. I don't want to see
blokes averaging 75 with the bat all the time. I want to see Australia
win but I want to see competition too".
article goes on " Australia's sustained dominance has sparked
concern about the welfare of the game, at least in the short to
medium term. From May 1995 the Australians have won 55 of their
76 tests while adding an extra 40 days holiday after romping to
early victories. Australia's dominance will probably end once Warne
and McGrath retire. Still whether serial disgraces of Zimbabwe and
Bangladesh will ever improve is not so certain".
Warne is of the view that the Test strata should be changed to two
tiers. He said: "Too many people are getting cheap wickets
and cheap runs. I think a two division is something that should
be thrown up and talked about. Otherwise I think it devalues the
ever consistent Steve Waugh was of a different view. He said: "
There is not a lot of value in it when you have eight or nine teams".
And he put it down to the dearth of talent at present in the rest
of the world. "There's some great batsmen around the world,
but at the moment bowling is thin. When I started in the mid-80's
the bowling depth was very strong and each team had at least two
or three strike bowlers. But with the exception of Australia and
England to some extent it's very thin".
the same time one has to ponder whether this is the real yard-stick
that they are using? During the post 1999 period Australia won one
series in Sri Lanka after Sri Lanka had committed hara-kiri by appointing
the wrong captain and converted a series that they could have won
into a 3-0 loss. In the preceding series they lost 1-0. Even in
India Australia were lucky to win their last series after the weather
gods were unkind to the home team when India had Aussies with their
backs to the wall in the rain affected second Test match.
is no question that at present Australia has a near perfect cricket
machine. At the same time, no country has ever been unconquerable
whilst playing away. Even Australia who have won 68 percent of their
home matches goes lower when it comes to away matches at 55.22%.
Sri Lanka on their part has only a 22.91% success rate whilst playing
out, but when playing at home they have improved it up to 56.66%.
This means, playing at home has its own advantages to any side.
get a local epilogue to this cricketing tangle Sunday Musings, sought
the assistance of former Sri Lanka leg spinner and a member of the
elite umpires unit Asoka de Silva. The former leg spinner attributed
this factor to the innovativeness and the boldness of the Australians
in experimenting with youth. He said "Australia has got into
a winning trend. However at the same time they are still experimenting
with their team. For instance, when they discovered the talent of
Michael Clarke they offered the opportunity which Michael Clarke
knowing that he was playing along with ten of the best cricketers
in the world had very little pressure on him and played to his true
with the English team I think Rod Marsh has done wonders. Now with
the advent of the likes of Steve Harmison, Flintoff, Strauss and
a few others they not only have brought in flexibility to the side
but they have also brought down the average age from over 30 to
under 28. They have not been afraid to infuse youth to the side.
A blend of youth and experience always gives a side a lot of confidence
for Sri Lanka we have been afraid to experiment. For instance, Thilan
Samaraweera could not find a permanent slot in the side even after
he had scored a couple of centuries. Other than Mahroof who are
the other young cricketers who have come in? Are we not keeping
a lot of guys in the periphery when they really have to be in the
factor is that unlike Australia, England and New Zealand, we here
in the sub continent play the game the year round. But, still our
fixtures keep on changing. For instance the proposed Indian tour
came up all of a sudden. But, for countries like Australia and England
they have a clear cut fixture calendar.
other anomaly that I like to point out is that while the West Indies,
South Africa, England and Australia play five Test series, the most
we get is a three test, two Test or a one-off tour. We have not
even played a four Test series so far. This also attributes to a
team's good performance".
the time of writing this piece Sunday Musings read about a warning
given by former BCCSL secretary Neil Perera about the timing of
the tour to New Zealand. He lamented that New Zealand was coming
in for their winter which is bitterly cold and our cricketers may
not be able to cope with chilly conditions whilst out on the field.
We wonder if there was any truth in what he said.