Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Who killed the golden goose?

Shahid Afridi can be heedless but he surely is not headless. The Mad Max of Pakistan cricket says he’s sick and tired of too many Indo-Pak encounters which, he feels, is killing the charm.

Indeed, a bilateral series involving two separated-at-birth nations had all the ingredients to outshine the biennial dull, drab Anglo-Australian mismatch called Ashes. It would have been the blockbuster, and Ashes the bagatelle… Oscar and the Manikchand Gutkha.

But unfortunately, someone, somewhere forgot to use discretion.

After the sluice gates were flung open in 2004, greedy administrators could not wait to split open the stomach of the golden goose and suddenly India were playing Pakistan in Mohali, Multan and Mombasa.

No wonder, mandarins at the ECB and Cricket Australia are sporting a smug smile as Ashes’ stature as the most celebrated rivalry remains unaltered.

Personally, I loath this pointless Australian ego-massaging exercise and feel the Gordon Brown government should immediately ban the farce for the next one decade if they don’t want to see Britain’s next generation crippled by an inferiority complex.

But at least they got the scheduling right.

Here, money-minting BCCI and crumb-seeking PCB just did not leave enough space for any build-up. There was simply no room for the action-thirsty fans to wait and yearn as one after another series was shoved down their throat.

No wonder, after gorging on it every other day, the Biryani does not excite your taste buds anymore.


Naked Cricket said...

afridi is sick of batting, gets off on getting out now; and being the last resort bowler. no pressure, no thought, that's afridi's game.

Straight Point said...

SOM, though i agree with you on this that overdose of india-pak matches are becoming tasteless but don't you think that its also coz of pak team is not what it used to be...

Homer said...

I agree with SP - if the quality of cricket was of a higher standard ( which in turd added to the spice of the contests), people would not have gotten bored of it all..

From 2003-2008, India and Pakistan have played 29 ODIS, with India winning 15 to Pakistan's 14.

Between 2006-2008, of the 13 matches played, India won 9 to Pakistan's 4.

And in the last 12 months, India and Pakistan have played 6 ODIs ( of which India won 4).

In the last 5 years, India and Pakistan have played 7 tests in total..

I think the over exposure bit comes because of the Twenty20 WC ( an ICC enterprise) and the IPL..


PS:- If anything, India and Australia have played more bilateral cricket in the same time frame ( 8 tests and 23 ODIs between 2003-2008)

And overall, between 2003-08, India has played 42 matches against Australia and 42 against Pakistan :)

Som said...

I think the USP of an Indo-Pak series lies in the emotional multitude surrounding it, not in the quality of cricket they dish out.
A defeat against say Australia would never hurt India/Pakistan the way it would if they lose to each other.
And it's qualitative superiority notwithstanding, an India-Australia series does not generate the same passion among the followers, even if you add Sree's drama, Sydneygate and other masalas to the mix.
So, unlike an Indo-Pak tie, an Indo-Australian series is never in risk of losing its charm because of a surfeit. But in case of an Indo-Pak series, it's already showing.

Q said...

I disagree.

No one would complain if the encounters were more closely matched as usually Pakistan vs India has been in the past.

The test series have been dull and boring because of the pitches that have been prepared in India and Pakistan. A few good ones here and there like Karachi and Mohali have made for exciting tests.

As for the ODIs, it would have helped if Pakistan was as strong as the 90s.

A match between Pak of the 90s and India of now - those would have been classics.

Its not the too much cricket between the 2. Its the too much dull cricket which is due to bad test pitches, weak pakistan team.

Straight Point said...

SOM...emotions are directly proportional to the heat of quality cricket...being played out there...

right now, as far as i am concerned, i feel more heat, emotions watching oz-ind match than with pak team...coz thats where the drama is at the moment...not coz of monkey gate but the way they compete without any inhibition...

Samir Chopra said...

Pitches. Give us good pitches.

Som said...

SP, same here. I too get excited more by an Indo-Aus tie than an Indo-Pak series, for its sheer quality and also the intensity. But the issue is Indo-Pak series had the potential to upstage anything, given the traditional rivalry they share, which wasn't fulfilled. of course Pakistan is no more the team it was but then England too are no match for the Aussies and still Ashes remains the most celebrated bi-lateral series! And that's only because of smart scheduling. Alas, we killed the golden goose.

Som said...

Samir welcome. You hit the nail on head, wish you could hammer it into the brain-dead administrators. Indeed, how on earth can you convince the boards that sub-standard pitches alone can kill cricket? With Test matches folding inside three days, places like Kanpur does not draw crowd anymore. Sad.

vmminerva said...

Nice write up, Som. However, I respectfully disagree on the passion of followers of India-Aus matches. You're right about the past, but at least the foreseeable couple of years will be a bit different. There was huge furore after Sydney-gate and the historic Perth win. There has also been this debate of whether Australia is the new Pakistan. They (Aus and Pak) aren't the same, and will never be, but if anything has gotten this close to India-Pak, it is Aus.

Wasim said...

I fully agree with Q,would like to add just one more point, I think our team can still compete with India only if we play with our full strength, last series we played in India, Pakistan was not at its full strength.Several bowlers were injured and the series became kind of one sided.

Wasim said...

Som,I loved the picture.

NC, I see a disturbing trend amongst Pak All rounders they just focus on their dominant skill and completely neglect the other.

Smetimes you have to grab the bull by the horn, Malik avoids bowling thats not the way you get back in form.

Afridi despite his inconsistencies
was still a useful bat down the order but since last year he is only focusing on the bowling,I hope he recovers his form with the bat soon.

Razzak's career prematurely ended because he never recognized his dominant skill, he was a better batsman than a bowler but he focused too much on bowling and completely neglected his batting in the last two years of his career.

Som said...

Wasim, did Afridi look any better ever?
I think you raised a very interesting point -- how potential all-rounders are focussing more on their dominant skill and ignoring the other.

scorpicity said...

superb my friend... couldn't agree more! super

Som said...

Scorpicity, thanx.

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