1. It’s all in the mind’s eye, says Aakash Chopra in the latest installment of his series on cricket from the pov of a player.
2. Peter Roebuck suggests that cricket, like every other sport, needs its majors to sustain audience interest — and if the Champions’ Trophy hasn’t filled that need, it is largely due to the disrespect shown by Australia and England. Tripling the points to be made by winning games at the CT and World Cup level is one interesting suggestion. I’d add one other: limit the field to the six top teams; eight clearly doesn’t fit Roebuck’s prescription of thrilling encounters and no dud games.
3. So the BCCI has realized that it cannot arbitrarily terminate existing contracts, and wisely come to a face-saving accommodation with the IMG [On his Twitter stream, Lalit Modi says the agreement is for the next eight years]. Per the revision, the IMG will be paid Rs 27 crore for its annual services for conducting the IPL, as against the IMG’ demand for Rs 33 crore. Lalit Modi on Twitter says the agreement with IMG is for the next eight years. The six crore downward revision satisfies the associations, which hope to get a slice of the money thus saved — what it leaves unresolved is the larger power struggle pitting Lalit Modi against N Srinivasan. Wait for the next manifestation, like boils on an ailing body. [Earlier IMG-related posts here, here, and here.]
4. An outstanding second part to the Younis Khan interview by Osman Samiuddin. On ODI reform:
We have already changed cricket so much, with Twenty20, super sixes in ODI tournaments, Powerplays in ODIs. If we make so many changes then will it stay the same game? It’s very easy now in a sense. You can decide and pick whether you want to play ODI, Test or Twenty20 cricket. You can get satisfaction from each format, so why the need to change so much?
Some changes, like umpiring referrals, they make sense. That works across the board, and is a good thing. But if you break up an ODI match into four innings, into little pieces, then you are changing the whole thing, it isn’t cricket anymore. It’s like playing American football or something, where you are taking time-outs and some such.
I think we need to promote Test cricket in its own sense, ODI in its own sense and Twenty20 in its own sense. You cannot try and make Tests like Twenty20s or ODIs like Tests. They are separate formats. Promote them equally and separately and appreciate them.
And on the downside of T20s:
In this sense, when I see youngsters today, whoever is preparing, they don’t ever say, “I am about to go and run five laps of the ground, or go for half an hour to the gym.” They say, “We only have to play a three-hour Twenty20 match; we only have to hit shots in that.” Every youngster is thinking this right now: it’s only a three-hour match, so you don’t need to train so much. You just need to hit the ball hard, win a match and take winnings. This is like life – everyone is going for the shortcut. But the shortcut will not always work in life; sometimes you need to work hard for things.
5. Incoming WICB chief Ernest Hilaire says the trick to arresting the meltdown of West Indies cricket lies in learning to work with the players’ association. Nice — but the proof of the pudding, etc. Every new boss WICB has had in recent times has kicked off with the suggestion that the board and the WIPA need to learn to co-exist; thus far, none of them has managed to walk that talk, so for now everything is in wait and watch mode. The first real indication of whether Hilaire can reverse the trend will come when the Windies team to tour Australia is announced; it will be full strength, promises the incoming chief, and that should delight Ricky Ponting, who has been expressing concern at the prospect of facing a scratch XI Down Under.