The league of ordinary gentlemen

So as I write this, New Zealand is saying it will not host Pakistan later this year if the spot fixing charges haven’t been probed, and guilt or innocence established, in the interim.

And that’s not a bad thing: it is not in the interests of the game for this thing to drag on endlessly, with the usual posturing on all sides and no resolution in sight. Ian Chappell might, prima facie, seem to be advocating too hard a line here, but I agree with him on this one.

Fixing is not a Pakistan problem; it has the power to bring the game to its knees.

Cricket has already missed a golden opportunity to send a strong message to crooks, players and administrators. Pakistan should’ve been suspended from competition the moment the Lord’s Test was completed.

“Can’t do it,” you say, “it’ll ruin the game.”

Well, if fixing isn’t eradicated then there’ll be no game of any consequence to ruin.

Apropos, some four days into the Champions’ League, I am yet to catch a single game [The US Open has been feeding my need for a sports fix and last evening, I even found myself watching a replay of a Serie A game between Inter and Udinese while the CL was on, on another channel].

The likes of Harsha Bhogle and Peter Roebuck have waxed optimistic about the CL; for once, though, I am unable to share that sense of optimism. Harsha makes the point about CL/IPL confronting us with new choices, new loyalties, a whole new mindset. In my case, I suspect that is not the problem, though — the real problem lies with the format itself.

T20 is fun — but there is just so much of popcorn, no matter how well flavored, that you can ingest before you tire of it. And my problem with the T20 tournaments is just that: there’s too much of it, and I’m tired. We had the IPL. We had a T20 WC. Now we have the CL. In between, we have had absolutely no meaningful cricket at all [that nonsensical tour in Sri Lanka doesn’t count; Pakistan versus England was compelling until NOTW came along and shattered our few remaining illusions].

It’s context that I miss; that and a sense of history, a back story that frames a cricket contest. Which is why I am waiting for the Aussies to land here later this month — the schedule may not be the most optimal, with a couple of Tests being shoe-horned into what was originally a 7-ODI affair, but what the hell: it is India versus Australia in Tests. Can’t wait for it to begin — and in the meantime, I’ll pass on this latest T20 tamasha.

How about you guys? How many of you are watching? And how involved are you in these games? I’d really like to know.

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139 thoughts on “The league of ordinary gentlemen

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