Friday, July 11, 2008

Professionals or Amateurs

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the captain of Indian Cricket Team in ODIs and Twenty20 was recently in the epicenter of mini-controversy about the amount of cricket being played. He was snubbed by the BCCI albeit politely. But is he right?

Dhoni never complained of tiring on field when playing in the IPL, though he did complained of tight schedule. Remember Sachin Tendulkar and S. Sreeshanth who played all the matches in the so called ‘business end’ of the tournament but just after that were declared unfit for the Bangladesh tri-series and the Asia Cup. It is too naive to believe that the injury surfaced just after the IPL. Sachin Tendulkar did not play in the first leg of the IPL and his comeback and then opting out of these two ODI tournaments is clearly denying his service to his nation because of his franchisee. These cricketers were so passionate playing for their franchisee that it seemed they never played for India. Yes, you are right. I am referring to the Sreeshanth-Harbhajan slapgate and the Mumbai-Punjab match when after the match Yuvraj had to remind the crowd that some of the Punjab boys also played for India. Such was the hostility.

Agreed that players like all of us have right to make money but should it come at cost of their nation. The fielding standards have been appalling in this Asia Cup. Even the best of Indian fielders have looked jaded. Ishant Sharma and Pravin Kumar matched Munaf’s standard in fielding. There is no limit to how much money you can or want to earn but indiscriminate money minting is should not be allowed esp. in India. We all know some of the best football is witnessed in EPL but see the performance of English team. Those who think the IPL has given confidence and new stars please wait. We have not seen enough of these ‘stars’ in international cricket till now. Yusuf Pathan has not proved himself yet even on the flattest of the pitches in the world. Piyush Chawla was taken to cleaners by Younis Khan, who I believe is ultimate test for any spinner. So although Chawla has looked good against weaker oppositions he was decimated by Salman, Younis and Misbah.

No Indian player could top either the bowling or batting chart in the IPL although we are current champions in T20. I still believe that only those players will succeed who have proved themselves in the domestic circuit. Suresh Raina was pretty successful this season and he is belting runs in the Asia Cup also. At least he has proved himself on flat pitches.

If we have to become world beaters as the West Indies were and the Australia are, we need top-class Test players. We won T20 World Cup though we had the least experience in it. We need T20 only to finance Test Cricket. A true cricket lover would always enjoy Test matches. We need to develop players who can play longer version of the game and are world class. We need professionals who can stand tall like Mcgrath, Holding and Marshall and the spinners like Warne, Murali or Kumble. We had two of the best Test batsmen in Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid during 90’s and this decade. We need more such batsmen. We need professionals in Test matches, leave T20 to amateurs and forget ODIs. Why not hold Asia Cup in T20 format?