Wednesday, 14 March 2012

3 things about Indian cricket

Cricket is a game played actively by 22 players, and passively by a billion.

For every action on the field of play, there is sustained reaction off it: we marvel, we debate, discuss, argue, dissect every nuance in real time, and it is this ongoing debate that underpins the excitement we feel for the game.

To memorialize that spirit of engagement, Yahoo! Cricket begins a month-long survey of the cricket fan's mind and heart. Each day, we ask a question; we collate your answers and present them — consider it a serial peoples' choice — the next day with our own comments and opinion.

Join the debate, drive the argument.


question: If you had the power to change three things about Indian cricket, what would they be and why?


1 — One of our pet themes: improve the quality of domestic cricket, especially Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy. Put four-day/Test cricket at the forefront of cricketing pursuits; recognise that Twenty20 cricket is great for entertainment more than anything else. Set right the feeder-line of cricket coaching camps and academies. India is capable of producing world-class cricketers by the thousands.

2 — Bringing a semblance of professionalism at all levels. Every party concerned with Indian cricket must have clear targets, for which he or she should be accountable. Honorary positions are passé. Get paid professionals and hold them responsible for their deliverables.

3 — Demystify the selection process; make skill, form and fitness the top reasons for selection. Get over zonal politics and the Rahul Sharma Syndrome. Keep selection simple. A player's reputation matters little if he is out of form.
 Many of you raised the same concerns, so for the sake of avoiding repetitions, we'll mention the most broadly-held views.

1 — Curb the IPL and T20 cricket in general. (Some of you want the IPL banned — that's too extreme, we think). Shorten it from the 54-day monstrosity that is is. Seriously — 54 days? This is overkill, and then some. Even the London Olympics will last 16 days!

2 — Improve the domestic structure. (Refer to our answer above).

3 — Get sporting pitches, particularly quick ones. Our view: the idea should be to have a wide array of pitch types, not just fast ones. It's no crime having turning pitches. India's hot weather lends itself to dry wickets.

4 — Pay players (and administrators) according to performance. Our view: national players and those on the fringes receive graded contracts, meaning the best players get the best pay. Incentivizing individual brilliance isn't necessarily a good idea. Cricket is a team game. Imagine a situation where the team wants Player X to take risks and score quickly, but X would rather play safe and score in singles to build a large score so that he could get his reward. Not done.

But consider having clear, achievable, challenging goals for everyone — players and administrators alike. Not delivering on them should have consequences.

5 — Transparency in selection. 


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