Cricket needs Reform!
BY Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Among all formats of cricket, played by bulk of former UK colonies, the Test cricket lacks credibility the most. These days a lot of cricketing is going on in all its three formats, a lot of black money is being pumped in by the vested interests to earn more while cash. Test cricket has become a mere joke as more and more matches are "drawn" by the teams as a routine matter, as a fun. It has been a practice that whenever there is some good cricketing in Test format, the paid commentators have an opportunity to praise the test as the best form of live cricket and, conversely, all other forms are irrelevant and farce. Same phenomenon happened when South Africa won against England emphatically on 17 Jan by an innings and 74 runs and leveled the series to 1-1 and retained the trophy. But the second the third tests the SA played not cricket but some mafia drama while the sponsored rains played havoc trying to cripple the SA bowling and bating.
Currently England and South Africa seems to be playing with the fate of cricket in South Africa and making a mockery of Test cricket, because Test has all lacunae and ailments not seen other sports. England won the Test-1, but managed to pull South Africa for a draw. When the third Test ended in a draw, it was argued in favor of England by the paid commentators, who wanted South Africa to lose for making adjustments on Test ranking points scale, that by playing too much brilliantly England saved yet another thriller, just like the Test -2. That is the usual gimmicks by the commentators to keep their masters in good humors or else they would lose their only job of gimmicks. What is interesting is in both Tests, South Africa had played well keeping good, tough target for the English boys to chase or fall. But on both occasions, it seemed England managed a draw- obviously with SA support.
Surprisingly though, in both Tests, England lost all wickets but the last one and an impression given to the sport world that South Africa has all of a sudden has been reduced to the beginners' level by the emerging England. It is usual media fiction. It is also funny that the SA bowlers could not get the last tail wicket for several overs in both Tests and what would happen in the final fourth third Test was anxiously awaited. That is pure high drama by the both former colonizer UK and former colony SA, now the acknowledged strategic partners in arms deals. It was a mutual understanding between the two, but they have fooled and cheated the spectators. Recently, Pakistan and Australia played two Tests and there was high drama towards the end.
The ongoing test series between South Africa and England is yet another proof of “adjustments” on the field by the teams on the suggestions from cricket mafia and Test has mischievous “draws” to obtain the desired results in cricket tests, testing the patience e of spectators and others, although the commentators and referees, umpires sports journalists etc, enjoy it on payment basis. Batsmen of SA play too well, while the bowlers played just fun with them by underplaying their own skills.
Mutual understating between the Teams or countries cannot be a surprise at all! But the way the South Africans were acting on the field making the spectators believe that they are having a tough time dealing with the last tail batsman. Even those who suffer from high temperature would like to have hearty laugh at the England-South African gimmicks. This is not SA/England specific, but a universal cricket phenomenon. Australians enjoy offering good runs to the tailenders after killing all other "big" batsmen for a few paltry runs even to zero one.
It would be better to scrap the Test cricket altogether so that cricketers do not get opportunity to receive or offer freely 100s/200s/300s. So far there is not cricketer of genius, no real blower/fielder of good standing- all have collapsed some time only to be picked up by the cricket mafias. But the Test offers them all the chances to pose themselves as great cricketers with help from the opponents. The greatest wicket taker has collapsed as the cheapest cricketer, unable to pick up even single wicket for so many waste overs. The world has seen even worse scenarios.
Awful draws cripple any genuine interest in cricket as such. Cricket matches by different teams at different venues are fixed with certain hidden agendas as win or lose or draw of one team is linked to another. Awful two innings only help the teams make a mockery of test cricket, as all sorts of “adjustments” are possible and applied in the second innings. The SA-England Test in South Africa vividly showcases that shame very clearly.
Either test cricket should be abandoned, or, it should be restricted to just one full innings. One full innings with 100 movers limit could restrict the cricket mafia’s too wide interferences and reduce the chances for ugly adjustments to bare minimum- after all, cricket does not allow honest matches in any manner. But that would even generate some keen enthusiasm among the viewers. Even with single full innings, none of the so-called “records” should be maintained.
Cricket is a team game, but individuals and their records, mostly fake ones, are placed above the team which marks the tragedy of cricket. So far only Twenty20 format is played by all teams to decide the championship and ranking. Similar step should be undertaken by cricket teams in other formats like Test and ODI to ensure acceptability. In order to bring in some sort of reliability to cricket and approval of the sport world it is suggested to arrange annual cricket meets in every format of the game and decide the rankings only according to the results of such general sport activity where all cricket teams across the world participate and fight for the title. This current practice of nasty "rolling ranking" by match fixings unleashed by those countries that have extra or stolen resources has no meaning and international standing. Some countries keep playing cricket and add points to their bogus credit. This is both immoral and illegal; such nefarious sport does not stand the scrutiny of sport world. Some credibility has to be earned for the cricket as sport played by several former British colonies.
Test or IDI or 20/20 size cricket or any other future format should not be for more than 3 matches which is enough to prove the worth of teams. It is better to play just one match to finalize the team caliber if any. However, the teams can have as many practice sessions before the series to settle down comfortably. Officially so many matches in a series is simply atrocious. It would be advised to the teams to declare their hidden agendas to the spectators so that they would concentrate on those extra aspects as well. For instance if teams decide to offer 200 each to select batsmen, as has been the practice secret, the views would enjoy that fight as well.
Until the annual (or once in two or three years) cricket meet is finalized, all matches must be restricted to just one match after sufficient practice by the teams concerned. One match can decide which team is better and would make the individual records for batsmen and bowlers and fielders (runs/wicket, catch, etc) irrelevant. Since cricket is team sport only team results are important and individual gimmicks only making the cricket game farce with all sorts of hidden agendas, hidden bets, etc., The states interfere in getting some of their favorites to get 100s/300s etc and even rains are invoked to disrupt the matches where the expected team is seen collapsing as it happens when India was falling “expectedly”.
One more point. As bowlers are restricted to maximum number of overs in ODIs, the batsmen also should be restricted in number of overs each should avail of. In IDIs not more than 08 overs should be fixed, and in test not more than 12 overs should be allowed. In other formats not more 12 per cent of the total number of overs should be permitted for each batsman. That would make some sense to cricket as a sport.
It appears the outcome of one set of teams is unnecessarily linked to the result of another team in another set of teams playing elsewhere. There has been an ugly phenomenon that Indians insisting on a win if Pakistan wins a match at the same time any where against any team. Here the cricket mafia appeses the Indians and play mischief to defeat Pakistan. The fate of ongoing Pak-Australia series is a case in point. This kind of joint connect operations has to end. India should also learn to lose if the opponents are better equipped and better poised for victory. India should cultivate the habit of appreciating good aspects seen in the opposite side as well. No adjustment on this account should be permissible. The referees and umpires should cut the hidden hands of cricket mafia on such secret deals.
There are draws in ODI or 20/20, but Test suffers from this menace. The fact remains mostly the Test cricket ends in draw or made to being about a draw” by them and cricket mafia. Test cricket is well and truly alive and this series has definitely captured everyone's imagination. The crowds have been excellent and so has the cricket. The fact remains Test cricket let the mafia and billionaires to mint more money directly and through "extras". The interconnection between the media and cricket (and other sports) is not entirely a secret fixation, but the media exerts influence and pressure on teams on behalf of the cricket mafias. It is said twenty20 has almost destroyed cricket. This assures that there wont be any smaller version of cricket like 15/15 or 10/10.
Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Specialist on State Terrorism
Independent Columnist in International Affairs, Research Scholar (JNU) & the only Indian to have gone through entire India, a fraud and terror nation in South Asia.