With two numbers performed live by Bryan Adams, and a very low quality theme song, the world cup was inaugurated at Dhaka on 18th Feb. 2011. The very first match between the co-hosts, India and Bangladesh, gave a very fair idea of how the world cup will turn out to be. Far away from the lush green outfields, and the grassy pitches of Australia, England or South Africa, the dust bowls of the Indian subcontinent(including India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) are the venues for all the matched of this edition. It will be a little surprise that the matched will be high scoring ones, with very little for the bowler. Sehwag and Kohli, affirmed this belief on saturday.
It is said that the there were huge revenue losses in the previous edition of the world cup due to the early exit of India. Now, India is considered as one of the major revenue generating country for the cricketing world, and the disqualification of their home team(due to their poor performance) would be enough reason for loss of revenue. The organisers wanted to be double sure that this doesn’t happen again. India has to stay in the game till the very end, so what do we do? Make sure that the pitches are batsman friendly, given that India has one of the strongest batting line up, and conversely, one of the weakest bowling lineup. The pitches will be one of the most favorable thing for the India team in the Indian subcontinent, and captains will be heard complaining that the bowlers were not up to the mark, after each match.
The only thing against India might be the Duckworth Lewis system, which has never ever favored India.
Except for one game, all the games up till now have been high scoring ones. Even the Netherlands managed to score a very respectable 292, and were choking the mighty England. Eventually, England managed to beat them, but with very few overs to spare, and though they lost, Netherland showed us that they could do it. Either that, or they got lost of help from the pitch. Because, England is poor player on such field.
In olden times, cricket used to be a test of mental and physical abilities for both batsman and the bowler. It used to be a one on one encounter. Batsman like Sunil Gavaskar, Arvinda D’silva, Sir Donald Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Viv Richards, Salim Malik, Garry Kirsten, Steve Waugh, the Flower Brothers(Andy and Grant) and many more legends of our times would be pitched against the legendary bowlers like Dennis Lilee, Courtney Walsh, Ambrose, Malcolm Marshall, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Glen Mcgrath, Sharne Warne etc. They were friends in the dressing room and enemies on the field. They would share their beer, but not give away anything during the game. Each wicket was earned, and each run was ran for. There were no hand outs. But times have changed. The game has become batting centered. Maybe that’s because people love runs being made, big scores being posted. A six, hit out of the stands, is more exciting for them then the batsman being bowled out by a precisely placed Yorker. This attitude towards the game has lead to the batsman centered game.
Sachin Tendulkar, or the Master Blaster, has innocently and unknowingly, shaped the way cricket is seen nowadays. Not that he is to be blamed for that. He has played his part. But the major cause of worry is that it is only he who is considered as the true success of the game, and is adored, and worshipped and followed. To an extent that everyone aspires to be him. No one wants to be the Kapils or the Lilees of the game. They all want to be the Tendulkars of the game. And that’s leading to formation of weak teams, which can compete nowhere else, other than their home ground, which are custom made to suit their style.
How bat-centric a game, cricket has become in recent times, can be judged by the world cup anthem this year. De Ghumaake, meaning “Swing it” were the words used heavily in the entire lyrics. Not that it was any great song. Infact, there was nothing much in it except 3 idiots dancing around on the stage, singing the same four lined lyrics, again and again, till everyone was tired of it. How it went past the organising committee, I have no idea. Anyway, the point was that, it has no mention about what the bowler has to do during the matched. It only instructs the batsman to “De Ghumaake”, i.e.. swing it. In other words, slog.
I just hope that in he near future, some youngsters aspire to become the Kapil Devs and Imran Khans of the game, so that the an equal balance is maintained.