Monday, September 22, 2014

Missing In Action : Indian cricket @ Asian Games

Cricket has rarely appeared at Multi-sports events. Its limited playing base combined with the long playing duration (5-day Tests) has ensured that the chances of appearing at a multi-sport event was rare.

Cricket's only Olympics appearance was in the 1900 Paris Games with Great Britain beating France in  the final which incidentally was also the only game of the competition. It was almost a century later in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games 1998 that cricket reappeared. This time the format was the 50 over ODIs. The Commonwealth Games would have been the most appropriate setting for cricket with all the big teams from the Commonwealth. However there were issues of country boundaries with Wales as a separate entity, the individuals islands of the West Indies having to appear as separate teams. However the biggest dampener was the lack of enthusiasm of the various cricket boards. And hence cricket never reappeared at the Commonwealth Games.

However the advent of T20 format and the unexpected enthusiasm of the Olympic Committee of Asia has made way for cricket's entry in  the Asian Games. And this has resulted in cricket being played in China and South Korea. An excellent platform for spreading the game across the region. However the big boys of the cricketing world do not seem to be enthused with the idea. BCCI have stayed off completely. Pakistan and Sri Lanka seem to be reluctant participants. However the likes of Bangladesh and the Associates and Affiliates certainly like the idea. After all its probably the biggest stage for them.

Test cricket is an exclusive club and the current members seem unwilling to take on new ones. ICC talks about making cricket a global game but seems to have two different parameters for the Big 10 and the others. There is a strange reluctance to let the numbers spread at the very top level. Probably its the fear of losing control of the cash cow that is the Indian cricket audience thats prompting this idea.

There was an ongoing Champions League (probably the most useless "international" tournament). The BCCI could have easily sent a youth (U-23) or an A team, but it chose not to. And more difficult to fathom are the reasons for the non-appearance of the Women's team, which did not have any other international commitments.

Whatever the reason, Indian fans have lost a chance to cheer for their team in the Asian Games. And BCCI has done a great disservice to the Indian sports fans. Its almost as if the cricket team is BCCI's and not India's (which is the legal reality). So they might as well stop associating the Indian flag for the Men in Blue.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

RIP Norman Gordon

Norman Gordon (South Africa) (1911-2014)

Cricket's first and till date only ever centurion against time bids farewell.

Well played Sir.

The longest lived Test cricketer - a record which will stand for some time.

Arbit Stats #34