What have they done to cricket?

I have just returned from what was a trip of a lifetime. I was in Australia and New Zealand watching the Cricket World Cup. A dream come true for me and a dream which involved much expense and lots of planning and organizing.

I watched 6 games and all of them were totally one sided except of course for that absolute humdinger when the Kiwis played the Proteas in Auckland! More on that later and there was a brief moment when Sri Lanka flattered to deceive against Australia in Sydney and of course that magnificent spell of fast bowling by Pakistan against the Aussies in Adelaide and Shane Watson in particular.

What struck me most was just how regulated and controlled the game has become. Compulsory power plays, two new balls which make it mandatory to play fast bowling all rounders, smaller boundaries and bats that could pass for missile launchers….

Captains have hardly any initiative left and bowlers, oh what a maligned species! Your field setting are controlled and you can’t do much except go through the motions. For example in the middle of a powerplay over if you want to do something different you can’t! That is why I take my hat off to that magnificent spell of fast bowling by the Pakistanis! The Australian may have been the best fast bowler of the tournament and he was very impressive but that spell by the Pakistani…it captured my heart!

The Semi Final in Auckland was the best game of the tournament! It was a real privilege to be at the ground and to watch the support the Kiwis’ gave their team. They cheered every ball, they had personalized cheers for every player and they were so good natured through it all. They are a great sporting nation and if only they had won the world cup it would have done more for the game than the ICC could ever hope to achieve.

The combination of T20 and obsessive controls implemented by the ICC have transformed cricket into something that is unrecognizable to the purist. The famed “glorious uncertainties” have gone forever. For example was there a single unpredictable result in the entire world cup? A couple of bludgeoning assaults by a few batsman, Ireland living upto expectations and of course that great semi final in Auckland excepted.
Further plans to restrict the world cup to fewer nations will make it even more boring and of course achieve the money grabbing ambitions of the ICC.

The current people running the game are killing it. This is a fact and should be addressed by the elder statesmen of the game before it is too late. We still have people who played the game for its Real values, the like of Ian Chappel, Rod Marsh, Dennis Lillee, Clive Lioyd and The Nawab of Pataudi or numerous other equivalents, should get involved and save this great game before television and money grabbers destroy it forever.

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