Boxing day. The smell of freshly cut grass. The flowing beer. The gentle warmth of the early morning sun. The buzz of crowd as they prepare to watch some grueling test cricket.
All the things that will be missing in Dhakka when Sri Lanka take on Bangladesh.
So, another tour, another minnow opposition and another 2 test series –the story of Sri Lankan cricket this year. It seems incredibly hypocritical when the 4th ranked test team in the world plays only 5 test matches in a year where teams like New Zealand – who are invariably complaining about not playing enough test cricket – and even Bangladesh of all team play more. The only team to play less games than Sri Lanka were Pakistan, who had that slight glitch with them terrorists blokes.
Who is at fault though. The Sri Lankan board ? The ICC ? The ridiculously outdated future tours Programme?. The best answer is probably a mixture of all three. That the annual cricket schedules are monopolized by the English and Australian summers is unavoidable and has been forcibly accepted by the rest of the test nations, who have to organize their matches around it. Even then the quality of test cricket coming to a country like Sri Lanka is insufficient. 2009 will follow the same path as this year, when the first half of the year is spent sitting on couches and watching other countries play cricket.
Now that the England tour is canceled, Sri Lankas next test tour, according to the FTP, will be Zimbabwe. How exciting, add to that the fact that’s inaccurate. The only real tour, against Pakistan, is planned for August. Any tours planned with India are still in doubt after the disaster with Arjuna, Lalit Modi and the IPL.
Surely Sri Lanka are still a big draw card, they have some world renowned cricketers and are only behind Australia, South Africa and India, who they soundly beat at home just a few months ago. Arjuna has been pre-occupied in trying to put one over Lalit Modi. His ill timed move to arrange for a tour to England has since nose dived. In the meantime Sri Lanka tours Bangladesh, plays a tri series against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and then hangs up the boots for 5-6 months. This is cricket administration at its worst. It’s a loss for the fans and undeniably for the players.
Rumors of the ‘Test Championship’ replacing the FTP, are just that. Rumors. The ICC says there will be ‘some form of test championship’. Proving that vagueness is still the ICC’s best attribute.
Its up to the guys in the hierarchy to make sure that Sri Lanka gets the right amount of cricket with right kind of opposition in whatever ‘form’ it may come in.
While they are at it, can they also have quick vote to get rid of the plague that is the ‘2 – test series’.