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RAHUL DRAVID has talked about Day and Night Test Matches, he is not the first one to talk about it, there are others too like us fans, bloggers, supporters and Dravid has spread the word at the right forum i.e., when he was giving a 40 minute long speech in Canberra Australia and emphasized the need of saving the test matches (not drawing a test match – which is a Mishap) from the disappearing interest of general public because they appear to be dull, boring and end up without any result. He asked the administrators to retain the public interest and respect the fans, and they must try to handle the trickiest of the challenges in balancing the three formats in cricket. And he described test matches as “The Gold Standard.”
He also said, “Everything that has given cricket its power and influence in the world of sports has started from that fan in the stadium.” Dravid also asked the players to “re-think about the fans when they play the game, in terms of conduct, intensity and integrity. “They [the fans] deserve our respect and let us not take them for granted. Disrespecting fans is disrespecting the game. The fans have stood by our game through everything. When we play, we need to think of them. As players, the balance between competitiveness and fairness can be tough but it must be found.”
People have also talked about 4 day test match. There must be flexibility and adaptability in the game, over the years many rules have been changed, technology stepped in and 7~10 days test matches have been reduced to five days test match which is still continuing. ODI’s and T20 has kicked in to keep the interest of the fans and viewers. So, why not make further changes in the test cricket? We have talked about pink colour cricket balls a long time ago on cricinfo PakSpin blog and were ridiculed by a few narrow minded blokes.
We also talked about making cricket grounds a little more different from the typical galleries and pavilions by landscaping the grounds in such a way that at least one one side a big hotel is constructed and the backyard leads to the cricket ground (like a golf-course) where the club house is a part of the golf-course from where you can see the players Teeing off. In this case it should be more like a resort where people retreat and lounge around and also watch live cricket. There should also be swimming pools in hot countries. And, we have seen in the Caribbean they made above ground swimming pools which were temporary, even that would do if it is a part of the entertainment for the shorter version of the game. We have not only heard about the introduction of pink coloured cricket balls for night cricket but, Pakistan is actually going to use it in the domestic tournament (Qaid-e-Azam trophy) within this month.
Dravid has covered a lot of points in his speech and I must say that he has raised his voice at the right time to save the test cricket which is plagued with cancer and it is on the verge of dying. And it will die soon if the intention of the players or teams is only to draw a test match. So far cricket is alive because of the variations and changes that have been made by introducing ODI’s and T20’s and test matches are losing its charm in the eyes of the general public. Where will they go from here? Hong Kong sixes? That is a joke about cricket and a bad one too.
To find out more about what Dravid has said in his speech please follow the link:
Cricket Canada is the National Sports Organization for Cricket in Canada. But, it is nothing like the BCCI, PCB, Cricket Australia or even the old MCC. But, Cricket is being played in Canada since a very long time. In 1859 when the All England XI, all professionals, crossed the Atlantic to play five matches in Canada it was considered as a historic event. England who were then known as MCC or Merelybone Cricket Club officially visited Canada in 1959 and in the first match in Montreal, they had a very tough time winning against Canada.
Cricket Canada, formerly named the Canadian Cricket Association (Established 1892), the organization is presently represented by 9 Provincial boards of Canada. Cricket first recorded in Canada in 1785 at Ile-Ste-Helene in Montreal, Quebec and this place is just a few kilometers away from my house. Right now ile-Ste-Helene has a Formula-1 Grand Prix Race track.
During the old times, the European immigrants/settlers used to play cricket but the trend changed due to the weather conditions and people started playing hockey (hockey in Canada is always ice hockey) and cricket was almost dead, it revived again with the immigrants coming from the sub-continent, Australia and the West Indies, the Canadian National Team played its first World Cup in 1979 and lost badly, their lowest score against England was 45.
The pathetic performance is due to lack of match practice and weather is the biggest culprit. Winter is so severe in Canada that there is hardly 3 months of summer i.e., Middle of May to Middle of August, prior to that and, after that any extra week of good weather is a bonus. There is also a lot of rain during the summer season so, not only the grounds are wet but, the tracks too. Therefore, some of the matches are played on matting. Basically Canada gets 12 week-ends of cricket or 24 days of cricket if there is NO rain. So, considering that, Canada has done a lot better than other associates of the ICC and managed to play in three world cups so far. Canada’s John Davison’s fastest hundred world cup record remained unbroken for many years. Adam Gilchrist broke that record and then Kevin O’ Brien broke his record in this WC with 100 in 50 balls beating England.
The above photograph is of Vancouver Cricket Ground. With time the Canadian grounds have improved in terms of facilities and a few of international matches have been played in Toronto and a couple at the Toronto Skydome which is NOT a cricket ground. Hopefully sometime in future there will be covered cricket grounds for Canadians, it will only be a dream because you can prevent rain and snow but, keeping the entire stadium warm enough is not easy unless there are other cheaper source of energy. The Canadians love some of their picturesque grounds which you will find all over of the country and here are a few photos that I like to share with you guys.
As the shaken Pakistani fans struggle to find explanations for latest debacle in the form of Pakistan’s heavy defeat, PCB is busy attempting to cover its countless follies. Ijaz Butt continues to plague the sport with his undereducation, uncouthness and unprofessionalism. It is clear that the PCB’s policies are devoid of any consideration of logic, fairness or merit. The humiliation of Younis Khan followed by the recent humiliation of Kaneria is such an example. The constant selections of players like Malik, Akmal, Farhat and until recently, Misbah, reflect the PCB’s management which must run on the basis of corruption, regionalism and politics- there cannot be another explanation.
After Pakistan’s miracle victory against Australia all but
the most pessimistic fans were considering Pakistan to be a reborn and rejuvenated side. Yet, although the bowling was largely decent against England, Akmal’s dropped catch triggered a series of fielding and strategy lapses for Pakistan which culminated into a humiliating defeat.
Out of the 34 chances Akmal has spilled since the last tour to England, Akmal has dropped Kaneria on 17 occasions. Kaneria must suffer a total confidence breakdown by just the sight of Akmal behind the wickets. Once a guaranteed match winner and trump card for Pakistan, Kaneria has become an embarrassing liability. But, how much of that is Akmal’s contribution? It is unnatural for such a skilled bowler to lose form so drastically in such a short span of time. The only explanation for this can be match fixing, however that is unlikely considering the proactive role the ICC is playing, especially monitoring Pakistani players.
In the shambles one looks to find a glimmer of hope, a process, a strategy, a guide that will assist in the selection of good players. This blog has promoted the idea of selecting players based on their “net utility” and this thread attempts to shed greater light on this notion.
All players must have a number of runs attributed to them, put simply. The higher the number, the greater the argument for selecting them. However certain factors ought to affect this number lesser than certain other factors that ought to affect this number more. The factors that ought to affect this number more are:
– Fielding ability
– Performance in important matches
– A decent level of skill in a second department (bowling, batting, fielding)
– Ability to perform better in unfamiliar conditions
The factors that should affect this number, but less so than the abovementioned factors ought to be:
– Selfless vs selfish batting (mostly because it is difficult to have universal agreement over what can be considered selfish or selfless)
– Right handed vs left handed (a left handed player is always slightly more valuable, as lefties are uncommon)
– Ancillary factors such as, ability to bat at different positions
To illustrate this concept one can perform a trial on the current Pakistani line up. Of course, assessors will never be able to agree on one number for a player, but hopefully will be able to come close on numbers. The net utility will be most easily measured in terms of, “How many runs in this player worth”? In effect a number of runs will be placed upon each player. For argument’s sake we can establish that players will a net utility of 37 or more should be allowed to play in Test cricket (keeping in mind that, 37 runs per 11 players would make 407 which can be considered a decent, or competitive Test score).
Let us start with Salman Butt in Tests:
Butt does not perform a second task (bowling, fielding) well enough to warrant attention. His career average is 32. However, this year it has been 42, which should go to his credit. But, apart from 2010 and 2005 when his average was 42, his highest average has been 29. This indicates he is prone to inconsistency.
It is perhaps appropriate to start with Butt and to attribute a number of 37 to him, as our ideal net utility. His fielding will pull that number down, to say, 34 . His performance in important matches, I will ignore, as being an opener it is slightly more difficult to assess this criterion than say if he was a middle order batsman. Since he does not have a noteworthy second role (good bowler or fielder) that number should come down further, to say, 32. Butt’s performance in unfamiliar conditions has not been commendable, but he has performed well in Australia. That is why I will not let this affect 32.
Selfish batting- it is difficult to say again as Butt’s role is of an opener and he has to some extent a free reign over attacking or defending. Although his job is to score runs in Powerplays and make use of the fielding restrictions, he is also entrusted with not destabilising the top order. So, I will give him this credit and not let this affect 32.
Butt is left handed, and left handed bowlers are harder to play slightly, and batsmen are slightly harder to bowl too, so I will give him credit and add 1 (remember, I am not adding 2 or 3 runs because this is a factor that should not be taken into account in such significance). So we stand at 33.
We have not seen Butt at different batting positions . The factor I am terming as “Ancillaries”, is an “umbrella” factor which can incorporate many sub-factors. So, what else can be used to rate Butt?
The proposed notion of net utility is open to expansion, modification. It does not provide any magical answers but it may provide a fair and reasoned analysis for selecting players. Using this analysis will undoubtedly promote selection of players like Afridi, Fawad Alam etc and discourage selection of Malik, Akmal etc.