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Friday, November 26, 2004

Changes Needed

The 2nd test match between India and South Africa starts tomorrow at the halo gounds of Eden Gardens, Kolkata. I want to take this moment and reflect at some of the actions of the ICC during the last couple of weeks:

(1). After the India-Pakistan 1-day match at Kolkata, the ICC slapped a 2 match-ban on Saurav Ganguly for not being to force a faster over-rate. What is surprising is that the match refree (Clive Lloyd) was present at the venue and he could clearly see that this was caused as a result of the sogginess in the field, which was making the ball wet and so constant replacements were called for (7 in all). All this just caused the time to extend well beyond the normal hours.

(2). Talking of penalizing for slow over-rate for fielding, what can't ICC issue a similar rule for batting? During the Kanpur test match, the South Africans batted slowly (reminding us of the 80s) and bored us to death. The game of Test Cricket has changed so much over the years and it is no longer considered healthy to score below 3 runs an over (2.2 was totally unacceptable). This carries even more significance because of the growing popularity of Pajama cricket and also the newer 20-20 and the decreasing popularity of the classical Test match cricket. Scoring at 2.2 runs an over only pushes test cricket in a backward direction. It is time for ICC to have a rule to penalize teams scoring less than say 3 runs an over (give/take some other covenant).

(3). ICC released new rules and laws for Chucking and under the new laws, even great bowlers such as Wasim Akram, Glenn Mcgrath are all chukcers. No wonder, this has created so much of ridicule all around the world. This is what Akram had to say about this about the whole controversy. I thought that the ICC handled this issue really sluggishly.

(4). Another instance of bad management was the ICC's handling of the England-Zimababwe tour, which has been so mired with controversy. Just before the English journalists could enter the land, they were disallowed VISAs. If this was going to happen, then the ICC should have made prior arrangements to tackle this situation. The only statement ICC released was that the English team could withdraw if they wanted to. The English journalists have since been granted VISAs into Zimbabwe.

ICC really has to tighten it's socks and get is act together, at least for the benefit of the game of the cricket, if not for its own benefit.