Cricket Diaries @2019

The year has ended and so has all the cricket for the year . Though we will witness cricket from 5th January only but before that let’s discuss all the recent major events in Indian Cricket of 2019 . We will start from the time I wrote last Article on Cricket and discuss the subsequent topics .

I. PINK BALL Test : Credibility and Future

Test match … the most classical and pure form of Cricket and of course My Very FAVOURITE . It’s said that it is slowly losing it’s virtue . And for serving that purpose comes an idea of DAY NIGHT Tests which is played With a Pink Ball . The specialty is said that timing of a day night test suits the routine of public and more crowd comes to stadium generating good revenue for boards even from test format . The reason of ball being PINK is suitability and visibility under Floodlights which was decided after multiple experiments with Green , Orange and Fluorescent colours , the thread stitched in between is Black . White ball loses effect and glare very early and red ball pretends Brownish under lights . The pink ball is prepared with almost same procedure but it takes longer time (8 days as compared to 4 days of Red Ball) . It has more shine even after use and swings for longer duration .

Almost all the countries had played at least one pink ball test with Aus playing most (5 then and now 7 ) and winning all of them . India was reluctant to go for it because of the complexities involved and it also rejected proposal in the last AUS tour which we ended up winning (Well … an agreement could have changed the History) . But DADA coming up as BCCI President had new ideas , which we will talk later . He persuaded VIRAT for the new change and as he said he took just 5 seconds to say YES . The match was organised between IND and BAN , both such teams who hadn’t played one D/N Test before .

Other than just cricket , what will be remembered for years to come is the marketing strategy by Dada in whole West Bengal . From decorating ghe whole city in Pink to promoting the match as an EVENT proved a Masterstroke and all the 3 days of Match were ‘Sell Off’ (match was over well within 3 days) . Also EDEN authorities won hearts by returning money to those who booked tickets for Day 4 and 5 . VIRAT KOHLI scored the first PINK 100 for India and our pacers produced a Fiery spell with the ball to wrap up things . The match was also inaugurated by Bengal CM MAMATA BANERJEE and Bangladesh PM SHEIKH HASINA by ringing the Bell (Tradition at Edens) . So it was a historic event in Indian Cricket .

But even after that most of the players (VIRAT , PUJARA) even me are not in support of this form completely . It’s OK once in a while for once a year or sometimes 2 if there is a very long season but not something we can make the Priority . Also … I am a Traditionalist as you can say and I don’t prefer tinkering too much with something as Sacred and Ancient as Test Cricket and it should be played in it’s natural way only . Also , if the Fans are not able to make time for Cricket and are coming only if timings suit them ….. well then they are NOT Cricket Fans . You can’t change the book or the movie just to make people have a glimpse . Whatever … we will play a D/N pink ball test in AUS this year so let’s see how things fare up .

II. DADA as the BCCI President
Sourav Ganguly has taken over as the BCCI President winning by an overwhelming majority of . Though according to previous rules he had to resign in June next year as he has already served as the WB President for around 5 years . But the recent change in rules can see him serving a term as long till 2024 . But , it will happen only if SC doesn’t reject the new proposed structure of the BCCI .

Well ….. wasn’t it such an incredible journey of DADA from the Indian Captain who taught the INDIAN TEAM to fight and compete in Overseas , first leader who taught us to ‘Give It Back’ , the first Captain Aggressive . Then perhaps the worst phase came when the Coach cum Politician GREG CHAPPELL not only forced him resign from Captaincy but also dropped him out of team . So the captain of the Runners Up team in 2003 WC is not even in the team in 2007 WC . Also all his politics led to India getting eliminated in the very first round and eventually broke the very backbone of Indian Cricket team for much longer .

Now that same board who did so much of Injustice to Ganguly is headed by him only . And … that Chappell ; his tenure is gonna end in few days as AUS chief selector so whenever he meets Ganguly in life he will have to GREET the President of the Biggest and Richest board of the world . This is how circle of life goes .

But there was also a decision which raised Eyebrows , JAY SHAH (Son of Amit Shah) was appointed the Secretary of BCCI just because of Father Power . What qualifications does he have , just tell me … ????? Well … keeping things aside there are two decisions I am most excited for .

First , BCCI hasn’t received it’s share of Money from ICC (around 500$ million) which Ganguly will work to get . Other than that we can also see rise in Indian board’s Domination in world cricket … well he made STEVE WAUGH wait at Toss . Second , Ganguly has proposed a 4 NATION TOURNAMENT with something like ASIA CUP format , with Australia , England , India and one other (not decided yet) . Details will come after discussion and talks relating to this are on and will also take place in ICC Meeting . It will be very interesting to see such a intense competition specially when Asia Cup has lost it’s lustre because of other teams getting WEAK .

Other than that we can also see many structural changes and bold moves . Specially I would like to see change in NATIONAL CRICKET ACADEMY (NCA) as it is proving itself very Ineffective specially in BHUVI’s case where it wasn’t able to suspect actual problem (HERNIA) leading to it getting exaggerated . Also the appointment of SELECTORS is underway , I hope to see some experienced faces out there who can show some sensible choices .

So I would like to wish DADA all the best for this job and hope to see Indian Cricket reaching new heights .

III. TEST CHAMPIONSHIP and India’s Domination

The Test Championship ; was one of the Best innovative ideas in Cricket in recent times . Not only it makes every match , every series Valuable but also it allows every team , even small ones to reach the top of Table . I find just one drawback is there should ve system of Double points for Overseas wins and also Bonus points for winning by an innings (Not for the wins under 3-4 days as sometimes those wins aren’t one sided) . It started with the ASHES which eventually ended in a Draw (2-2) but Aussies were successful in retaining the Ashes . So far if we look at the points table India is well placed at the top with 360 points from 7 matches and at second place is Australia . Though both teams have 3 more series to play but I think these two teams only will finish at top in the same order .

One debate which arises here is that many critics say that India’s Domination on the table is just because of playing at Home . This is a MISCONCEPTION as all the teams are playing 3-3 series at home and away but no other team is showing that high a domination as of India (barring Australia) . If you think SRI LANKA and BANGLADESH as very weak teams then keep it in mind that NEW ZEALAND and AUSTRALIA failed to win their last series at former and latter venues . England wasn’t able to win Ashes at home and even we won last tour in AUS last year (though in absence of SMITH and WARNER). Just because India wins against them by big margin doesn’t mean they are extremely vulnerable .

Also , the way we defeated even mighty teams like NZ , ENG and SA in India they weren’t able to dominate us that much when we toured there especially the SA one was too close . No ….. I am not at all saying that winning overseas isn’t important . Even our upcoming tours to New Zealand and Australia are very important , hold immense value and will define Indian Cricket of this Era . We will come back to this in detail in the next section .

IV. The OVERSEAS Challenge Ahead

Out of the remaining 3 series of India , one is with ENGLAND at Home but 2 are with NEW ZEALAND (2 Tests) and AUSTRALIA (4 Tests) at their backyards . The latter one will be a great opportunity for VIRAT and Company to prove that the victory in Australia 2 years back was not just because of absence of the 2 Spearheads . We demolished their pace attack in their home conditions which is not a Joke . This time we will be playing a Pink Ball test as well which makes the scenario even more interesting because Aussies are unbeaten in day night tests , so it will be a great challenge to face .

But before that will come the NZ Tour . It’s a tougher challenge for us than the Aussie one . Firstly , we have won in AUS and have comparatively fairer idea of those conditions as compared to NZ where we last toured around 6 years back with a completely different team . Secondly , the AUS tour is of 4 matches which gives us time to assess things and bounce back if we are down . But the NZ Tour is of just 2 matches which means just one Loss and you can’t win the series . You have to win both (Draws seldom happens these days) . Also , NZ is Unbeaten at home from last 2 years and even we lost last time we toured ; but we have also won there though only twice (1967 and 2009) . We play NZ less often so for VIRAT and Company it’s a big point to prove .

As far as team set up is concerned I think ROHIT and AGARWAL are well set as Openers . What a new start ROHIT has got and what a hell on an year he had last year . Also the middle order (PUJARA , VIRAT RAHANE) is very experienced , competent and in many sense reliable in those conditions . I don’t think we will be playing more than 1 spinner in any match , so it should be JADEJA , he is a better option in Overseas and also a decent batsman . Then the pace battery we have ….. is our biggest strength which is giving me very positive vibes before the series . BUMRAH and SHAMI will definitely play ; one of ISHANT and UMESH or both can play . We are very unfortunate to miss BHUVI here , we can have SAINI as a backup pacer in the team . As Virat said if we manage 300+ in first innings then we are on driver’s seat and the batsman will have a big responsibility as well .

I am very excited to see who will play as WK (PANT or SAHA) . We opted for latter in this home season , so it will be interesting to see if Young Pant is able to breach into the place of a prolific keeper Saha . The one spot which remains to be filled is No. 6 , we have 3 options , an extra batsman (VIHARI) , an extra bowler (a pacer) and an All Rounder (PANDYA) . It will depend on conditions what combination do we opt , I personay would prefer PANDYA putting weight on his all round abilities . Well … the opponents , they have also got a very strong and balanced side (forget about their AUS Tour) with many high voltage key players , so it’s gonna be a big challenge . So , my best wishes for the touring team before this big assignment and a long season coming up .

V. The T20 Set Up and a Touch of ODI

Other than the Test Championship going on , a big share of our Focus should also be on the upcoming T20 WORLD CUP which is less than a year ago so we need to rush with the preparations now . I have also mentioned earlier that my choice would be RAHUL with ROHIT , both age and form are not on DHAWAN’s side . The middle order is well suited with VIRAT , PANT , PANDYA BROTHERS (HARDIK and KRUNAL) . I would suggest than the latter should be called back as I am not able to figure out how was he dropped in the first place . Then we have B&B Combination (BHUVI & BUMRAH) as the pace battery , for other spots the Audition is on for many young pacers (even UMESH) . CHAHAL will be there for sure but KULDEEP will have to cement his place over SUNDAR who is also a good option specially in power plays as we wouldn’t be willing to have more than 3 spinners in the squad when playing in AUS . But here also one spot No.4 is left if PANT plays at 5 and vice versa . We have plenty options (SURYAKUMAR , SANJU , DUBE , MANISH and SHREYAS) and we should focus on trying out every one of them before fixing out 2-3 of them .

I may sound a bit Fanatic but I think DHONI is still a good option at that place if he plays like a absolute Carnage , like his young days but for that he has to prove himself in the IPL . Other than that our team is quite balanced with enough ammunition as we saw in the last series against WINDIES . But the upcoming 5 match series versus NZ is the most crucial test we need to pass to check our own might on flat track against explosive opposition .

It’s an Irony that the format which is least prior at the moment (ODIs) , we have almost resolved all our doubts as SHREYAS and PANT are serving their job very well . We are missing some of our key bowlers and I hope most of them come back in AUS series . As a rare sight our batting is looking stronger than Bowling and comeback of PANDYA will make it even stronger . There is Question mark on JADHAV’s place and we need some good finishing all-round options for which Audition is on . DHAWAN has whatever Cricket left in him I think is in ODIs so he will be playing but we also have Eyes on future so RAHUL is also on standby .

So that was all on my analysis on recent Cricketing topics . For now , we have a big season coming up followed by IPL and let’s gear up for that . I personally am very excited and also thinking of coming back to watching Cricket , the DEPRESSION I went into after WC exit may end with our very Dear Rivals the AUSSIES coming home for a tough and thrilling series . All the Best to Team India in whatever is coming ahead .



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