Chennai: The country is hurtling from one disaster to another. The Central government is on the throes of a policy paralysis. The prices of essential commodities are zooming. The rupee is weakening (against the dollar). Parliament looks totally pointless. There seems to be no end to the scandals. In such a critical scenario, we at Crank’s News have chosen to focus on the one question that should be gnawing in the minds of all the right thinking and responsible citizens of this country, which is: ‘How can Test cricket be saved?’
Patently, if Test cricket had been hale and hearty, we wouldn’t be having the problem of zooming prices and sliding rupees. We mean if the ongoing India-West Indies series had been even half exciting would our media have had the space for the dreary inflation? But thanks to the poor quality of Test cricket dished out, the hapless people of this country have been forced to realise that a SAARC summit has just ended (In general it was believed that things like bubonic plague and SAARC had been totally eradicated).
If the idea is to save the people from worries of prices and Parliament, we need Test cricket to be in robust health.
So how do we save Test cricket and rekindle the interest so that we can have the happy situation of reading headlines such as ‘Heart-attack for fan as Chanderpaul scores a run-a-ball ton’ and not the totally needless and eminently avoidable report titled ‘mounting debt drives 8 of farmer family to suicide’?
Here’s our simple and eminently implementable plans to salvage Test cricket.
1.Make DRS compulsory
This has to be the most obvious one.
Over the last two few years, whenever we have seen the DRS (Decision Review System) in operation, it has provided cricket the one thing that it needs the most in these ultra-competitive and high-stakes times: Controversies.
Also, most sensible cricketers back the DRS because it mostly backs the belief that almost players hold: The on-field umpires are morons. (But in the case of Billie Bowden, you don’t need the precision evidence thrown up by DRS).
The efficacy of the DRS can be gauged by the fact that it was put to maximum use on the manic 2nd day of the recently ended Newlands test (Aus vs South Africa). With many close decisions referred to the third umpire, a lot of time was eaten, and a match that would otherwise have ended well under two days, went into the morning of the third one, thereby allowing the authorities to enjoy the satisfaction of collecting the gate-fee for one full day.
2. Keeping him away from it
If at all there are people following the ongoing Test match at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai the main reason has to be, yes, Shivnarine Chanderpaul is not playing. (Needless to say, this was also why the South Africa and Australia two Test series was largely exciting).
OK, You know that. But seriously, between writing the sentences of this piece, we have had one eye on the television screen and that’s because we want to know whether Sachin Tendulkar is in and whether he will get to his 100th international hundred.
Tendulkar’s 100th ton is only thing missing in our CV of international cricket watching. The moment he gets it, the long-debated retirement will be announced. We mean many of us cricketer followers would announce our retirement. With chances of Harbhajan and Sreesanth coming to blows on a live cricket field also receding, we as fans will have nothing more interesting left to look forward.
So change the rules. Tamper with the settings. And if it means bringing back Darrel Hair and making him officiate for all of Tendulkar’s innings, go ahead. But just don’t let him get that elusive international century. We need to do this at least for the sake of the 30 people who make it to the Test match stadiums.
3. Keep them away
We can’t understand why this simple step has not been accomplished: Ban the ICC. And, just in case, ban Chanderpaul, too.
If this is not going to save the future of Test cricket, we don’t know what will.
(Disclaimer: But let us accept that Test cricket is actually boring. Test cricket, over the years, has mostly produced plodding draws. The exciting T-20, on the other hand, has unearthed many exciting young talents. We, of course, refer to the cheerleaders).