If only India can tour and revive the game | Sunday Observer

If only India can tour and revive the game

It was most disappointing when India who were expected to play three limited over games and two T20s next month cited Covid-19 virus fears and were reluctantly forced to call off the tour.

Sri Lanka Cricket had rightly hit for a six the uncharitable criticism hurled at it by apparently frustrated critics who were hoping that things will materialise. This was not to be.

But there is still hope in the air that India could possibly play the money spinning Indian Premier League tournament here sometime during the year. That was the sound of music to the SLC ears and they will be praying for deliverance.

In the cricket world today all other Test playing countries are fervently keen for India to tour. This is because India is a ‘magnet’ today able to attract crowds, sponsorships and highly paid television rights.

In addition India today has cricketers who play attractively, with elegant and graceful strokeplay with batsmen of the caliber of its skipper Virat Kohli, vice captain Rohit Sharma, Shikar Dhawan and Manesh Pandey who are eye-catching and spectators keep turnstiles creaking for more oil, rushing to watch their heroes in action.

In addition they have some extremely productive bowlers in Umesh Yadav, Mohamad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma and top class spinners in Ashwin and Jadeja. It must also be noted that in every country there are vast crowds of Indians domiciled there and when India tours they outnumber the home team supporters.

In addition former Indian great the former high scoring opening batsman and captain of India Sunil Gavaskar too is supportive of Sri Lanka hosting the much looked forward to IPL in September this year.

However the final decision rests on the International Cricket Council who will have to make the final call depending on the Covid which has gone to play spoil sport in many countries. However Gavaskar is held in high esteem in the ICC and his voice could carry great weight in the ICC decision making.

However barring the 50 over World Cup and the T20 World Cup, the tournament that franchise cricketers are craving for is the money rich IPL because it gives the cricketers who have been signed on big, big money.

If Sri Lanka Cricket is given the opportunity to conduct the IPL, they have the men and material to see to its successful conclusion and the benefits SLC and the country stand to benefit will be immense. So everyone will be keeping their fingers crossed.

Windies break the ice

The cricketers from the Caribbean who carry glitz and glamour with them from the time they played big time cricket, broke the ice by defying calls not to tour by agreeing to tour England for a Test and limited over series.

At the time of writing the Windies led by the gangling all rounder Jason Holder are in Old Blightey fine-tuning for the tour with the first Test, if all goes well beginning early next month.

Some of their cricketers opted to stay out fearing the Covid and while their concerns must be respected the cricketers who dared to fearlessly tour must be applauded and congratulated.

A little mention of the glamour that cricketers from the Caribbean brought to the game and made it a watchable commodity began with the daring three WS – Frank Worrell, Clyde Walcott and Everton Weekes who earned the sobriquet ‘terrible ws’. Of the threesome Worrell and Walcott are no more, but still batting is Weekes at 95 not out.

Then as the years rolled by the Windies produced the greatest all-round cricketer that the world has seen and will ever see, the four in one left handed Barbadian Garfield St. Auburn Sobers who was destined to take the cricket world by storm.

Sobers’ magic with bat and ball that has no equal need not be reiterated. But it was he who erased England’s Len Hutton’s record of the highest individual score 364 not out against Australia that stood for a number of years until Sobers pushed it aside making 365 against Pakistan in a Test match.

Then came another left handed batting genius Brian Lara who went past Sobers record as well as Mathew Hayden’s record to make a monumental 400 which is sure to stand the test of time.

Geoff Boycott will be missed

Thousands of cricket fans and listeners would have been disappointed when they heard the news that former England opening batsman Geoffrey Boycott will not be a part of the BBC cricket special commentary team.

Boycott has said enough is enough and citing concerns arising over the Covid-19 pandemic has decided to doff his commentary cap after a long and enjoyable 14 year innings with BBC.

He held special attention when he was on air because of his lovely Yorkshire accent, excellent witticism and humour who would dare call a spade a spade and not some other implement. He was not biased like most England commentators do, but described the game the way he saw it and read it.

One classic bit of witticism came when he was doing commentary in Sri Lanka. Seeing the Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga fielding too deep at point Boycott in his inimitable style said: ‘I don’t go that far even for my holidays’, and did not listeners have a good laugh. That was the likeable Boycott who will be missed and the commentary box will not be the same again.

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