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Featherbed wickets bowlers’ death knell

columns Updated: Nov 20, 2010 02:00 IST
Pradeep Magazine
intriguing advertisement

There is an intriguing advertisement that flashes across our TV screens almost regularly, where celebrities from different fields show their concern for the diminishing breed of tigers and in an admonishing tone tell us to save this animal.

It is an ad which seems to suggest that I, the viewer, am an accomplice to this ghastly act of not caring for this majestic animal and should do my best to save its life.

We are made to feel guilty and my first reaction is to donate a day's salary for this noble cause, like most of us do when a calamity occurs.

This 'Save the Tiger' campaign may be a great initiative to make us aware that this graceful animal is on the verge of extinction.

But how I can save this breed is beyond my comprehension, unless my generous donation is of any help.

Before you wonder why a column which restricts itself to matters sporting should be digressing into areas not in the domain of sports, let me get to the point.

As a lover of the sport called cricket, I am seriously concerned with the way we are treating a breed called bowlers in India.

If we want Test cricket to survive, we need to start a 'save the bowlers' campaign.

The 'Save the Tiger' campaign has the support of India captain, MS Dhoni, as well and my humble request to him would be to look closer home and rope in a sponsor for this great cause, otherwise many of his teammates may soon become extinct.

Dhoni's main strike bowler and close friend Harbhajan Singh has grasped this reality that he may be facing a bleak future. No wonder he can hit sixes far more easily these days than take a wicket.

Unlike saving the tiger, which requires a revolutionary change in the way we have addressed developmental issues and economic growth, saving the bowler does not require any change in our DNA.

It may be a difficult and even complex job to prepare a wicket which has bounce and later turn for the bowlers but by no means is it a task that is not achievable.

We have seen such wickets in India in the past and there are still a few countries in the world which do produce wickets where neither the bat nor the ball can dominate for a long spell of time.

Why, despite loud pronouncements made each time a Test match induces yawns out of sheer boredom, is nothing being done is a mystery.

If a cricket board has the desire to re-energise Test cricket, the first rudimentary step it should be taking is to spend its time and energy on finding out why we are still producing wickets on which driving a car would be a pleasure and bowling a death wish.