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Money makes teams go around

cricket Updated: Nov 04, 2011 17:13 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
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When it comes to Tests, India have been reluctant to host West Indies in the last two decades. The West Indies Test squad that arrived here on Thursday is the first since 2002. The one before that came in 1994-95 and split the three-Test series 1-1 with a barnstorming victory in Mohali where Courtney Walsh snaked a bouncer through the visor of Manoj Prabhakar's helmet and broke his nose.

Economics of cricket
The primary reason for India's unwillingness is economics of cricket. Once the world's No. 1 team regardless of the format, West Indies have struggled since the mid-nineties and hosting them for a Test series means bad business for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

That is why this is the West Indies Test squad's third visit to India in the last 17 years -

a period in which Australia have come here for six Test series (one was a one-off Test) and South Africa have come for five. Bangladesh, on the other hand, have never played Tests in India.

India, in fact, have toured the West Indies four times since 1997, playing consecutive away series in 2006 and earlier this year.

Changed fortunes
Former India wicketkeeper Kiran More can understand the financial logic of the arrangement, but feels it impedes development of cricket around the world. "When you play good cricket, you are invited to play in all (cricket-playing) countries. That is why if you look at the West Indies team of the 1970s and even '80s and the brand of Calypso cricket that they played, they were much sought after. That is why India play so much now," More, who is also a former chairman of the national selection committee, told HT over the phone on Thursday.

"However, I believe the ICC (International Cricket Council) should have looked into the matter and ensured that the West Indies got to play at least one extra Test series in India in the last two decades.

"There will be development of cricket across the world only if all teams get to play each other more often," More adds.

For the moment, though, the West Indies Test squad is welcome in India as MS Dhoni & Co. get ready for a tough tour of Australia.

Over the years