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Gayle would be feeling silly after his comments

india Updated: May 15, 2009 00:55 IST
ICC Cricket Committee

I have just returned to South Africa from five days in London as a member of the ICC Cricket Committee and the difference in attitude towards the IPL in the two countries was staggering.

Obviously, South Africa would be far more involved as the host country, but I expected to see a lot more of the tournament in England than I did. It was actually very difficult to find out what was happening as some newspapers even failed to carry the results.

Fortunately, Ravi Shastri is also on the Cricket Committee and, being as well connected as he is, we didn't have to wait long to find out which teams were winning and losing.

There are several reasons why the IPL is not receiving much attention in the UK. Obviously, there are no English players involved at the moment but also, there is a Test series going on in England. Whatever anybody might say, the five-day game remains the pinnacle of the sport.

It is something we all felt very strongly about during our two days of meetings and we discussed ways and means of preserving the status and primacy of Test matches and Test series.

Some people have expressed grave concerns about Chris Gayle’s recent comments about preferring T20 cricket to Test matches and not caring much about the longer version of the game. I, too, was shocked until I realised what had happened.

Gayle was obviously upset by Andrew Strauss expressing surprise that the West Indies captain had delayed his arrival in England until just 48 hours before the first Test in order to play an extra game for the Knight Riders.

In order to hit back at Strauss, Gayle, rather stupidly, opted for the shock tactic of downgrading Test cricket. It's not really his view and it most certainly is not the view of 99 per cent of international cricketers. His comment backfired and I hope he is now feeling as silly as he sounded at that time.

It is crunch time in the IPL. I reckon the Delhi Daredevils and the Chennai Super Kings are certain semifinalists but, at the time of writing, I reckon there are five teams who will genuinely believe they can grab one of the other two semifinal places.

It is exactly the kind of thrilling climax the organisers were hoping for. If only the Knight Riders hadn't fallen off the back of the bus so early on, we might have been enjoying an even tighter finish to the league phase.

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