Indian cricket: Thrills & excitement unlimited
While we obsess with the Test versus T20 debate, increased commercialisation and too much cricket, sweeping changes affecting the game have gone unnoticed. Cricket today is different — everyone involved is playing firmly from the front foot, writes Amrit Mathur.india Updated: Sep 03, 2009 23:48 IST
While we obsess with the Test versus T20 debate, increased commercialisation and too much cricket, sweeping changes affecting the game have gone unnoticed. Cricket today is different — everyone involved is playing firmly from the front foot. On field, this trend is only too obvious. Batsmen nowadays are fearless; they happily throw their bats at the ball as soon as umpires call play.
Gone are the days when cautious openers took leg stump guard and just hoped to see the new ball off. Now, it is swing-and-miss from the start and hitting through the line or across it — a sin till yesterday — is no surprise. Test teams score at four runs an over and a slashed cut for six is common, as is the switch-hit and the scoop over the keeper's head.
Aggression is also displayed by players away from the field. Armed with money, fame and a strong public profile, every pappu with a ticket to the Indian dressing room has an opinion and an attitude. Current players, assertive and articulate, are not shy of calling a no-ball a no-ball — and when a half-volley presents itself, they are ready to give it the full treatment.
Keeping with this current openness, players express themselves freely and occasionally their frank views impact the BCCI. In the middle of the player vs media tussle earlier this summer in England, skipper Dhoni told journalists to avoid controversy. For masala, he advised them undiplomatically, 'please go to the BCCI'.
Yusuf Pathan, yet to play a Test but stung by na-insafi to brother Irfan, did not hesitate to speak his mind about the selectors. But the winner in the 'Boldest Player' category is Harbhajan Singh who is always unafraid to toss it up big, his statements varying from the audaciously arrogant to the deeply avuncular. Examples: according to Harbhajan, Ricky Ponting's a spin bakra (I can get him out any time) but Rohit Sharma is a talented kid who needs to focus on the game and avoid distractions.
Players don't always play off the front foot by choice — sometime it is more a matter of circumstance than cool thought. The BCCI is not known to support free speech but when a celebrity player is approached by the media, and a mike is conveniently thrust in his face, it is difficult for him to shoulder arms. Interestingly, Indian cricket is itself in the front foot mode. At various levels of governance, India's voice is heard and world cricket understands that they are dealing with a national board which has a loud voice and economic muscle. With both players and officials willing to have a go, Indian cricket is anything but dull.
Like the latest release from Bollywood, cricket scripts too are full of spills, thrills and endless excitement.