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Monday, November 22, 2010

The Death of Longer format

Watching the current India-NZ series made me think a bit. Gone are the awesome days of test cricket when there was a patient build up to the innings, each ball was played on its merit and there was a healthy competition between bat and ball. God, Dravid and Laxman are probably the last generation in World Cricket who can play the classical game the way it was played. So what has changed apart from the ho-hullah of T20 cricket, the flatness of the pitch, short grounds and lesser number of test matches due to jam packed T20 seasons.

I feel test cricket's biggest change has been the role of opening batsman. Where a Gavaskar or a Boycott labored for the entire morning session without a helmet to take the shine off the new ball, the likes of Sehwag, Smith, Gayle hit it all across the park to take the shine off the new ball. Opening batsman of the past were patient enough to see the new ball off, and pass on the responsibility to the middle order to accumulate the runs. Not that they were not scoring runs, but they usually used to stick around, anchoring the innings. A modern day Test opener wants to unsettle the opposition by thrashing him all around the park, then let the captain spread the field and then accumulate singles. They are fearless (given all the modern day equipment, and the lack of awesome fast bowlers). They want quick runs, so that there isn't much pressure on the middle order.

If we look at it both had similar intentions, but the way of achieving it was different.

Now think about how life has changed around you. Well the pitch has changed, there are lot of opportunities, life is faster now. You want to a good opening in life. Everyone wants quick success. Ask any MBA who has recently passed out and they will say, well I will work till I am 40, and then become a consultant, or work with NGO or do something on my own. Till then I want to earn. Everyone wants quick bucks, quick success. Everyone is secure financially, still they want more of it, and maybe few years from now give their children an awesome playschool so that he /she can enter a good school. Be it career, relationships, friendships, everyone wants to keep things short and uncomplicated.

Think of the previous generation, they used to labor it for years for getting things in place and give their next generation a better life. They would face the balls coming their way with courage despite much cover, lesser security, play off the new ball and then pass on the innings to their children to take it forward. It was all so courageous but brilliantly simple and happy.

And I think in between these two generations separating the Test Cricket generation and the T20 generation, we are stuck, the One Day generation- confused and unsure about our existence!

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