For Indian board, 'tamasha' comes before serious cricket

Wouldn't playing the Duleep Trophy have helped Sehwag and Gambhir?India, Oct. 21 -- While the Champions League is failing to create any waves, much to the disappointment of many loyal champions of the format and its loss-making owners, India's domestic season began sans its stars.

Those experts, who through their fawning, high decibel commentary, want you to believe that after the IPL, this clash of the "titans" is a perfect recipe for taking the game forward, are understandably silent on why our cricketers should give priority to this event over Duleep Trophy.

The argument for a Sachin Tendulkar, a Virender Sehwag or a Gautam Gambhir working their way to form while playing domestic cricket is a compelling one, especially in the light of India playing a four-Test series against England from the middle of November.

It is a series which for most is of vital significance, where India can showcase its "home" strength, much like England did against them last year. The 0-4 whitewash, the worst defeat in its cricket history, had left even its inveterate fans feeling betrayed and humiliated. Now that India gets an opportunity to hit back, it should be preparing for that series in earnestness and not let its players fiddle with a slam-bang tamasha, whose value only the profit-making sharks understand.

Bad preparation

That the Indian board is now a full-fledged corporate house would be stating the obvious. So, they must be more busy sorting out the Deccan Chargers issue than giving a serious thought to how best to prepare for the England series. Even the Duleep Trophy has been played on tracks where scoring runs is easier than blinking an eye.

Our stars in South Africa could well say that the worth of getting out to an ugly slog is equivalent to scoring a hundred on a dead track. Either way, it is bad preparation for the England series. Well, I have no counter to this sound logic.

In any case, whatever the preparations, India's strength at home is not how good they will play, but how bad England will be on our wickets. The answer, judging by past records, would be very discouraging for England. So, why waste time on a well thought-out buildup to the series. Better, instead, to watch bowlers trying their best not to let the batsmen hammer the ball out of sight in faraway South Africa.

If that is not entertainment enough, still better is to get into a fiery debate on why a majority of the Australians are against Tendulkar getting their country's civilian honour? If in future India decides to honour an Australian with our own Padma award, make sure he isn't a cricketer, especially not someone like Matthew Hayden!

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.


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