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Resident Evil – virus attacks Cricket

October 16, 2008

Raccoon city – In an underground research facility called ‘The Hive’, a deadly mutating virus, codenamed ‘T-virus’ is unleashed turning every human into a flesh-eating zombie. By the end of the movie, the virus has escaped the confines of ‘The Hive’ and infected Raccoon City with the promise of annihilating the world’s population. More at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120804/plotsummary

BCCI Headquarters, Mumbai – India – In a dinghy office building, a deadly virus, codenamed and trademarked as ‘T20 virus’ is developed and released into the world by its creator – Lalit Modi. It ravages the cricket world in a matter of a season, with seemingly few visible symptoms. Those with skill and techniques with ideas of glorious combats against talented opponents in white clothing are consumed immediately, left to be celebrated posthumously. The virus galvanizes those with mediocre talent and a taste for celebrity, letting them build reputations based on off-field antics and snazzy haircuts. It sweeps across the cricket world, consuming boards and their sense of responsibility to the game. Those that loved the original format of the game, are reduced to hiding in alleys and ditches, huddling together for some protection as the hordes (crazed fans of the primetime version), run amok devouring everything in their path.

The BCCI is now paying off other cricket boards to buy up their cricketing calendars to remove minor hindrances like test series to ensure maximum participation in the IPL. Lalit Modi, the ‘Moses’ of cricket (quoting Ravi Shastri), now appears on television commercials as a brand ambassador for a telecom service provider, talking, in a stilted and manufactured manner, about triumphing against adversity. And in Dubai, the ICC meeting discusses the Indian Cricket League (ICL) issue before any other matter. The hordes have spoken. Cricket is dying.

The BCCI, and Lalit Modi’s reasoning is straightforward. The more players of international stature don the psychedelic cricketing gear of the various IPL franshises, the more people will tune in, and the more money, the media rights will fetch them. Since getting the big names depends on the co-operation of the respective cricket boards, it makes sense to share the largesse to ensure that the only ones objecting to the marginalization of test cricket, are those that give a damn about the sport.

What now? There is no way all test-playing nations can play each other in meaningful series over 5 year time-frame set by the ICC. One of two things will need to happen (for the money machine to thunder on) – increase the duration over which teams are expected to play each other thus ensuring that the ‘un-cool’, read low TRP combinations will play each other probably once or twice a decade. Two – the requirement in number of test matches will be reduced and 1 or 2-match series will be plugged into ODI or T20 tournaments, where convenient.

Either way, test cricket will become an inconvenient ritual conformed to at The Ashes and maybe some India-Australia games to ensure the marketability of the Australian cricketers in the graveyard of cricket (India, of course).

This is no movie. The hordes are coming. It’s only a matter WHEN, not IF anymore

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Ramakrishnan Bala permalink
    October 16, 2008 3:54 pm

    Very good article on the possible “death” of test cricket.. No doubt, we will very soon see “RIP to Test Cricket”, thanks to the ineptness of the ICC.

  2. Krishna permalink
    October 17, 2008 2:41 am

    Calling India the graveyard of cricket is absolute bollocks. The T20 was invented by England and only after the ICL came up, the IPL was formed. So Lalit Modi calling the IPL as his invention is a bit naive and Ravi Shastri calling him Moses of cricket is stupid to say the least. And BTW, the India-Australia match at Bangalore had the highest TV ratings for a test match in India. If the test match is a good one, Indians do turn up to watch it. The IPL had good crowds only because some really good players were part of it. Look at the ICL, it has not caught up because it still hasn’t the players who can bring in crowds. BCCI becoming a super power in cricket is simply because they have a good market in India and there are a lot of Indians in Test playing nations so that even when India tour there, the crowds come in.

  3. October 20, 2008 9:51 am

    Thanks Rama

    Krishna, my post refers to the medium-long term where the gap between the truly gifted and the merely good will narrow because of the confines of t20. A pan across the empty stands at the Mohali test match highlights that point.

  4. October 21, 2008 2:25 am

    I totally agree that it is a matter of when.
    The writing has been on the wall for sometime now, it is us to blame for being in denial.

    Hard hitting and the unpalatable truth for many,
    as usual, – I am pinching this for Silly Points.

  5. Chinmay permalink
    October 31, 2008 12:27 am

    You missed an intriguing opening scene.

    It has to be remembered, that BCCI originally opposed the T20 world cup, and were defeated 9-1 (or something like that) in favour of hosting the T20 World Cup.

    That reluctance to take part in T20 WC was reflected by the team composition — full of emerging players and test rejects, apart from a few key players like Harbhajan Singh — and they somehow won it.

    The rest, as they say, is history (which might go on to make test cricket history too, come to think of it)

    BTW, I think you are being a bit harsh on BCCI here regarding making other countries cancel their test plans… the England – Sri Lanka tour wasn’t in the FTP. There was absolutely no reason to schedule that tour apart from the fact that UK government was refusing to give Zimbabwe players visa. I believe IPL is not going to have any issues with the 2011 England tour of Sri Lanka which is in the FTP (although we’ll see if that is really the case when the time comes)

  6. October 31, 2008 3:36 pm

    Chinmay, I don’t deny there is some hyperbole in my post. Maybe the IPL will not reduce test cricket to a non-event, but I am fairly certain about its negative impact on Indian cricket, as it’ll become a lot more fashionable to get into a IPL side than to graft your way into a Ranji side and then into the test team.

  7. Chinmay permalink
    November 1, 2008 2:04 am

    Yes, I do agree that IPL will be more glamorous than the Ranji Trophy, and BCCI certainly needs to take some steps to prevent that from happening. They do have a regional quota for all the IPL sides and all, but it remains to be seen whether that will really work.

    What concerns me the most is the under-21 players required to be fielded by the side. This may look great opportunity at grooming youngsters, but good older players from Ranji Trophy are certainly missing out on the IPL boom due to the under 21 player quotas for the franchises. That is an area which needs to be addressed.

    One thing about whether IPL will affect the tests though… in India, the appeal of foreign cricketers, and even Indian cricketers comes mainly from their performances in their national side. It wouldn’t be profitable for senior national team players to ignore their country at all, if they are to remain marketable to IPL. Obviously, there will be a bit of upheaval in the calender in the beginning, but in the long term, I would expect some sort of balance to be stuck, but we’ll see what happens on that front.

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