Why big stars like Virat Kohli need to show more interest in domestic cricket
Cricket seems to have become a lesser priority for the BCCI.
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One is not sure how many people are watching the on-going cricket series between India and Sri Lanka. To say that it is boring would be an understatement. Following the exit of coach Anil Kumble and Ravi Shastri taking over, people did wonder how the team would perform.
Given the below par performance from Sri Lanka, with bat and ball, the Indians have already won the series. Runs have been scored by the tons and spinners Ravindra Jadeja and R. Aswhin have looked menacing.
With the series won in two Tests, Jadeja got pulled up and missed the final encounter. Not that it is going to make a huge difference but watching the proceedings have been difficult.
Even if you are a die-hard Test cricket fan, you will not watch contests like these. When India was on a roll in the last season at home, the 13 Tests did provide excitement, despite most of them not lasting a full five days.
Photo: Mail Today
What is hard to digest now is how the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has come up with a schedule like this at home from September.
Compared to the packed season last year, when 13 Tests, eight ODIs and three T20 matches were played, it guaranteed 76 days of possible cricket. The schedule this time is just three Tests, 11 ODIs and nine T20s.
Why the board has cut down the number of Test matches is quite inexplicable? Cricket seems to have become a lesser priority for the BCCI which day in and day out is only interested in causing delays and baulking recommendations from the Supreme Court appointed Justice RM Lodha panel.
For its part, the Committee of Administrators (CoA), now reduced to just two members, has been engaging with the BCCI needlessly. It has caused wastage of time and financial resources and one is left wondering what good the CoA has achieved till now.
To be sure, pure cricketing matters are the prerogative of the BCCI. If the drama over the ouster/exit of Kumble was an eyeopener as to how the BCCI likes to watch proceedings like a spectator, it has not shown vision in planning the calendar at home this season.
It’s not as if India are going to play the ICC World Cup next year and we need to prepare for it by playing more ODIs. Cutting on Tests is illogical. If you have got bored with watching Sri Lanka playing Test cricket at home, the Test series in India could well be a replay of boring cricket. But then, the BCCI seems to have been in no position to get better teams over.
Given India’s solid performance in 2016 at home, it would have been good to see more Tests played at home. An aggregate 30- day international season at home is inadequate compared to a budgeted 76 days last year.
Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand will be coming to India and the overdose of ODIs and T20 cricket seems to have been planned just to make up the days of cricket shown with the broadcaster. India should have strengthened its performances in Tests at home and that would have enabled Virat Kohli and the team play more cricket.
As it were, there is so much talk of bilateral series between two countries getting boring and counter-productive.
To keep the excitement going and also ensure the Indian side is sharp in the Test format, more days of cricket needed to be planned.
Quite often, there is talk of how domestic cricket at home gets boring. The format needs rejuvenation and with the dada players not taking part even if they are free, domestic cricket is shorn of glamour.
Abroad, when the star cricketers are not playing international cricket, they are encouraged to play matches in between. This not only keeps them sharp, but it also adds to the flavour of domestic competitions.
With such a weak ‘international’ calendar at home, the BCCI would do well to tell the star Indian players that they take part in Ranji Trophy cricket. It has been ages since Virat Kohli, R. Ashwin and the other big stars have shown up in domestic cricket.
At least, this way, domestic cricket at home can get a bit more exciting. It will also be a great learning opportunity for the youngsters who play domestic cricket and can learn the nuances from the big stars.
(Courtesy: Mail Today.)