The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup has been one of the most exciting events in recent times. There have been a few upsets where lower-ranked unfancied qualifiers have put it across established teams. Even on the final day of the group games, the Netherlands put a spirited performance to defeat South Africa and throw them out of the tournament. The cynics will once again use the ‘C’ word for the Proteas performances in multi-country events and this was yet another example of when the situation called for it, there was nobody to raise their hands to rescue the team.
Now that England have reached the semifinals some of their media, which was questioning the timing of the tournament where the winter has lingered on, should be a happier lot. Imagine questioning the tournament because England’s match got washed out when just three years back at the 50 0vers World Cup in England many games were rained off and some could not start because the outfield, which was not covered, was still wet and soggy for the umpires’ liking.
South Africa had missed out that time because the games could not start despite the rains having stopped. When you know that rains are quite regular in that country, there should have been an effort to give the crowd, which had paid good money, the chance to see some action by taking the precaution to cover the entire ground.
That didn’t happen despite the ICC giving good money to the country for hosting it. Therefore, it’s a bit rich to question the timing of the tournament because of unseasonal rains in Australia. It’s utterly laughable.
Equally amusing is the allegations from across both sides of our country’s border that India gets preferential treatment at ICC tournaments. The rules are the same for everyone and while there will always be a bit of a stretch in its interpretation, there is no preference towards India.
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The aim is always to try and give the crowds as well as those watching on TV as much action as possible and so umpires usually take calls to restart games even though the players may not be too happy about it. If anything, a wet outfield would be a big disadvantage to the fielding team for its fielders as well as the bowlers, who would have to bowl with a wet ball. The ball would also come on to the bat better as it would skid off the pitch, making it easier for the batsmen to play their shots.
Sadly, for Bangladesh it’s batsmen went for glory shots of sixes instead of playing smart cricket and running hard between the wickets. The Bangladesh batsmen were guilty of the same in their game against Pakistan, where after batting well in the first half of their innings they disintegrated playing some totally forgettable shots to end up with only 128 instead of around 160, which would have given their bowlers a great chance. Bangladesh would do well to look at their approach, which made them lose from winning positions than suggesting that the ICC favours India.
There were many instances in the tournament where if the old law — batsmen crossing each other when a catch being taken could retain the strike — was followed, then many a game would have had a different ending. Why this rule which creates quite a bit of excitement with both teams anxiously checking the TV replays to see if the batsmen crossed before the catch was completed has been changed is beyond understanding. It creates a bit of drama, which is always good for TV.
The other contentious one is that of fake fielding. If cricket is a game of deception where the bowlers are trying to get the batsmen out with deception and batsmen too trying to outsmart the bowlers by taking different guards and moving from side to side to deceive the bowler into bowling where they can hit him, then what’s wrong with a fielder faking he has got the ball in his hands when he actually doesn’t have it. This should be considered as part of the deception that the game has. For any of the laws/playing conditions to be changed the recommendation should come from the ICC Cricket Committee, which is a special committee comprising members representing all aspects of the game.
The MCC is the custodian of the Laws of cricket and not the ICC, but if the laws are going to be used all over the world where the game is played then shouldn’t the MCC law committee also include people from all over the globe?
This beloved game belongs to the world and not to any private club.