Revival of Test Cricket

India is always considered as a cricket-loving nation. India’s journey to fame of cricket was not so easy. Fans worship their favorite cricketers next to God. Recently, there was news that the MCC and ICC are worried about Test Cricket, and think its in trouble. Yes, there is no doubt to it. We all know that Test Cricket is a real talent test for any cricketer in the world. But what I see from here, test cricket will eventually become somewhat similar to the proverbial goldfish swimming in a bowl, players playing in an empty stadium or for the benefit of those who can subscribe to media carrying the highlights.

Don’t Blame BCCI & ICC:

For those, who are constantly criticizing BCCI and ICC for introducing IPL. I really don’t understand how a two-year-old baby of cricket can destroy 130 yr old tradition of cricket. In England T20 is played from a long time, why not cry for that?

I am a big fan of Test Cricket when it’s played at the highest level but that doesn’t mean I just shun off other versions of cricket too. I doubt any T20 would have given you the thrill the last moments of the drawn Ashes Test or the Test-saving innings from Laxman-Dravid against Aussies.

Makeover: There are many ways that ICC shall adopt so as to make test cricket amazing and pull the attention of cricket lovers back. Here are some of the ways I would suggest.

1.      Introducing an International Test Championship

2.      Making sporting pitches, not the deathbeds for bowlers mostly seen on the subcontinent

3.      Allow substitutions to make it more interesting at least in the 3rd and 4th innings, so teams can adapt mid-way. Imagine defending a 120 run target with 7 bowlers

4.      Allow day-night versions of test cricket. The crowd will start pouring in.

5.      Performance-based points/payments for Test cricket.

Although some of the above-mentioned points seem to be ridiculous at first glance, but you never know which might hit the jackpot.

We need to make sure that Test cricket will not die – but will change and become more exciting.

What do you think? How can Indian cricket play a role in reviving the oldest form of cricket?

Postpone IPL: Is it the only solution?

IPL or Elections

There is a national debate going on throughout the country, whether the Indian Premier League (IPL) Cricket tournament scheduled from 10th April 2009 should be postponed due to security concerns as the dates clash with 15th general elections  or to  go with both events simultaneously. Recently, our home minister voiced concern over terror threats on both of these events.

Earlier, it was believed that terrorists would never attack cricketers or cricket matches in the sub-continent as it will bother the sentiments of this cricket crazy part of the world. But, the Lahore terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team disproved this conventional notion. And looking at the impact of those attacks, any fool can predict that the next terror strike could be on the high profile cricket event IPL to be held next month in India. And it makes it even worse for security agencies that this event of tremendous public interest clashes with another major event with heavy public involvement – the general elections. For a huge democratic country like India general elections would be the event of utmost priority and no cricket tournament is bigger than elections. The constitutional requirement is that the general elections to the Indian Parliament were due before May 2009, which has to be fulfilled. So it is very much clear that elections are going to be held as per there schedules.

If we look at arranging both the events simultaneously then it will be a tough job for our security forces.  Making security arrangements for the elections in the rural and urban areas is always a very difficult task. And also, the level our political parties can go down to in the crucial election periods if there are lapses in the security arrangements is not a very big secret. And to conduct polls in such a huge region, we require our entire force. So it will be tough for our security agencies to protect IPL at the same time.

West Bengal and Punjab already said that go for IPL if you don’t want security for elections, Andhra and Delhi denied the security while Maharashtra and Rajasthan asked for central forces, which means they are not providing the state police forces for IPL. There could be another reason behind this stand taken by above states. Most of these states are Congress-led and it may be the anxiety of Congress not to step down before Sharad  Pawar, who’s the honcho of cricket in India along with a ministry in UPA cabinet  and can also be playing the major role in preventing the professional judgment in above matter. Also, the IPL chief Lalit Modi is close to Vasundhara  Raje (BJP). We have seen what happened to him in Rajasthan as soon as the government altered from BJP to Congress in Rajasthan. T he stand taken by these states might be just an extension of that. But, no matter what, the security of the life and property of common citizens along with the pride of the country, should not be put up on stake. If we do not postpone IPL and go on with these two major events simultaneously with some changes sought by IPL organizers and if there would be any attack on any event due to lack of security, then this will be a major setback for us. As we are hosting some major sporting international events in upcoming years, including the Commonwealth Games(one of the reasons of Delhi’s fast track development) and the Cricket World Cup 2011, our authorities should be much more careful and sensible in taking such decisions.

Taking a look at the other side of the coin, if we go on to postpone IPL, it will be a win for terror groups and looking at IPL’s prospect, a large commercial loss as they are just one month away from the tournament. It will be close to impossible for organizers to hold this event at some other time of the year, as ICC’s schedule for international teams would keep most players out of it and climates then would not favour the game. One more thing we should not forget that cricket and IPL earn some reputation for India, though they are not bigger than our democratic identity

What’s the bigger picture here? What’s the issue of concern here? Is this politics or is this security concern?

Whatever it is that is happening, what is more important here is a sensible decision that all the concerned authorities need to consider in benefit of all.

So, we have to find some alternatives to the concerned situation. We still have some amount of time and better cricketing infrastructure at our hand to manage the tournament. Ultimately, it is the home ministry who’s doing to decide the faith of IPL. The picture will be all clear in few weeks. But, I still feel that security should be given prime concern and elections are utmost important than any cricket tournament. We hope that our home ministry and IPL organizer come up with a more professional and practical solution.

What is your take on it?

Has the Indian Youth forgotten our first war of independence?

A survey carried out in various cities of India has revealed that today’s youths have forgotten its history and have no idea about what happened in the year 1857. For some, it signifies a car’s number plate. While for others, it’s a year when riots took place. There are those for whom dates don’t matter at all, only personalities like Mahatma Gandhi do. Then comes the ones who, in their wide embrace of history, attribute the events of 1857 to Bhagat Singh and Shivaji.Many historians called this First War of Independence as a ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ of 1857. For them, it was just a bunch of Indian sepoys (soldiers) who had mutinied. They largely failed to recognise the involvement of a vast section of Indian society that took part in this struggle. Peasants and nobles all were involved.

The Revolt of 1857It may be the First War of Independence, but it is a mutiny the nation seems to be in a hurry to forget. Several political parties and the government talked a lot about the year-long celebrations planned (starting May 10, last year) to mark the 150th anniversary of the 1857 revolt, but in the time of Indian Premiere League (IPL) and other more mundane things, the ‘1857 struggle’ appears to have failed to stir the imagination of the country. The struggle, which is an example of the unity, in which people from various sections of the society participated unitedly.

But our political parties are just not interested in the ‘unity’ aspect of the struggle and all of them individually carried out few events and processions suiting their ideology. The government flagged off Azadi Express, a train showcasing the events of the struggle, ‘freedom movement chair’, event in Meerut last year and some processions in New Delhi. But our political parties used this occasion to direct their guns at the rivals. Sitaram Yechury took his usual dig at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for having stayed away from the freedom struggle, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), obviously, cannot be part of any observations and celebrations of that glorious history of Indian people’s struggle. If that is the case then let me tell you that neither did communist took part in the freedom struggle, nor did the Congress in the current shape.(Congress has been divided so many times that the Congress, which was there during the freedom struggle is not the one that we have today). Neither you nor me participated in the movement, but then can’t we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the struggle?

I strongly feel that we should keep politics aside in the matter of national interest. Why blame only Communist Part of India (Marxists) (CPM), even BJP and Congress are also no saint in this. Uttar Pradesh holds a key place in the First War of Independence, but the chief minister seems to have forgotten the occasion. On May 13, the Mayawati government celebrates the completion of its one year in office. But while the state gears up for a round of pomp and pageantry to celebrate the achievement of the state’s first woman chief minister, Uttar Pradesh has forgotten another woman’s sacrifice – Rani Laxmi Bai. In the entire anniversary year, the state government organised only one rally in Lucknow in May 2007. People in cities like Meerut, Lucknow, Kanpur and Jhansi, which were focal points of the revolt , does not even know about the significance of May 10. A senior culture department official told a leading newspaper in an interview that out of the rupees three crore sanctioned for the 1857 anniversary programmes in 2007-08, only Rs50 lakh had been utilised. There is no prize for guessing where the rest of amount must have been utilised.
India’s First War of Independence carried on as late as 1859, while in some instances before it was finally over. A number of heroes and heroines of the India’s First War of Independence have been immortalised for their fight against the British rule.

But we have forgotten them. There is a common saying, “History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.”

“Shaheedon ki chitaaon par lagenge har baras mele. Watan pe mitne waalon ka yahi baaki nishaan hoga.” Isn’t it true?

If you are interested in reading more about the First War of Independence, refer-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Mutiny
http://1857mutiny.com/