Musings by Shekhar Nambiar
It is a sign of the times we live in!
Sixes have become the new paradigm for cricket. Without the lofty hits, no team can be victorious in cricket anymore.
Cricket’s new avatar
Everything about cricket, thanks to its IPL avatar, has changed.
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From powerful sixes, physical agility, nay antics, to new umpiring rules, including DRS reviews and frequent replay calls, have changed the game of cricket forever. It is not a mere game anymore. It’s become one large circus. Remember Kerry Packer? They called his business model Packer’s circus.
Everything about the game has changed, and most unnecessarily. But at the end of the day, if everyone has and can make money, then so be it.
Old gives way to new
Physical fitness is one thing, but it need not be at the expense of the gentleness and goodness of the game of cricket.
The early-white outfit displayed purity, the game being played on a relaxed and lazy afternoon. Now they are all colourful and dazzling, more like baseball. Also, the powerful strokes and hits are akin to that popular game of America.
One can’t but help remember big hitters from days of yore. Names such as Victor Thomas Trumper. The Australian player’s versatility and match-winning abilities, even on a wet wicket, were stuff that legends were made of. Although his compatriot Sir Don Bradman was more widely known, the lesser flamboyant players showed skills and prowess in a far more compelling and difficult era.
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In our country, many powerful and classic players just faded into oblivion for want of opportunities.
Today, with more exposure to different players and conditions, players literally lord over cricketing bodies, even setting their own terms.So much so, the celebrities among cricketers are known to have nipped the careers of many a player in the bud.
Sixes and matches
As the subcontinent gets more and more caught up with the lucrative and ongoing IPL series, one thing that emerges clearly is not only the fast-paced manner that the game has metamorphosed into, but also stroke play and the seeming ease with which sixers flow out of the bat are the new norm.
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Sixes help teams win. The number of missed catches and clumsy fielding gives the impression that hard stroke play, and the number of sixes or boundaries that are hit, are what make the teams tick.
Yet another phenomenon that ordinary folk find it difficult to fathom is the way almost every match is dragged to the very end, sometimes till the last ball of the twentieth over.
Probably there’s something for everyone if the match has a thrilling, nail-biting finish.
The highly competitive element in modern-day cricket is welcome. Indian players are second to none and gone are the days when they were intimidated by the so-called more powerful sides.
The competitive spirit is evident from statements such as what the Guyanese Shimron Hetmyer made after his team’s victory over Gujarat Titans on Sunday. He said it was a sort of “revenge” for his team after their three defeats in the last IPL series.
I leave you with these thoughts. Cricket’s ways have most certainly changed, not necessarily always for the good of the game.
There’s more money in cricket but that’s about it!
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