It is rather unfortunate that Indian cricket fans don’t understand the higher motives of our cricket establishment. In a show of true democracy and freedom of speech, people of India have protested the ‘bad’ performance of the Indian cricket team in SA. Effigies have been made and effigies have been burnt. Cow dung has been smeared on name plates. Peoples representatives in the Parliament have voiced the public’s concerns and have even threatened to table a Privilege motion against the visionary coach of our cricket team. Blogosphere has been inundated with posts criticizing the Men in Blue. On the one hand, all this is quite satisfying, that the Indian democracy is thriving, but on the other it is very dissappointing that our democracy and fredom of speech are all for the wrong cause. Infact, even I was on the same side of the wall as the rest of the Indians in this matter till yesterday. But all that changed when I chanced upon a classified document last night.
The document is titled ‘Vision 2020’. At first I wondered why our dear APJ’s vision is lying around (and that too as a classified document) in the BCCI office. Then I realised that BCCI could have a vision of its own for Indian circket. When I had started reading it, I realised 2020 is not the year 2020 but 20/20 cricket.
This in brief is the vision of our cricket administrators\coaches\players. In the next 5 to 10 years 20/20 cricket will be the most popular cricket form. Test matches would more or less be extinct. One day matches would be of lesser importance than they are today. No other cricket team in the world realizes this. To completely dominate the cricket for the next fifty years as the Australians are presently doing, we need to embark on a well thought out plan. Never mind if we keep losing for the next 4 to 5 years. Some battles must be sacrificed to win the war.
So, what is the plan? In 20/20 cricket, a team has to bat for only 20 overs. So, we have to optimize the batting pace such that we score as much as possible even at the loss of all the wickets in the 20 overs. We are slowly perfecting this aspect, as can be seen from the previous three ODIs, in which Indian batting lasted 29.1, 41.3 and 38.1 overs respectively. When 2020 arrives, cricket would resemble more with the American tribal game, Baseball. So, we need to have people who can hit sixes every other ball. Again our team is making progress. Scoring through singles will be of no use in 2020. So to practise for this, our team has stopped scoring singles even if the asking rate is around 5. Our coaches also take pride in inventing new batting techniques. For example, we now have people who can play tennis shots with a cricket bat.
There is also talk that like in Baseball, three strikes will be given to each batsman before he is declared out and it is needless to say our batters (batsmen in the old lingo) are trying to make full use of this provision. The pitching (bowling in the old lingo), though hasn’t seen much progress. But we have surely taken a big stride in improving the affairs. Talk is that like in baseball, only full tosses will be allowed in 2020. This will solve the problem of ‘bad’ pitches that we have seen in recent years including the ones in last month’s Champions’ trophy. Hence, our bowlers are now practising on 24 yard pitches so that when we do play on 22 yard ones, all the balls would be volleys. To give an example, Zaheer Khan who was extremely slow in learning, used to consistently bowl ‘good’ yorkers. But unlike others, he hadn’t recognized the changing contours of international cricket and hence was dropped out of the team. And see the results now. After intense coaching in hitech labs, he has rectified his bad habit and now bowls only full tosses at waist height. Sreesanth is a quick learner as the selectors pointed out when he was selected. And sure he is. Only full tosses.
I have revealed more than I intended to. There is now the danger that other countries will also embark on such paradigm shifts and thwart our plans for world domination. But, I could no longer stand the effigies (being made ever more realistically) of our great visionaries being burnt everyday, their name plates being smeared with Cow dung (however religious Cows are to Indians) and so on and so forth.