ICC Hall of fame – First list of players released!

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has just inducted a number of cricket legends into their very first hall of fame list. This move is part of the centenary celebrations planned by ICC and was well supported by FICA (Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations). Since, FICA was involved in the picking of players from the respective countries, there should not be much room for complaints.

The initial list (in the order of last name) of 55 players include the following:

Sydney Barnes
Bishan Bedi
Alec Bedser
Richie Benaud
Allan Border
Ian Botham
Geoffrey Boycott
Donald Bradman
Greg Chappell
Ian Chappell
Denis Compton
Colin Cowdrey
Kapil Dev
Sunil Gavaskar
Lance Gibbs
Graham Gooch
David Gower
WG Grace
Tom Graveney
Gordon Greenidge
Richard Hadlee
Walter Hammond
Neil Harvey
George Headley
Jack Hobbs
Michael Holding
Leonard Hutton
Rohan Kanhai
Imran Khan
Alan Knott
Jim Laker
Harold Larwood
Dennis Lillee
Ray Lindwall
Clive Lloyd
Hanif Mohammad
Rodney Marsh
Malcolm Marshall
Peter May
Javed Miandad
Keith Miller
Bill O’Reilly
Graeme Pollock
Wilfred Rhodes
Barry Richards
Viv Richards
Andy Roberts
Garfield Sobers
Brian Statham
Fred Trueman
Derek Underwood
Clyde Walcott
Everton Weekes
Frank Woolley
Frank Worrell

Rodney Marsh, the legendary Australian wicket keeper, was the first one to receive the commemorative cap that’s being given to the hall of fame legends or their relatives.

ICC will keep updating this list from time to time. Definitely, a number of players who are playing right now or retired hardly a few years ago should figure in there. Examples being Steve Waugh, Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Mutthiah Muralidharan, Anil Kumble, Glen McGrawth, Wasim Akram (I could pick another 50 easily) etc…

Cricket and Politics: A Rebel ICC Cannot be Ruled Out!

Ijaz Butt, the PCB Chairman has issued a warning against the countries that are not willing to tour the sub-continent. He says that ‘No touring to those countries, if they don’t play here’.

We all can understand his sentiments as Pakistan has not hosted any international cricket teams of late due to the political turbulence there. More over, the Champions Trophy got postponed as nobody was willing to play there. To make things worse, the Indian tour to Pakistan early next year, in all probabilities will not go through due to the alleged Pakistan links in last week’s terror attack in Mumbai.

India would have liked to laugh at PCB’s plight but unfortunately they are not sitting pretty either. Since the bomb blast last week, things have changed for bad, for India as a whole and not just for BCCI. At the moment, India (like Pakistan earlier) doesn’t seem to be one of the safest places to be in and this can harm not only cricket but more importantly investments in India and India’s long term relationships with other countries. So it is not a BCCI thing alone for a change!

Possible Impacts due to the Current Situation

(1) It is almost clear that India wouldn’t tour Pakistan further due to the changing political situation and the Parliament elections due in another four months. The politicians will play their situational politics very well and these two wonderful cricket playing nations, who resumed bilateral series in 2004 after a gap of long 14 years, may go to no-talking mode again!

(2) In every probability the test series against England will not go through and hence any major teams visiting India in the next few months is pretty grim.

(3) The worst thing: People are even talking about the World Cup 2011 not happening in the sub-continent, which is a possibility! More importantly with the current political set up anyway, India and Pakistan (even Bangladesh, may be) teams may not play in each other’s land.

(4) Even if India and Pakistan play it down for the time being and are willing to negotiate, the Australian, England, New Zealand and even South African teams may not be traveling here… This ultimately can result in a split whereby the sub-continent teams can really form a rebel league and the others stay with ICC.

I only hope that common sense will prevail and people somehow delink politics and sports though it is easily said than done!

Off Topic: I personally feel that out of the four sub-continent teams, only Sri Lanka is really fighting the terrorism within where as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh politicians are playing with the sentiments of people.

It is all about Money – WICB doesn’t have It, The English players want More, Symonds ready to settle for Less

Cricket is ‘flourishing’ where money is… India is the fastest growing economy among the cricket playing nations and that is reflecting in the way the game is played and paid as well. While other cricketing boards and players are crying for money to save cricket the BCCI’s pockets are always full!

West Indies Cricket Board in trouble

The WICB has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a loan of US $3 million, to save cricket in that part of the world with a great cricketing past. How painful is it watch West Indies cricket degrading the way it did over the past ten years or so. In the rat race between those who have money, the WICB seems to have lost out! One of the issues that the ICC and WICB themselves need to look into is whether the West Indian countries and islands now need to seperate out and form individual international teams?

English players want the IPL ‘experience’

The likes of Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen have come out openly to state that they want to play the Indian Premier League (IPL) season II. Andrew Flintoff feels that the IPL has given a lot of experience to the Indians and done good to their cricket but who doesn’t know that they are after money?

The English Cricket Board, in the meantime, has clearly indicated that those who want to play IPL may do so at the cost of their central contracts. Looks like, the board has learned a lesson or two after several counties got involved with the rebel ICL and was on the verge of legal actions from ICL earlier this year.

Andrew Symonds ready to settle for a low pay?

It seems Andrew Symonds offered to ‘work’ for a contract lowered by $250,000 this year as a discount towards his off-field activities. The Australian board however, stressed that the sportspersons on international duty should be responsible enough to understand their roles and hence no cuts for the time being. Cricket fraternity feels that Symonds may still retain his contract this year as well, despite some ‘minor’ behavioral issues.

Well, he can afford to loose $250,000 a year as his income from IPL may compensate that or even more.

With the IPL and cash rich BCCI flexing their muscles, the world wide cricketing bodies and players seem to suffer more. I think it’s time BCCI realized where to draw the line. The money power has definitely got into their heads and even trying to influence ICC every now and then. The latest examples being (1) the warning to ICC against the Gautam Gambhir test ban, though everyone knew that the player was guilty, and (2) requesting the English Board to postpone the first test match by a day because it happens to be just a day after the Champions Twenty20 league final (where Dhoni might play, just in case Chennai Super Kings qualify for the final). It’s a shame on cricket that BCCI’s schedules are taking precedence over the ICC Test match schedules that were scheduled months and years back! It’s all about Money!!!

Tail Piece: The economic slowdown is showing on cricket stars’ pay and sponsorships as well. The Pak board is all set for a pay-cut on the players contracts this year. Others may follow as well?

Under-19 ICC Worldcup round up

The ICC Under-19 World Cup pool matches have been just completed. The first round saw the dominance of sub-continent teams with all of them – Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – leading the group tally, definitely reinstating the fact that kids pick the game early in this part of the world. Also, Bangladesh managed to register an upset win over England in a low scoring encounter.

The event so far has been built around very low-scoring matches. The reason could be the presence of a number of mediocre teams. The knockout round or super-league is where the game actually starts and we might get to see two or three close matches there.

I was trying to pick myself a favourite or well-balanced team but unfortunately I couldn’t pick any as yet. The Australian and South African sides were disappointing though they had a batsman or a bowler respectively in the top ranks. There are couple of performers in all teams, either in the bowling department or batting but no balanced composition. But as an overall package, the Indian team coached by Dave Whatmore looks promising. ICC under 19 world cup logoHowever, the Indian batsmen’s aggressive approach is more influenced by the Twenty 20 format and I doubt if any of them will make it to the national test squad in the coming years. There are three or four Yuvraj Singh like batsmen but sad not to find any Dravid or Laxman like personality yet. The Indian test team middle order soon will have to be satisfied with couple of one-day players when the big four retires. Hard-hitting opening batsman Kohli, Tanmay Srivastava, wicket keeper batsman Shreevats Goswami and captain Virat Kohli were impressive from batting point of view. The bowling department looked weaker and I didn’t find anybody particularly exciting including the left-arm spinner Iqbal Abdulla. So more or less its batting wins matches for India.

England seems to have a wonderful pair of opening pace bowlers. Steven Finn and James Harris pair looked like they will make it to their national squad soon. They also have a batsman with an excellent temperament in the form of Billie Godleman. So England is my second favourite team and also credits to them due to the presence of two or three test quality players. Though Srilanka and Pakistan dominated their groups, neither of the teams looked balanced. The much hyped Umar Akmal (brother of Pakistani wicket keeper batsman Kamran Akmal) was not that impressive and no Pakistani pacers were really impressive – at least nobody like Anwar Ali (I still wonder why he is not in the Pakistan national squad yet) from the last Under-19 world cup winning team. Also Srilanka might not get to see another Chaminda Vaas, Muralidharan or Kumar Sangakkara in the near future. West Indies however seems to have a good opening batsman, Adrian Bharat, who have impressed Brian Lara a few years back itself though we are yet to see him leading his team’s batting from the forefront in this event.

Looking forward to the knockout games where we may get to see some good matches when teams of similar bandwidth rub against each other.