Spare players, spectators and broadcasters unnecessary trouble
Till a few years ago, cricket used to be a seasonal game. Now it is an all-weather game — be it the height of the summer or the middle of the monsoon.
The forgettable one-off Test between India and Bangladesh at Fatullah saw virtually two days of action only and posed some important questions regarding the scheduling of the match during the rainy season for the first time in the 15-year history of Bangladesh Test cricket.
Why was the match squeezed in at this time when the weather forecast was known much in advance? It was bad publicity for the game. In a rare occurrence, not a single day could witness the full quota of 90 overs being bowled. It was surprising that the respective cricket boards did not learn from their past mistake of conducting a three-match one-day series in the country around the same time last year.
Apprehension of rains was the reason behind the provision for reserve days for the three ODIs. Evidently, limited-over cricket holds more charm for the spectators and is the real money spinner.
But spare a thought for the players who wait for an eternity to showcase their wares and then have to come on and off the field repeatedly. The inconvenience faced by the spectators and the losses incurred by the broadcasters were the other issues that must have caused considerable concern to the authorities.
Any milestone achieved inder such circumstances mostly earns the players individual glory. For example, the fine partnership put up by century-makers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay, the selfless knock of Ajinkya Rahane or the exciting performance put up by the two Indian off-spinners R. Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh, bowling in tandem, served little purpose for the team from a broader perspective.
It is ironical that despite having a good chance of pocketing the Test under normal circumstances, India slid to the fourth place in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings only because of the rain-induced draw.
“In this game, we literally had only two days of proper cricket and we cannot judge ourselves on that. We can judge ourselves on how we played in whatever time we had and that was pretty good,” said India captain Virat Kohli. Clearly, a player is helpless as far as scheduling is concerned.
Asked whether the Indian cricket board (BCCI) should have a look at the scheduling, Kohli tried to play it down.
“Well, you can speak to them about it. See, you cannot control the weather. You cannot schedule games according to the thought that it might rain or it might not rain. You schedule the game and then if it rains, you carry on and do what you have to do and play whatever is left of the game. That is part of being an international sportsman as well. You do not always have conditions perfect to play in.”
Kohli does not mind having a reserve day for the Tests though, especially when it gives a team that is in winning position a fair chance to close it out.
It’s time the Board showed prudence while drawing up the calendar.