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‘Who’s On First?’


Some say it became obvious when India last toured Australia and, as commented last year, the jig was certainly up for me when Australia toured a ‘developing’ West Indies last July.  Save for the heroics of Ponting in the First Test and Symonds through the series, the final two-love score would have been quite different.  In its’ wake, a decade-long improbable consideration soon began to gain ground.

The matter of Australia’s decline is now no longer on the table, however the international game has been thrown a curveball as to which nation now sits on the throne.

From where I stand it’s India by a country mile having been the only team to have consistently kept the kangaroos off-balance during their reign and, in their most recent series win, virtually laying out the blue-print to the rest of the world as to how it could be done (e.g. bowling varieties, patient batting and unorthodox field placements).

The ICC doesn’t see it that way and South Africa are making hay as I write playing from the get-go with the confidence of a student who knows all the answers before the exam has begun.  I’m not implying cheating in any way, it’s just one of those sporting injustices that gives an advantage to the ‘follower’ (e.g. the first putter picking a rough angle and missing allowing his partner to opt for a less-risky option). 

Taking the lead brings advantage (and often victory) in most sporting events and any points-system should take this into account.  The ATP has long explained (and taken some heat for) the complex nature of its points award system which takes into account victory significance.  Having recently adapted the ‘players challenge’ from the tennis tour, maybe it’s time for international cricket to also take up this other aspect of that other once-genteel game’s operations.

Side bar:  In light of Mr. Ganguly’s recent comments, I’ve noted that the only persons not ceding the No.1 title to India are Indians.  This is wrong-headed and the largely anglo press shall soon oblige.

I know there’s the modesty and lowered-expectations game to be played but as Richards and Healey will tell you, if you don’t back yourself don’t hold out for anyone else to do so.
In short: C‘Mon India.  ‘Big-up’ y’self mon.

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