Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Kerry Packer and reinventing cricket

Tributes are pouring in for the man who was instrumental (that's underplaying his role) in changing cricket forever, and richly deserved encomiums are being lavished upon the intrepid entrepreneur who was known to be a somewhat inveterate gambler, in more ways than one. Thinking about the changes that World Series Cricket wrought in the cricketing world, directly or indirectly, one thing that stuck me was how all the innovations in cricket, for better or worse (which is always debatable), have come from outside the sub-continent. Mostly from England and Australia, some from the other two nations in the Southern Hemisphere. I would like to think the most recent innovations, the supersub and the powerplay, were inspired by ideas from the sub-continent, may be I'm missing something there. The innovations I'm talking about are those that change the way game is played, like the 30-yard circle and related restrictions, the consequent emergence of the pinch-hitter, the reverse sweep, the third umpire etc., and those that change the way the game is viewed - stumpcams, snickometer, hawk-eye, super slow-motion replays etc. The one change I can think of that perhaps was driven by India and Pakistan - certainly Imran Khan lobbied hard for it - was having neutral umpires. Considering the passion for the game, it is indeed surprising that something like Twenty20 didn't come from India. I'm not indulging in any self-flagellation here, just a thought, somewhat tangential to the topic of this post. Anybody have any insights into this (or indeed corrections to make)? Some may suggest, half-seriously, that we have invented whole new ways of selecting teams and individuals, and I'll have to agree with that ;) - NK


Blogger shakester said...

interesting thing to think about....
I think that a lot of the time post the cable boom and India becoming rich in cricket, the Board has just assumed what it has and will have. There does not seem to be the need or desire to constantly look at oneself. Frankly thoug, I'd rather they did the basics right than look to invent something new and make money out of it.
It is suprising a potential money spinner like Twenty20 has not caught on- though it is in no small meausre, I believe, because Dalmiya and Co's reluctance to embrace something that has come out of certain places...like England.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Gameboys said...

Apologies for the belated response, akr. Think you're right about the BCCI being caught up in a timewarp. I didn't think about the fact that their reluctance vis-a-vis Twenty20 had anything to do with the origins of the game, that's a new angle. Anyway, even some more of the pure cricketing innovations like slower balls, which could have happened without any board support, didn't really happen in India. May be it was because England and Aus, rather than the sub-continent were the one-day pioneers. Sounds strange now, though, doesn't it?

1:55 PM  

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