Thursday, February 14, 2013

What ails Indian Home Cricket - 5 C Effect ?

Hello Friends,

I have been away from this forum for a few months and in the time I was away, Indian Cricket lost it's way losing the first ever home series to England in decades and might do that again to Australia very soon.

England maul India - A sign of times to come ?

It pains an Indian fan to see their team bullied in home conditions and when their team does not even offer a token of fight. While reams have been written about how lucky we were to have great middle order batsmen and a legendary leg spinner playing together and how once the great players retire, the decay inevitably sets in - this article is an attempt to not look at those, but look at a few perhaps (overlooked ) factors that are causing the trouble.

Ever since IPL has ushered in the new era of professional cricket in India, there have been a few un-intended side effects . I am not going to moan about 20-20 and the instant commercial gratification. It boils down to 5 C effect - they are :

Humidity In Chennai - Not a problem !
 1. Conditions - India had been a land of mystery for a lot of people till late. For cricketers from outside India, the conditions here were a HUGE factor that they needed to adjust. It could be the humidity in Chennai, fog in Delhi and Kolkata, the road drives in Cutack,the sweltering heat in Jaipur etc. Thanks to the IPL, these are now known and experienced first hand each year. The novelty does not exist and the foreign teams can easily get used to the conditions when they come touring.

Partisan crowd - not a factor any more
2. Crowd - Most of the cricketers outside India hardly have the experience of playing before large crowds. It plays on your nerves when 100K supporters are baying for your blood and appealing or start cheering every run scored by the home team. The "crowd-mastering" art too is now in the foreign players' scrap book based on their experience of visiting India every year.

3. Culture - When you travel across India, you would need to get used to different kinds of  culture that might include getting used to local cuisine. We grew up hearing stories of "upset stomach" of English men and others that played a role in their defeats earlier. In this time and age, it cannot happen as perhaps the visiting players are aware of the restaurants that serve their own food thanks to their IPL experience and explorations.

4. Coaches - With every IPL team employing the "No Indian Coach" policy, the foreign coaches have entered the system and have gained very valuable insights of the local conditions, players, emerging Indian players etc. which can easily be tapped into by the national teams.

Watmore and Moody - pass the local knowledge back ?
5. Cricket - Finally, the last and the most powerful C - Cricket itself. The awareness of how to adjust to low bounce pitches ,spinning tracks, diving across the barren outfields, variations that exist within the Indian bowlers (Ashwin's Carrom ball for example ) are no longer theory - the touring players get invaluable match knowledge when playing here.

While I do not claim that this is an exhaustive list, I tend to think that there is some truth in why foreign teams do not mind touring India any more due to some of these factors. BCCI on the other hand imposes a ban on Indian players playing in outside leagues there-by killing any chances of our players becoming better ones. I am all for free trade and players plying their skills before they get to retire, but it should be a mutual experience and not one-way as it is currently where players can only come to India and not vice-versa.

Let me know what you think.

Until next time.

- Pavan

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