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Thread: Cricket going the hockey way??????

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    Hall of Fame Member honestbharani's Avatar
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    Cricket going the hockey way??????

    I read this interesting article today morning on Times of India newspaper discussing this issue.


    I can't find any links for it, but if you guys want, you can search for Times of India epaper and get into that site and check out the issues on 29th March 2007 and 30th March 2007...


    Basically, the writer was pointing out how India and Pakistan used to rule the roost in hockey. I am talking about field hockey here, not the American one, just to be clear.

    But what the writer said was that hockey used to be an artist's game and full of deft passes, nudges and stuff. It was a touch artist's game, basically, and heavily helped wristy guys. Therefore, India and Pakistan were always up at the top of the rankings there. But since the 1970s, major changes took place in hockey. Astro-turfs were brought in, power plays (hitting the ball a long way) and long passes etc. became common. Athleticism increased like ten times and India and Pakistan have, since then, basically been playing catch up to the rest of the world in hockey, while teams like Netherlands, Germany, Australia (is there a game they are not good at????) kept getting better and better. It has now come to such a level that neither India nor Pakistan are actually even looking like a team that can beat one of the top teams. The same individual skills are still there, as far as the Indian and Pakistani players are concerned, but the way the game is played has changed so much that their style is not rewarded at all now. And these two teams have struggled to attain the levels of fitness and power and precision in planning and execution, that is needed to challenge the top sides.


    The flip side is that hockey now contains, to a great extent, players of very similar styles and capabilities. Most of these guys dont miss too many easy opportunities but they dont exactly CREATE opportunities out of nowhere, either, which is what would make a fan go "WOW"... Basically, almost all players look very similar to a large degree and it has taken some of the charm from the game. (I am just saying what was written in the article here, these are not my opinions).


    And the writer said that right now, a similar change is happening in cricket too. The power plays have come in, Twenty20 is rapidly changing the face of ODI cricket, and you are seeing similar styled players coming through from most teams and being successful. Hayden and Smith or a De Villiers and a Clarke look rather similar. Athleticism is starting to be placed ahead of skill (????, not sure about that opinion of the author, tbh) and individualism is being slowly taken out of the game. So India should wake up to this reality as soon as possible and start to catch up to the Aussies, Kiwis and South Africans if they are to remain a competitive cricket side.



    This was the essence of the article. I thought it was an interesting comparison and an interesting article, even if I dont really agree with most of it. What do you guys think?? Is what the writer is saying true? Do you guys also see cricket slowly reaching a stage where only certain plans will work and that the game will become more and more predictable?



    Personally, I think as long as test cricket is around, the charm of the game would remain and teams like India etc., who are not all that fit and athletic, would still get a chance to compete on an even keel (to a certain extent) against the better word ethic sides. But I do agree that ODIs are starting to become more and more predictable (even tests, to an extent, with all these IN and OUT fields at situations like 200/3 on the first day when the spinner is bowling). In fact, I think even Twenty20, once the novelty wears down, will become predictable. So maybe some how, some kind of changes need to be done to avoid that. Also, India HAS to look at the fitness of its cricketers in order to stay competitve in world cricket.
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    Global Moderator nightprowler10's Avatar
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    This could probably apply to India and Pakistan in the shorter form of the game, but probably not in tests. Definitely heading that way in ODIs.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    I'm not sure why anyone would paint skill and fitness\athleticism as polar-opposites. Seems very bizarre to me.

    Said traits are a great advantage to most sportsmen. But equally, you can be good at certain aspects of cricket without any great athleticism.

    Would India and Pakistan do well to get more athletic? Hell yes, of course they would.

    Are ODIs going down the "predictable" route? I don't think so.
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    I agree with the lead post- too much athleticism starts to ruin the skill aspect of the game.


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    Hall of Fame Member honestbharani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    I'm not sure why anyone would paint skill and fitness\athleticism as polar-opposites. Seems very bizarre to me.

    Said traits are a great advantage to most sportsmen. But equally, you can be good at certain aspects of cricket without any great athleticism.

    Would India and Pakistan do well to get more athletic? Hell yes, of course they would.

    Are ODIs going down the "predictable" route? I don't think so.

    It is not just hockey, Richard. There was a time before Federer came along when virtually all tennis players looked like clones of each other, big serve, baseline game, power shots and great athleticism. The variety has gone missing in a no. of sports the world over now. Perhaps, because everyone is taking the safe option and trying to maximize their chances of winning that way. For instance, it would take some real courage for a Flintoff to have an attacking field for Panesar against India when bowling to Dhoni and Pathan, even if England were on top. But captains from the past might have done that, but today's captains are not as willing to risk losing to try and win a game. There is just too much premium on winning in all sports around the world, for me, and it is taking out a number of skills which made those said sports a pleasure to watch.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    I don't neccessarily count more conservative field-placing as making the game worse, personally.

    Put simply, there will always be aggressive captains and less aggressive ones. And different situations will always call for such things. I can't see that changing, ever.

    I'm not enough of an expert on the tennis situation to comment fully, but is not the improvement in racquet technology a big part in that?

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    Hall of Fame Member honestbharani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    I don't neccessarily count more conservative field-placing as making the game worse, personally.

    Put simply, there will always be aggressive captains and less aggressive ones. And different situations will always call for such things. I can't see that changing, ever.

    I'm not enough of an expert on the tennis situation to comment fully, but is not the improvement in racquet technology a big part in that?
    It is, and you can also argue that the improvement in bat technology (to the extent that Hayden can leading edge a ball over a really really big boundary at the IVA stadium in Antigua) has made captains rather conservative too.


    The point is, that, when variety is taken out of the game, it is just not as much fun to watch it. I would still like to see my country win (and I am sure all fans would be like that) but if it is not as much fun, I wont take time off my work to sit and watch the game. Winning is important, no doubt, but it shouldn't come at the cost of taking away the beauty of the game.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Indeed. Few truer phrases have been uttered than "variety is the spice of life". There are some things about cricket that I'd change, as I'm sure there are for all.

    However, the reality is that in some things you can't turn the clock back. That's been said hundreds of times in the great TV-in-cricket debate. It also applies in such areas as bat technology.

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    Hall of Fame Member honestbharani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Indeed. Few truer phrases have been uttered than "variety is the spice of life". There are some things about cricket that I'd change, as I'm sure there are for all.

    However, the reality is that in some things you can't turn the clock back. That's been said hundreds of times in the great TV-in-cricket debate. It also applies in such areas as bat technology.
    yeah, but are you telling me that there is NOTHING that can be done to bring it back to the game?


    I mean, the tennis experts talked about lengthening the grass court season at the cost of some hard court tournaments to bring back the variety. Something similar could be done here. NOt saying something MUST be done, but a bit of brainstorming wont harm, would it?

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    No, certainly not. I can't see a massive amount that can be done, though, personally. Not that I've not suggested before.

    Will more grass-court tournaments really get more serve-vollying?

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    International Coach pup11's Avatar
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    I think skill would always be the most important part of any cricketer's game, good athleticism, fitness and power are just a few good add on's to have.


    You can't expect a strong and athletic bloke with no talent to do well in cricket,

    Canas has beaten Federer twice in a fortnight so would that make Fed any lesser player, the answer is no because eventually he would overcome the odds with his skills, so skills always count thats it.

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    athletisicm is definitely becoming more and more vital in cricket these days...but i would like to think that it, too is a skill in itself. It brings about runs outs and amazind catchesw all of which are wonderful to watch TBH!

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    State Captain Nishant's Avatar
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    As for india and pakistan...both will go through a transitional period and will surely come back! Both countries love ODI cricket...every team goes through bad periods...its just that for india and pakistan, this period came at the wrong time!

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    The thing with athleticism is that anyone can possess it. Skill, great skill, is less teachable, IMO. And being fit, you'll do everything to a higher degree than you would possibly be able to do if you weren't fit.
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    International Vice-Captain open365's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nishant View Post
    athletisicm is definitely becoming more and more vital in cricket these days...but i would like to think that it, too is a skill in itself. It brings about runs outs and amazind catchesw all of which are wonderful to watch TBH!
    Yeh totaly agreed, watching great fielding sides like SA and AUS is awesome, athleticism plays a big part in all sport and imo can only increase the skill and entertainment factor in cricket.
    Last edited by open365; 30-03-2007 at 01:42 PM.

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