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Thread: Domestic cricket overhaul in a country

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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Domestic cricket overhaul in a country

    If you could start from scratch in a country, in terms of their domestic structure, how would you change it? Pick a country (doesn't have to be yours). Obviously, its all a pipe dream...but if you could, how would you?

    For me, in India:

    Too many teams

    For any valid judgment to be made regarding the quality of a player, or his suitability at the Test level, he needs to have played high quality cricket against good opponents. The first problem is that of too many teams. As you add more and more teams, there is a greater chance for mediocre players to come through and quality players become the exception and not the rule. My view is that anyone who plays domestic cricket should have the ability and the temperament to be a potentially Test player. Obviously only 15 or so players can make the squad, but domestic cricket shouldn't be diluted so that the standard of cricket is so low, that it becomes a meaningless exercise when it comes to national selection.

    The first thing I would so is tone down the teams to five sides in the entire country. Have five zones: North, South, East, West and Central. Maybe you can have a sixth team, if necessary. They each would play every other team home and way during a season and there would be a final with the top two teams (sound familiar?). There would only be 55-70 top quality players playing at the highest level, so the competition would be extreme for the Ranji Trophy sides. Shane Warne commented that playing domestic cricket in Australia is sometimes more taxing than playing Tests, and there is no reason why we must suffer mediocre cricket with the population of India. Of course, each team would have an 'A' and perhaps even a 'B' team which would allow the teams to groom young players and give others something to aim for. They would have similar competition against other A and B sides. But the the top level competition should never be compromised. When you select someone for the national squad, you should be fairly certain of their capabilities against good cricketers.

    Allow players to move around if they want, and also allow the top team from each zone to have up to two overseas players. More competition is always good, and it is important for the quality of cricket for the players to be exposed to different playing styles, especially if the player in question has Test level experience.

    Players Picked Too Soon

    The best and most reliable way to judge a player's capability at the Test level is to look at his FC record. If he is mediocre at the First Class level, it will be exceedingly rare for him to do anything at the international level. Furthermore, a player has to experience professional full time cricket, understand pressure situations, and how to handle other on and off the field pressures. There are a hundred mental and physical things that go along with playing cricket that must be learned. Test cricket is not a school where you pick up these things. When you pick a player, he should be expected to perform, and we shouldn't compromise our national team with the dubious notion of 'teaching' someone
    how to play cricket.

    Here are the six youngest players picked for India:
    1. 16y 205d SR Tendulkar
    2. 17y 75d Piyush Chawla
    3. 17y 118d L Sivaramakrishnan
    4. 17y 152d PA Patel
    5. 17y 193d Maninder Singh
    6. 17y 265d VL Mehra


    Aside from Tendulkar, how is that working out for us? Fact is, you can't know how someone will perform at the test level that early. It's pretty much like throwing darts in the dark, which is what we did with each of them.

    Each player must be required to play at least three full years of high quality domestic cricket in their respective first teams to even be eligible for national selection. That will give them enough experience - mental and otherwise - to better cope with international cricket.

    Fitness Regimen

    Our players - as has been mentioned countless times - are nowhere near the other teams in terms of fitness levels. There is no need to wait till the test level to get into shape. Before they are big stars at the international cricket - they need to be required to work on their fitness and they must know that it is an important criteria if you ever want a national call up. The coaches and the selectors at the doemstic level must have the authority
    to drop players based on fitness or lack of work ethic in exercise and fitness regimes. Professional sportsmen should never be this unfit, and they should never even get to the highest level of domestic cricket if they are.

    Pitches

    It is important in cricket for each country to have its own flavor of pitches. I think it adds to the excitement and uniqueness of cricket. But a general flavor does mean it has to be a hard and fast rule. It is important to have some wickets that assist fast bowlers, other that assist slow bowlers, and still others that assist the batsmen. When you pick players for the national squad, you should be able to evaluate them on a variety of pitches. Not only will this expose the flat track bullies, but it will force players to work on their game under all conditions.

    Who knows? Perhaps someday our players won't be shocked when the ball bounces higher than the knee, or God forbid, actually has variable bounce.

    As I mentioned in another thread, changing the captain or a coach after something goes wrong is like taking Tylenol for a brain tumor. It will never be effective unless many other things change.
    Last edited by silentstriker; 27-03-2007 at 12:52 PM.
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  2. #2
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    The most important thing I'd change about ours is get it phrased accurately: British Isles Cricket rather than County Cricket. I'd also make more of an effort to involve Ireland than Buckinghamshire...

    IMO, though, we're incredibly fortunate that most of our grounds see a great variety in pitch conditions, for such a small geographical area.

    I'd also structure the thing better with regards Second Eleven and Minor Counties games - keep them every bit as official as A-List-team First Eleven games. Different tiers, obviously. And get rid of the ludicrousy of Oxford UCCE vs Derbyshire being the same as Yorkshire vs Surrey.

    One thing I'd not change, though, is the teams which are counties being defined as counties. None of this regional or city nonsense. Potential for change between Major and Minor counties? Maybe. But only IF such things are patently neccessary.

    Oh, yeah, and I'd have made the game all-pro in 1900. Just to shut C_C up on that one.
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    Global Moderator Fusion's Avatar
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    Excellent post, I salute you Sir. I agree with nearly everything you stated. Many of the points you mentioned have been championed by the great Imran Khan for Pakistan. Specially the bit about having fewer FC teams and making pitches that offer bounce and pace. The only thing I would disagree with you on is having a mandatory "experience" in FC for x number of years before entering the National side. While I think it should be extremely rare for a young prodigy to bypass the FC system, it still should be a possibility. If you have a Tendulkar on hand, then he should be given a chance at the real thing. I would emphasize that it should be rare, and the selectors must see phenomenal talent to rush someone young and inexperienced into the National side. Other than that, your post is gold my man. Kudos.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    And yet if Pakistan pitches had more pace (and\or seam) we'd probably never have discovered reverse-swing.

    In truth, Pakistan pitches, while historically offering least to spin or seam, do seem to be possible to manipulate pretty easily - if you want a seamer, you can order one; if you want a turner, you can order one. No coincidence that Pakistan were able to dominate at home so emphatically as they did in the 70s, 80s and early 90s.

    Who knows, if Pakistani domestic cricket was better organised, no other changes might be needed.


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    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fusion View Post
    If you have a Tendulkar on hand, then he should be given a chance at the real thing.
    Problem with that is that you never know. You can't really judge someone for Test cricket based on how they did at their high school. You may rarely get lucky, but 90% the time it will fail. Would it really hurt anyone if Tendulkar had stayed 3 years in domestic cricket and made his debut at 18 in 1991? And it might have saved countless others, and one of those might have actually had a career instead of being ruined (Chawla is TBD obviously).



    Thanks for the compliment .

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    Global Moderator Fusion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    And yet if Pakistan pitches had more pace (and\or seam) we'd probably never have discovered reverse-swing.

    In truth, Pakistan pitches, while historically offering least to spin or seam, do seem to be possible to manipulate pretty easily - if you want a seamer, you can order one; if you want a turner, you can order one. No coincidence that Pakistan were able to dominate at home so emphatically as they did in the 70s, 80s and early 90s.

    Who knows, if Pakistani domestic cricket was better organised, no other changes might be needed.
    It's true that reverse swing was mastered by the Pakistani bowlers due to the unhelpful pitch conditions they faced at home. However, the likes of Imran, Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib etc would have been equally successful (if not more), had they bowled on seamer friendly wickets. Talent is talent. They adapted to be successful in the conditions they faced. However, not every Pakistani pacer is going to turn into a Wasim/Waqar/Imran. Meaning, we could have good pacers out there who are not necessarily all-time legends. They could certainly benefit from more helpful pitches. Besides, the Pakistani batsman are going to benefit even more, because as SS pointed out, they would actually learn how to play on bouncy wickets. I've had enough of glorifying the flat-track bullies.

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Problem with that is that you never know. You can't really judge someone for Test cricket based on how they did at their high school. You may rarely get lucky, but 90% the time it will fail. Would it really hurt anyone if Tendulkar had stayed 3 years in domestic cricket and made his debut at 18 in 1991? And it might have saved countless others, and one of those might have actually had a career instead of being ruined (Chawla is TBD obviously).
    My feelings on the matter 100%.

    I've always been totally and utterly baffled that people over here lament the lack of 17-18-19-year-olds playing internationally.

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    Global Moderator Fusion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Problem with that is that you never know. You can't really judge someone for Test cricket based on how they did at their high school. You may rarely get lucky, but 90% the time it will fail. Would it really hurt anyone if Tendulkar had stayed 3 years in domestic cricket and made his debut at 18 in 1991? And it might have saved countless others, and one of those might have actually had a career instead of being ruined (Chawla is TBD obviously).
    True, it is a risk. The selectors might think they have a Tendulkar every time they see a good young talent and rush them too soon. I suppose it really doesn't hurt to have a 3 year mandatory FC requirement. For every Tendulkar that would unfairly have to wait, there will be a thousand others who would actually benefit.

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    State Vice-Captain viktor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Problem with that is that you never know. You can't really judge someone for Test cricket based on how they did at their high school. You may rarely get lucky, but 90% the time it will fail. Would it really hurt anyone if Tendulkar had stayed 3 years in domestic cricket and made his debut at 18 in 1991? And it might have saved countless others, and one of those might have actually had a career instead of being ruined (Chawla is TBD obviously).
    Agree with that totally. I think somebody brought this thing up about Ponting in another thread. Ponting, by all accounts, was a prodigy yet he had to go through a few seasons of FC cricket before he got a chance at Test level.
    The 'A' side might also be a good place to test these kids if they seem to be "genius" material.
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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    I'd have the following teams with the following grounds for South Africa...

    Western Province (Cape Town)
    Eastern Province (Port Elizabeth/East London)
    Free State (Bloemfontein)
    Northern Cape (Kimberley)
    North West Province (Potchefstroom)
    Limpopo (Centurion)
    Mpamulanga (Benoni)
    Gauteng (Johannesburg)
    KZN (Durban)
    Namibia (Windhoek)

    Each team plays each other once, first in the 4 day tournament, then in the one day, with a small Pro20 thing at the end.. Not too dis-similar to the old system, with some slight changarounds though..

    Each province has grade cricket a la Australia, with the lower leagues being split up into regions and such.. Universitys and academys compete in the top grade of club cricket
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    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    In England, something i have always wondered about, but not too much tbf, is having the knockout limited overs tournament (what is it now, the C&G, and yes I know it isnt a knock out anymore) extended to include the best of the club teams around the country in preliminary rounds (a bit like the FA Cup) or even a representitive team from each of the big leagues around the country (lancashire leagues, Bradford, Birmingham etc), as well as the Minor Counties etc. Obviously it would need to start pretty early in the season, but I have always thought it would give club players something to aim for beyond the normal league competitions.

    Just a thought!!!!
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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swervy View Post
    In England, something i have always wondered about, but not too much tbf, is having the knockout limited overs tournament (what is it now, the C&G, and yes I know it isnt a knock out anymore) extended to include the best of the club teams around the country in preliminary rounds (a bit like the FA Cup) or even a representitive team from each of the big leagues around the country (lancashire leagues, Bradford, Birmingham etc), as well as the Minor Counties etc. Obviously it would need to start pretty early in the season, but I have always thought it would give club players something to aim for beyond the normal league competitions.

    Just a thought!!!!
    Yeah I was thinking that, like having the winners of the West of England premier league and other leagues joining the fun.. Would give things a bit more meaning, then introduce the big boys in the third round

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    International Captain Swervy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Langeveldt View Post
    Yeah I was thinking that, like having the winners of the West of England premier league and other leagues joining the fun.. Would give things a bit more meaning, then introduce the big boys in the third round
    (bah..we dont want minnows in there though..what if there is an upset...hahahah )

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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swervy View Post
    (bah..we dont want minnows in there though..what if there is an upset...hahahah )
    I don't want Ireland beating Somerset.. Although that wouldn't be much of an upset

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swervy View Post
    In England, something i have always wondered about, but not too much tbf, is having the knockout limited overs tournament (what is it now, the C&G, and yes I know it isnt a knock out anymore) extended to include the best of the club teams around the country in preliminary rounds (a bit like the FA Cup) or even a representitive team from each of the big leagues around the country (lancashire leagues, Bradford, Birmingham etc), as well as the Minor Counties etc. Obviously it would need to start pretty early in the season, but I have always thought it would give club players something to aim for beyond the normal league competitions.

    Just a thought!!!!
    The C&G always used to do such a thing - indeed, between 2001 and 2004 it included all the Minor County and County Board XI teams.

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