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What I want to see in 2013?

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1) Ajinkya Rahane getting a longer run in Team India’s final XI (across formats).

Whether performances in the Indian Premier League should be a parameter to measure cricketer’s ability, is a topic open for debate. However, there were no doubts that Ajinkya Rahane was impressive during IPL season 5. Shortest format, yes. Slam bang cricket, maybe yes. But what Rahane displayed there had a classical vibe about it; a vibe that not many from his generation have. And keeping in mind the money and runs equation, the vibe was worth spending one’s money for. However, that should not be taken up as an excuse to make Rahane play only in the shorter formats. Experts including Rahul Dravid, have tipped him to be successful at international cricket across formats. Not many of us were able to see him bat through the Ranji seasons. However, those who have seen him are of the opinion that Rahane has the will to grind it out. Considering, Team India is under reconstruction, it will be crucial for the team management to bring people who are not only talented but will also help the team build resolve and character. Keeping in mind, the form and athleticism of the current Indian openers, Rahane has to be given a run in the Test team of India.

2) New Zealand cricket rising from their recent fall.

Let me put it simply. No matter what part of the cricketing world you belong, no matter which is your national team, New Zealand cricket team is one team that the fans always root for. However, New Zealand’s performance is of a greater concern. Although known for their inherent tendency to punch above their weight, their performances at home and away have let down even their ardent followers. Add to it, the administrative mishandlings.

Everyone is aware of the fact that John Buchanan loves to experiment with various ideas as a coach or a manager. From various training methods to the idea of multiple captains, he has not shied away from speaking his mind or experimenting with innovative ideas. Although the idea in itself can be praiseworthy for its innovation, the practicality of it is debatable. However, the Buchanan led New Zealand management has been either impatient or not granting the time that any decision needs to be given to bear fruit. The appointment of Mike Hesson has even deteriorated the process. The continuous change in leadership has not helped matters either. Identifying a leader has been a matter of concern. And more importantly, very unlike New Zealand, the behind the scenes activities have been speculated more in the media. It is a tendency that New Zealand cricket and fans of New Zealand cricket are not used to. For long, they have been a team that is respected by everyone and New Zealand shall make some rapid moves to regain that status.

3) West Indies cricket proving that they are more than T20 specialists.

Spat amidst players, arguments between boards and players, coach and captain sharing cold vibes with certain player/s and West Indies have still managed to unite and win the ICC World T20 Championship 2012. It was after a long time that West Indies, once the perennial Champions could win an ICC trophy. There are no doubts that West Indies are more than competitive in T20s in internationals as well as at the club or franchisee level. Be it Big Bash, be it Indian Premier League, be it T20 league in Bangladesh or be it any T20 league anywhere in the cricket world. The experts in and around cricket are of the opinion that Darren Sammy can’t fit in West Indian cricket neither as a batsman nor as a bowler. However, what Sammy could achieve (that is to unite the team) not many could do. By no means, Sammy is the most brilliant captain. However, he has been successful in uniting the team. But the West Indian team has to elevate themselves by winning a Test series or ODI games against better oppositions. Although T20 is money making cricket, West Indies need to consistently produce players who can serve them in the longer formats of the game. If West Indies wants to maintain the momentum, they would be better served by playing well in other formats of the game.

4) Sri Lanka Cricket Board making cricket and not politics their priority.

And last but by no means of lesser importance, Sri Lankan cricket needs to get out of the administrative mud they have created. By all means, the players have the ability, willingness to perform and tenacity to do their best under any condition. It is not often that a country with limited resources and social upheaval could produce players with the class of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakara. Sri Lankan cricket although struggled to win any major ICC events, their performances have been noteworthy. Things had turned for the better under the shrewd leadership of Arjuna Ranatunga, the likes of Jayasuriya, Attapattu and Murali emerged under his leadership. In the late 1990s, Mahela and Sangakara emerged and played their bit to build the superstructure that Arjuna started to create. However, the way Sri Lankan cricket board has travelled (from bad to worst) is discouraging for the players and fans alike. The inclusions of a President and members of ministry or of those who are puppets in the hands of ministers have contributed to sinking Sri Lankan cricket. Not that money is everything players play for, Sri Lankan cricket has shown no courtesy whatsoever to pay the players their fees and the respect the players deserve. I personally have been a fan of Sri Lankan cricket since a long time. And it pains to see the way Sri Lankan cricket is administered.

People say if you aim high, good things can happen. To put it differently, low aim is a crime so why not dream big? Hence, I have decided to dream big. Being an avid cricket fan, I will always hope that greater things will happen in cricket.



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