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  #1  
Old September 23, 2004, 05:01 AM
amit(a huge BD fan)
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Default bd should play against \"a\" teams - dileep premachandran

Cricinfo Column: Give them an A

Dileep Premachandran

September 21, 2004

When the great Brian Clough, manager of the Nottingham Forest team that won two European Cups, passed away yesterday, someone wrote, with good reason, that "legend" was one of the most abused words in the language. But there's another word, grossly misused, that Clough undoubtedly knew the meaning of. In his pomp, only champions played in the European Champions' Cup, a competition since hijacked by the money-men so that even the also-rans could partake at football's top table.

For the past fortnight, we have seen the same abuse meted out to spectators in the UK. But where the also-rans in the bloated Champions League are actually pretty useful, there was absolutely nothing to commend some of the teams that took part in the ICC Champions Trophy. Zimbabwe and Kenya have retreated into the shadows quicker than the Americans at the Ryder Cup, while Bangladesh and the USA never suggested that they would do anything other than make up the numbers.

When the tournament was called the ICC Knockout, it wouldn't have mattered so much. But when you call it the Champions Trophy, and then include teams that can't buy a win, it can grate, even for a public that's accustomed to tabloid hype and hot air about "great" footballers who can't take England beyond the last eight of major tournaments.

The sad thing is that the whole exercise does nothing for the so-called minnows either, other than harden the stance of Joe Public who feels cheated because his hard-earned pound/rupee has been flushed away watching a mismatch of Muhammad Ali-Brian London proportions. After they were crushed by Australia with Ricky Ponting clearly cheesed off about having to stretch his muscles playing such rank amateurs Richard Staple, the USA captain, said that his team would learn from the experience. But would they? Did they absorb anything from those two hours of carnage that they couldn't have learnt from watching a videotape of the Aussies?

There is a solution though, one that would please the teams that are serious contenders for the champion tag, and also provide the minnows with the exposure that they so desperately need. India A and Pakistan A showed the way a month ago, taking part in an engrossing triangular in Kenya, and though the hosts missed out on the final, they did register a win apiece against pretty decent opposition.

No-one disputes that there is immense talent at the lower level. Steve Tikolo would have been a fine addition to most middle-order line-ups in his prime, while the likes of Elton Chigumbura, Nafis Iqbal, Maurice Ouma and Tatenda Taibu is there anything he can't do? have acquitted themselves creditably against the best in the business. But like a young boxer who needs to fight his share of journeyman pros before being ready for a title bout, these players need regular exposure against top-quality opposition before they're ready to excel on a consistent basis.

Imagine a competition with teams like Kenya and Bangladesh playing the best of the rest from India, Pakistan, England and Australia. Batsmen would get to face bowlers like Mohammad Irshad, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Shaun Tait and Shib Sankar Paul, while the bowlers could pit their skills against accomplished batsmen like Brad Hodge, Gautam Gambhir, Ian Bell, Bilal Shafayat and Bazid Khan.

It would be a mutually beneficial exercise, with the A teams exposed to a quality of opposition that they might not find on the domestic circuit, except in Australia. And it would also give the fans that bothered to turn up a chance to confirm the fact that much talent exists in the wings, especially in Australia, India and Pakistan. It seems perverse that players like Martin Love, Stuart Law, Jimmy Maher and Vinod Kambli have spent the bulk of their careers toiling away from the spotlight, when they could have been utilised to facilitate the spread of the game.

With humiliating thrashings less likely, teams like Bangladesh and Kenya could gradually build up confidence for greater challenges like the World Cup. And such an event would also be a platform for teams and players that play one World Cup and then disappear into the ether. Men like Tim de Leede and Bas Zuiderent could have made an impact if the Netherlands had any sort of opportunity to play decent opposition after their World Cup debut in 1996. The game can't afford to make the same mistake with the likes of Jan-Berrie Burger, Austin Codrington and Daan van Bunge.

The idea of transfers between countries or guest players doesn't appeal to the great majority that swear by national flags and anthems, but few would quibble at the idea of a second-tier competition that helped both the minnows and the fringe players from the big teams. The next time the ICC plans a big jamboree outside the World Cup marquee, it should leave the Champions Trophy to those deserving of such a lofty tag as is the case in field hockey and let the rest do battle in a Plate competition against the top A teams.

Such a scenario, with a keenly contested match or four, might even put some bums on seats, which was more than could be said for the USA's blink-and-you'll-miss-it encounter against Australia.

Dileep Premachandran is assistant editor of Wisden Cricinfo in India.

Wisden Cricinfo Ltd

Edited on, September 23, 2004, 12:04 PM GMT, by chinaman.
Reason: Please always include url for news & articles. Thank you.
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  #2  
Old September 23, 2004, 06:51 AM
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Zobair Zobair is offline
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The idea of "cheating the fans" is an interesting one. What if the Cup was played in Bangladesh? Every match would have been well attended regardless of the opposition. In England, even England vs. Australia couldn't get a full house! The problem is not in the quality of the competition...the problem lies elsewhere...and despite the current performance of England...should get a few alarm bells ringing.
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  #3  
Old September 23, 2004, 07:14 AM
ZunaidH ZunaidH is offline
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Sorry Amit, this article by Mr. Premachandan is garbage served in a platter. I have to agree with pompous.

Playing with A teams only should have happened a decade ago if the intention was to help the developing cricket nations. Premachandan seems to have a super ego suffering from despair inferiority complex in the lines of Sourav Ganguly. If I were him, I would not embarass myself writing articles with extrapolated logic. Too bad he is yet to achieve the baseline of maturity as a sports journalist. What a waste of space! Sigh!
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  #4  
Old September 23, 2004, 07:32 AM
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James90 James90 is offline
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Oi Amit if you're not banned from ICF can you get Dileep to come onto the forum again? Thanks in advance
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  #5  
Old September 23, 2004, 08:10 AM
vv_sunil vv_sunil is offline
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nobody can shut the mouth of people, who are making noises of bad performances of minnows, until and unless they (minnows) show some decent outing. one can understand the feelings of die-hard fans, but it does mean that all the criticisms are wrong and made to tarnish the minnows. they should ready to accept the good points of the criticisms in right spirit (look the comments of arjuna ranatunge)

Over and above, all the criticisms should be answered on ground with a good performances. dont mind the loses, atleast some fighting matches are enough!!

Edited on, September 23, 2004, 1:11 PM GMT, by vv_sunil.
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  #6  
Old September 23, 2004, 08:44 AM
ZunaidH ZunaidH is offline
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vv_;

Criticism is a word commonly misunderstood, mis-represented, mis...everything often. For people who need help it is offensive to say something in the line "you deserve it". For example, if I am a wreckless driver and inspite of it lost one of my legs and someone came up to me and reminds me of the painful truth, it does not help me. I hope you get the analogy.

Right now, our cricket is struggling. Even the most die hard fan has no illusion about the fact. By sticking around this site, I am sure you have realized that as well. For us critcism is only helpful if it leads to a constructive direction. Therefore, I stand my ground saying what Mr. Premachandan has written is pure garbage. As the popular saying goes "If it looks like crap, if it smells like crap, then probably it is crap." Needless to say what I am referring to Mr. Premachandan's article to. If he is not capable of doing any better perhaps he should consider other career options.
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  #7  
Old September 23, 2004, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by pompous
The idea of "cheating the fans" is an interesting one. What if the Cup was played in Bangladesh? Every match would have been well attended regardless of the opposition. In England, even England vs. Australia couldn't get a full house! The problem is not in the quality of the competition...the problem lies elsewhere...and despite the current performance of England...should get a few alarm bells ringing.
I Agreed with you, pompous.
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  #8  
Old September 23, 2004, 10:59 AM
rafiq rafiq is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by ghor_jamai
vv_;

Criticism is a word commonly misunderstood, mis-represented, mis...everything often. For people who need help it is offensive to say something in the line "you deserve it". For example, if I am a wreckless driver and inspite of it lost one of my legs and someone came up to me and reminds me of the painful truth, it does not help me. I hope you get the analogy.

Right now, our cricket is struggling. Even the most die hard fan has no illusion about the fact. By sticking around this site, I am sure you have realized that as well. For us critcism is only helpful if it leads to a constructive direction. Therefore, I stand my ground saying what Mr. Premachandan has written is pure garbage. As the popular saying goes "If it looks like crap, if it smells like crap, then probably it is crap." Needless to say what I am referring to Mr. Premachandan's article to. If he is not capable of doing any better perhaps he should consider other career options.
I think you missed an important point that Dileep P was making. Too many quality players don't get enough opportunities to play at higher standards. This includes the many Dutch, Kenyan, Zimbabwean, Bangladeshi "minnows" but also non-test players from India, Pak Australia that he pointed out never get into the spotlight. We all know there are more than 11 awesome players in Australia, India, etc. So his point of having more competition amongst these ranks is not something that should be dismissed so easliy as "crap".

Bangladesh can always send a Bangladesh XI if it doesn't want to send a full test team. I don't like the idea of bangladesh getting kicked out of competitions like the ICC trophy. But when we are as awful as we are, simply beating our chests is not going to help.

I have always agreed with the notion of having more A team tours and mini tournaments where Bangladesh can play more against the likes of Kenya. This is not to replace the schedule against top nations, but rather to compliment it and balance it.

As for empty seats at stadiums in England, that is another matter so on that point I agree that is wasn't simply because of the competition. The format could have been better.
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  #9  
Old September 23, 2004, 11:41 AM
nihi nihi is offline
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Sorry (but expected) to see that, seemingly, ghor_jamai hasn't tried to get any point from the article. Cos, instead of refuting his points, he went on dissecting his career. The reason is very understandable and was sportingly presented by ghor_jamai himself. And that was fan psychology.

Interestingly enough, I don't see much criticism hurled towards the minnows in Dileep's article. He offered an observation of the current state of cricket, which is very much undebatable and then came up with an alternative planning as how to cope with that.

The attempt to fit the solution to the dillema of the players like Kambli and Love in this planning may be seen, by some, as a pretext to sugarcoat a bashing. But, I for one, found it artless.
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  #10  
Old September 23, 2004, 11:44 AM
tpusltn tpusltn is offline
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Don't we Bangladesh have a double Century against India A in bombay? Whats' that proves.

We need to revive the true competetive Dhaka league, where mixture of international players makes it exciting. Besides, it gives the opportunites to our local boys to face the quality opposition & proves themselves worthy of playing for big league.

Our domistic league must be competetive-exciting & money making machine for professional players as it is used to be. We need to bring back all international quality players where local players get the real experiences. Pressure, money, professionalism brings true quality in the game.

Let us do just that.
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  #11  
Old September 23, 2004, 11:46 AM
tpusltn tpusltn is offline
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I think double century was against bombay team rather. Anyway, bombay is much stronger than Varat Mata- A team
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  #12  
Old September 23, 2004, 12:39 PM
rafiq rafiq is offline
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What really happened to the Dhaka League - why did it have to die to accomodate the National League where the divisions play? Why is there no serious attempt to fix the domestic competitiveness problem by the BCB. What does Dudia Mack, or Mack Dudia or whatever his name is - what does he do for the money they pay him?

Bangladesh has a large concentration of very wealthy people and corporations. Many of these people don't know where to put their money or how to make it halal. Why isn't there a better effort to tie this money, which can be found right in Bangladesh, to the commerical aspects of cricket, a robust domestic league, etc.? btw I can be reached at rafiq@.....
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  #13  
Old September 23, 2004, 01:03 PM
ZunaidH ZunaidH is offline
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ha..ha..Good to see I've drawn first blood.

In response to Nihi's point, I agree that Mr. Premachandan has made a valid observation that the minnows are getting bashed. As I put the analogy in my posting earlier, I have a leg missing because of my own mistakes. So, the point is does Mr, Premachandan offer any help. I see he rants away,

"The sad thing is that the whole exercise does nothing for the so-called minnows either, other than harden the stance of Joe Public who feels cheated because his hard-earned pound/rupee has been flushed away watching a mismatch of Muhammad Ali-Brian London proportions."

and tries to make the point the minnows are not generating much interest for the fans in the established test nations. Hence why bother with them. The rest of the article is all about "garbage served in a platter".

And to answer Rafiq's point about the golden solution that Mr. Premachandan has revealed is so full of novelty that it would perhaps have the ICC lords turn their heads around in disbelief and sigh "Why didn't we think about that?" If you look at his article on the lines, "There is a solution though, one that would please the teams that are serious contenders for the champion tag, and also provide the minnows with the exposure that they so desperately need. India A and Pakistan A showed the way a month ago, taking part in an engrossing triangular in Kenya..." , all he is coming up with another twisted idea of minnows being content with playing A teams. Although he stops short of making any statements about restricting the minnows to playing A teams only, his intentions are quite clear.

The idea is about a decade late for Bangladesh. It might be ok for other non-test nations. But, he does not isolate Bangladesh or even Zimbabwe. Bottom-line, Mr. Premachandan has not written anything original and the hints of restricting our game to A teams bother me. Rafiq, I would accept your argument if Mr. Premachandan had explicitly mentioned that playing A is in addition to playing the full test teams. Without that qualifier statement, I still stand my ground.
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  #14  
Old September 24, 2004, 06:23 AM
amit(a huge BD fan)
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guys, dont forget, but the india "a" team is much better and much more balanced than the indian national team.

lots of india "a" players like d. kartik/dhoni/gambhir/sriram/powar/bahutule r good players and better than the ones in the national team, but ly they cant get in the team due to politics.

guys, be happy if ur team gets a chance toplay against ind "a", as ur team will get to play against a team better than the ind national team.
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  #15  
Old September 24, 2004, 09:04 AM
ZunaidH ZunaidH is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by amit(a huge BD fan)
guys, dont forget, but the india "a" team is much better and much more balanced than the indian national team.

lots of india "a" players like d. kartik/dhoni/gambhir/sriram/powar/bahutule r good players and better than the ones in the national team, but ly they cant get in the team due to politics.

guys, be happy if ur team gets a chance toplay against ind "a", as ur team will get to play against a team better than the ind national team.
Amit;

I think playing "India A" and "Pakistan A" or Anyone's A is a very constructive thought but it should be more in the line to get ready against the test teams. fwullah on another thread suggested that we should play "A" teams as warm up matches. That sounds like a great idea. I am sure that it'll help us get better. I oppose the thought of playing A's exclusively.

Edited on, September 24, 2004, 2:04 PM GMT, by ghor_jamai.
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  #16  
Old September 27, 2004, 02:42 AM
vv_sunil vv_sunil is offline
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see, if some body looks the ground of the article of premachandran, it is very clear that he is neither targetted bangladesh nor any other minnows. his article is based on the ground that the gap in the play level between the top nations and lower ranked nations is widenning. he just want to remind that cricket is played in few nations and there also, the public is actively interested in 4/5 nations only. look at the empty stands in england? if this is the situation in england, where the cricket is born, what anybody can expect from other nations. i fear if this situation continues, cricket will be limited to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh only, where the media is playing a big role and keeping the spirit of the game up (don’t mind the commercilisation of the game, for the time being)

so, i think, premachandran is worried about the future of the cricket. try to understand the things in broadmind. what is the meaning of calling a team as world champion, where only 4-5 teams to compete? he want to say , look for the future and develop more and more strong teams for the good sake of the game. he want cricket to survive forever. one sided, just for record-sake, boring games will always kill the interest of the game (again, look, even the one-day matches are also engaged for a full day, not for 2-3 hours like other games. So if anybody comes to watch the match by paying a huge amount, he must have the expectation for a real valued game there, really worth enough for his money. in other way he should not have the feeling that he has become a fool by paying and watching such a game. If such matches continues, nobody will come to watch the matches, where there is no scope for interest. Overall, spectators/viewers and followers are the strength of any game and if any game fails to generate interest of them, it would ultimately fall into deep trouble. Premachandran warns, it should not happen with cricket.

now, think what is wrong in his suggestion of proposing games with 'A' teams? 'A' teams of top countries may be much better than minnows and if minnows plays more game with the 'A' teams, they should be more prepared to face the top teams (i would like to make it clear that im not proposing minnows should play with "A" teams only, but i just mentioning minnows should play more games with "A" teams of top teams). there are lot of talents in top nations sitting outside the team or ending their career without getting into the national eleven and interestingly, some of them are more talented than the players of minnows. So, I think, minnows can expect the opposition from the A teams of top nations, more or less of the same strength of the best team.

premachandran's article published in cricinfo.com only, not in bangladesh cricket forum, which is inserted here by amit with a good intention. so, i would prefer to read his article in a positive way and also in broad mind. nobody can think otherways unless and until have some narrow minded reservations. criticising the topic/subject, author's career/ability should be made for some genuine reasons, and that reasons should hook directly into the minds of readers and they should feel the importance of the point as deep and valid
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