Cricket Food For Thought #3: Time for T20 & Test Cricket to Separate?
By Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, @BCD 6/10/2022
New Zealand’s first Test against England started on 2nd June, 2022, a Test match in which Trent Boult played right after playing the IPL final on 29th May, 2022 representing the Rajasthan Royals. In fact, New Zealand’s tour of England began much earlier on the 20th May. Two tour matches had already been played before Boult reached the shores of England.
David Miller & Hardik Pandya starred in Gujarat Titans’ road to IPL glory. Ten days later, they were playing for opposing teams when the 5-match India vs South Africa bilateral series began.
This series is going to end on 19th of June. Then, India play in Ireland on the 26th and 28th of June, before they play their Test match against England beginning on the…1st of July.
The situation has reached such a point that a special flight is being arranged for coach Rahul Dravid, Shreyas Iyer, and Rishabh Pant.
Warning For Test Cricket
The World Test Championship, although not perfect, has put some context for Test match cricket. However, with T20 leagues overtaking the yearly calendar and T20 World Cups occurring every two years now, ICC Chairperson Greg Barclay has warned
I have spoken at length about overkill of cricket and T20 leagues, mental health issues many a times before, but radical times demand radical actions.
Today I propose a separation of T20 and Test cricket as sports. Jonny Bairstow might disagree but workload management and overburdening the cricket schedule is about to hit the edge.
Just like football and futsal are treated as different sports, T20 and Test cricket should be classified as separate sports as well. So what should this separation entail?
A player cannot play both T20 and Test formats at any level.
Separate coaches, teams, players, tournaments, and scouts for both sports. So Rahul Dravid should not go fly and coach the Test team.
Separate governing bodies and budgets
Women’s and Men’s Test matches managed under the same administrative body. Similarly women’s & men’s leagues managed under the same body (Men’s/Women’s Hundred, IPL, Big Bash, CPL, etc.)
Instead of distributing budgets, resources, etc. to these two formats, have a separate funding base
Distance the Heart & Mind
We all would love Virat Kohli playing for RCB and India in all formats all the time, but that is no longer possible. I claim, it is no longer necessary either.
When the IPL begun, each franchise had a marquee player (Dravid – RCB, Ganguly – KKR, Laxman – Deccan, Tendulkar – Mumbai, Yuvraj – Punjab, MS Dhoni – CSK). This was to develop a fan base and for continuity.
Fast forward to 2022. No Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli & Rohit Sharma had off years, MSD was good but we only saw glimpses. IPL 2022 was rather about T20 specialists, The Mohsin Khans, Dinesh Karthiks, and Tim Davids.
T20 as a sport has become self-sufficient. Virat Kohli is needed at Ranji, not Royal Challengers.
Instead of franchising County Cricket or looking to forcefully promote Ranji Trophy, high profile players in domestic tournaments will raise the levels of first class/Test cricket, drive finances, and evolve as a sport faster.
Oh and what about ODI cricket? I completely forgot about it!
Cricket Food for Thought #3: Dinesh Karthik And the Dose of Optimism You Need In Life
What connects cricketer Dinesh Karthik, US President Barack Obama, fictional coach Ted Lasso, and Shawshank Redemption?
The drive to do something special. The Audacity of Hope. The Belief in Believe. And the fact that “Hope is a Good Thing, and No Good Thing Ever Dies.”
**** Today we had lots of cricket.
So food for your thought. What lesson can you take home?
When you are at the top of the game and get recognized for your efforts, it can be easy to stay motivated. But it is what you do in the afterhours, the hard yards that you put in when no one is looking that makes you who you truly are.
Bangladesh scoring 6 ducks in West Indies the same year they stunned the World Test Champions. The Salt assault, Malan’s Mauling, Brutal Buttler, and Livingstone’s stoning of the Netherlands to take England to a world record 498. Katherine Brunt and William Porterfield retiring.
And yet today does not feel about cricket.
With every passing day, the legend of Dinesh Karthik continues to grow. We have talked about his inspirational journey before, but 2022 has been something special. Not even in the Top 50 Probables in T20s, he has suddenly jumped into contention for the T20 World Cup, scoring his first T20I fifty. Player of the match performances against South Africa, 16 years apart.
It is not just the performances that makes us celebrate these moments.
Sport is a journey. And on days like these, just being happy for DK in his life path is inspiration enough.
Sometimes that extra dose of optimism is what you need to keep going.
So keep on going and Never Give Up.
Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 06/18/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).
The number of days it took both Sir Alastair Cook & Joe Root to break the 10,000 run barrier, incidentally the only two English two cricketers to do so. In comparison, it took the great Sachin Tendulkar 31 years & 326 days to breach that mark.
What a moment. 10,000 runs with the same shot as his 100 at Lord’s. Nasser Hussain, as he always does, chose the best possible words to sum it up,
The Tale of Three Legends—Joe Root, Sachin Tendulkar, and Alastair Cook
By Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, 06/08/2022
What’s better? Since his debut, it has only taken Root 9 years & 171 days to achieve this landmark. In comparison, Jayawardene-Tendulkar-Gavaskar took about 14-15 years after their debuts and Younis-Chanderpaul about 17-18 years (And yes yes, you’re right. Root took 218 innings, Cook took 229, and England play more Tests than anybody else, but that isanother story).
Joe Root is definitely in the prime of his career. There was a time when Root was going to be uprooted from the Fab 4. With Root inability to convert fifties into hundreds, Babar Azam’s glorious entry, Kane Williamson’s prime, & the god-level cricket Steven Smith & Virat Kohli were producing between 2016-2018, surely Root’s status was being questioned.
Post the pandemic, Smith, Kohli, and Williamson’s needles have barely moved, both in terms of runs and hundreds.
Joe Root, on the other hand, has been on a different level. 21 Tests, 41 innings, 9 hundreds, 4 fifties, 56.23 average since January 2021. And these 9 hundreds include 5 daddy hundreds—228, 218, 186, 180*, and 153. The fact that he did this as England’s Test captain, when they only won 1 out of 17 Tests, in conditions such as Sri Lanka, India, West Indies, and Australia makes his run even more unbelievable.
So naturally the question arises. In the prime of his career, relieved of captaincy pressure, with possibly another 5-10 years ahead of him,can Joe Root break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 15,921 Test runs?
Root has left the rest of the Fab Four in his tracks 😲
Cook scored his first hundred at at the age of 21. In the next 7 years, he racked up 25 total. In his prime, his record read:
2009: 3 Tons
Tons in overseas Ashes win & subcontinental hundreds, Cook was at the top of the world. Even though he slowed down after 2013, by the time he climbed the 10K runs mountain, he had already amassed 28 Test centuries. And he was still young.
It looked like he was meant to break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 51 Test hundreds.
But then he didn’t.
He fell short. In fact, very, very short. Not by one, or two, or even 10 hundreds. By 18 hundreds.
Alastair Cook would only score 5 more centuries and retire from international cricket at the age of 33.
In comparison, when Tendulkar was about 31 years & 157 days old, he had 33 centuries already.
However, his form was about to take a dip. Between December 2004 & May 2007, Tendulkar only scored one Test century, a 109 vs Sri Lanka in 2005.
Questions were asked. Retirement calls surrounded the media. He couldn’t seem to go past the nervous nineties in ODI cricket. Tennis elbow injuries, Greg Chappell controversy, 2007 ODI WC horror—you name it, it looked like the end for legend Sachin Tendulkar.
But then Sachin Tendulkar had a second wind (almost as long as other people’s entire career). From 2008-2011, he scored 14 Test centuries. That is 14 hundreds after the age of 35.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Joe Rooooooooooooot needs 5906 more Test runs to equal Tendulkar’s record of 15,921, which is a very long way to go
He’s scored 5912 runs in his last 69 Tests
You could add Trescothick’s entire career to Root’s and it would still be short of Tendulkar’s runs
As Mark Puttick pointed out, Trescothick scored 5825 runs in his entire 76-Test career. Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh’s most prolific Test run-scorer, has scored 5235 runs after 82 Tests and 15 years.
Root needs 5906 more.
He either needs to continue his golden touch for couple more years or needs to have a Tendulkar-esque final phase.
So, Can Joe Root Overtake Sachin Tendulkar’s Test Run Tally?
Cook retired early not because cricket had left him. He retired because he had given his everything to the game and achieved what every aspiring English player would dream of. He might even have been burnt out.
It was just a personal choice. Maybe he just wanted to give back to the roots at Essex. He is still going strong at County Cricket. Currently standing at 72 first class tons and having a stellar season.
Life is nonlinear.
Unlike statistics on a chart, real-life will have its share of twists and turns. There will be bumps on the road. Us armchair critics just jump to conclusions too quickly. No individual can continue to be at the peak of powers infinitely.
Now is the time for the moment of truth. Who was the closest? Were there any major surprises? Let’s find out.
Before we dive to the winners, here are the results from this year’s IPL.
Jos Buttler (863 Runs) RR
KL Rahul (616) LSG
Quinton de Kock (508) LSG
Yuzvendra Chahal (27 wickets) RR
Wanindu Hasaranga (26 wickets) RCB
Kagiso Rabada (23 wickets) PBKS
#Winner: Gujarat Titans
#Top4: GT, RR, RCB, LSG
#EmergingPlayer: Umran Malik
#SurprisePackage: Gujarat Titans team surprising everybody, Dinesh Karthik 4.0, Mohsin Khan, Rajat Patidar, Tilak Verma, Rinku Singh, David Miller 3.0, Umran Malik, Jitesh Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed 2.0, Dewald Brevis, Tim David towards the end, Arshdeep Singh’s death over accuracy, captain Hardik Pandya, Rishi Dhawan providing balance to PBKS, SRH’s streaks of wins & losses, R Sai Kishore seamlessly going from SMAT greatness to IPL, R Ashwin being R Ashwin (retired out, promoted to #3, finishing games off, bowling behind the umpire, etc.)
#BrokenDream: Virat Kohli & Kane Williamson underwhelm, RCB so near so far yet again, Evin Lewis’ catch crushes Rinku Singh led KKR revival, Buttler 863 fails to break the 973 record, MI/CSK end at the bottom, KL Rahul on the losing side once again despite runs
Other IPL Awards
Most Valuable Player: Jos Buttler
Super Striker: Dinesh Karthik (183 SR)
Game Changer: Jos Buttler
Fastest Delivery: Lockie Ferguson (157.3 kph)
Perfect Catch: Evin Lewis (KKR vs LSG)
FairPlay Award: GT & RR
How Prediction Points Were Awarded
Depending on how many predictions you attempted, there were a total of 11/12 points up for grab. Here is the points breakdown:
Orange/Purple Cap: 2 Points for the Exact Answer, 1 Points for someone else in the Top 3
For example, you would get 2 points if you had predicted Buttler/Chahal for the orange/purple cap respectively, 1 point for KL Rahul or QDK/Hasaranga or Rabada, and 0 otherwise
Top4: 4 Points Total, +1 for each of the play-off participants
Emerging Player/Surprise Package: Since there were several uncapped players who performed above expectations this time around (and since there were 0 predictions for Umran Malik), any reasonable guess will get a point (examples in the #SurprisePackage list above)
By Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, 06/04/2022
Cheteshwar Pujara. Mohammad Rizwan. Sussex. One of the highlights of the County Cricket summer so far.
Pujara’s run was nothing short of astonishing—5 matches, 8 innings, 4 centuries, including two doubles, 720 runs, 120 average. Rizwan, although not as prolific, hit a couple of half centuries as well. Pujara has now made a comeback to the Indian Test team for the fifth Test and has acclimatized to the English conditions a month ahead of time.
NZ looked in all sorts and decimated to 132/10 via ageless Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, and debutant Matty Potts. In response, England punched above their weight and scored 59/0 with Zak Crawley finally finding some form.
Then Crawley threw it away. 59/1 No worries.
Then departed ever-promising never-performing Ollie Pope. England 75/2. Root stepped into the ground after 20 overs. Can you believe that, 20 overs? Two backfoot punches, business as usual. England 92/2.
However, Colin de Grandhomme reignited 2019 WC Final memories to get rid of Joe Root. Then came silky Southee around the wicket and IPL finalist Trent Boult to wreak havoc. Another England collapse. 5 runs & 8 wickets in 25 balls. From 59/0 to 92/2 to 100/7 and eventually 141 all out.
Kevin Pietersen has been ridiculed for his adamant proposal on “Franchising County Cricket.” Reduce the number of counties and things will be all good, right? Well, Matty Potts (Durham) has just come up from second division and seemed to fit right in, while Root/Bairstow (Yorkshire)-Foakes (Surrey) are first division players. Poor batting displays boil down to two reasons–a bowling era (pitches/quality of bowlers) and technical deficiencies of the batters.
Thought of the Day
Now let’s shift our focus back on Pujara-Rizwan. Why are they in England? To improve their batting skills, face different conditions, and prepare themselves when their countries play England, right?
Just like T20 specialists these days go around the world and play in the IPL, PSL, BBL, CPL, etc., why can’t England players hone their techniques in Sheffield Shield or Ranji Trophy in the off season? Ex-England chief executive, Tom Harrison, wrote to Australian board to allow English players after the Ashes loses.
So why don’t England players these days play in overseas domestic first-class tournaments?
Jersey Movie Review HindiBy Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams, 6/2/2022
After 83 and Kaun Pravin Tambe and Bandon Mein Tha Dum coming soon, another cricket movie hit the screen this year – Jersey.
Remake of the 2019 Telugu movie of the same name, Jersey explores the conflict of a promising cricketer who left the sport early and struggles financially but is inspired to make an improbable comeback due to his son’s wish to buy an official Indian cricket jersey.
Netflix Summary:Ten years after quitting cricket, a gifted but dejected ex-batsman pursues a spot on the national team, hoping to fulfill his son’s wish for a jersey. Netflix Link
Protagonist: Shahid Kapoor as Arjun Talwar
Pankaj Kapoor as coach Baali
Mrunal Thakur as wife Vidya Talwar
Prit Kamani as son Ketan (Kittu) Talwar (grown up)
Ronit Kamra as son Ketain Talwar (young)
Anjum Batra as Arjun’s best friend, Amrit
Directed By: Gowtam Tinnamuri
Release Date: April 22, 2022 (Theatre release, now on Netflix)
Length: 2 hour, 48 minutes
Language: Hindi (English subtitles available)
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Jersey Hindi Movie – Summary
Jersey is a fictional story that revolves around the journey of a domestic cricketer named Arjun Talwar, who plays for Punjab.
The movie begins in present-day with Ketan Talwar, Arjun’s son, narrating his father’s story. The movie pivots back to the 1985-86 Duleep Trophy (North Zone Vs South Zone). Shahid Kapoor enters as Arjun Talwar to bat in the stadium with these phenomenal domestic career stats run as his introduction
The Main Conflict
In the next scene, Arjun slams his fist on a window frame after his coach Baali exclaims that Arjun’s name was removed overnight from the Indian team squad due to a “printing mistake.”
Seemingly due of this internal politics and disappointment, he slams out the door and angrily yells, “I quit cricket.” At the age of 26, he leaves the sport, settles with his wife, and joins the Food Corporation of India.
Next, the movie fast-forwards ten years later to Ketan’s childhood and regularly flashbacks to Arjun’s early life. In the flashback, Arjun is portrayed as charismatic, confident, and one of the best batters in the Ranji system. In his current avatar, Arjun struggles financially, circles lawyers in court case for alleged corruption (although he is honest), is frequently argues with his wife, and generally stays away from society. Even when Baali offers him an assistant coaching position, he refuses.
The Turning Point
All of this changes when his son asks him for an Indian cricket team jersey. When no avenues for funds remain, he decides to participate in a charity match between Punjab and New Zealand. Even though he doesn’t get the money, he scores a 100 against all odds, gains attention of selectors, and regains his will to play cricket.
At the age of 36, he trains hard, excels in training camp, and is selected for Punjab’s Ranji team. He scores centuries after centuries, the team gels wells, and Punjab races towards the final. In the final, Karnataka scores 454/6 declared.
Punjab are reeling at 45/4 when Arjun Talwar comes in. However, this time he departs for a golden duck. Clean bowled. Punjab collapse. For four days, Karnataka is in charge. In the final innings, a draw would mean Karnataka would win. So, Punjab has to go for the win.
47 overs, 352 target, 7.47 target, Punjab needs a miracle. Talwar shift up the order to open. After surviving a brief hostile spell, he piles in the runs and scores another daddy hundred. He brings it down to 36 off 12 balls and 14 needed in 6. In the final ball, he hits the balls towards the boundary, runs a couple of runs and dives.
Punjab win. Movie ends.
Spoiler Alert (you may skip this part if you have not yet seen the movie)
Or does it?
At the end of the movie, Arjun’s life is being felicitated. It turns out that he had arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and the last dive effectively ended his life.
Here is the twist. Arjun already knew about the diagnosis and subsequently quit cricket ten years ago. However, he did not let his friends or family know about his condition.
Throughout the film, it is assumed that he ran away since he could not face his troubles. In reality, he was just safeguarding is family from the pain. Even though he was warned to not play again, he did so for the sake of his son.
Finally in that ceremony, it is revealed that Arjun was, in fact, selected for India’s ODI team after his domestic performances in 1996 and would have played had he lived. That jersey is given to his son and the movie completes full circle.
Jersey Movie Inspirational Quotes
“Should I play or not? Arjun asks his son.
Play papa, play. Play with your whole heart. Whenever you play cricket, you look like a hero to me“his son responds.
With Rafael Nadal’s 14th victory at the Roland Garros, Joe Denly’s century in the Vitality Blast, and Dinesh Karthik & Wriddhiman Saha’s resurgence in IPL 2022, it looks like 36+ sportsmen are the flavor of the season. Arjun’s story is applicable to their careers as well. Even with injuries, ups and down, they just keep on going.
Shahid Kapoor is back with another great performance. Early in his career, he had an image of playing this nice, young polite character. In the last couple of movies (Udta Punjab, Haider, and Kabir Singh), he has played more aggressive roles and tried to change that image. In Jersey though, Shahid has combined the best of both worlds. On the outside, he is portrayed as brash and angry, but his demeanor is one of honesty, kindness, and love.
My favorite part of the movie was the chemistry between Shahid Kapoor and Pankaj Kapoor (real life father), who acted as his coach in this movie. Their relationship is depicted as one of friendship and Talwar’s only family. Pankaj’s acting is outstanding and keeps the story moving with his equally comic and emotional acting.
Special mention to Talwar’s friend group, the younger Kittu, and journalist for playing their roles to perfection.
Jersey Movie Review Hindi: Watch It or Skip It?
Definitely watch this one.
The main storyline that depicts the father-son relationship is done very well. Although the script itself is a bit far-fetched, the acting keeps Jersey going. The cricket scenes are not as realistic as 83, but they are good enough to not detract from the film (think Iqbal-esque screenplay).
Watch it for Shahid Kapoor, Pankaj Kapoor, and the inspirational we can take from a cricketer’s journey in our lives—keep on trying.
Other Cricketers Who Were Forced to Retire Early
James Taylor was diagnosed with ARVC (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy). He was forced to quit cricket at the age of 26 due to this incurable diagnosis and immediately had a surgery.
He represented England in 7 Tests and 27 ODIs (1-100, 7-50s). His List A career numbers are stellar (136 matches, 9306 runs, 53.11 average, 15-100s, 30-50s). In FC cricket, he racked up 9306 runs, 20-100s, 47-50s at an average of 46.06 as well.
Although not due to heart condition, Raman Lamba passed away on 22nd February,1998 on a cricket ground while playing in a domestic Bangladesh Dhaka Premier League after being hit in the head while fielding.
He played for Delhi and had a stellar first-class record (8776 runs, 31 centuries, 27 fifties, 53.84 average). He scored a couple of triple centuries including a 320 in a Duleep Trophy (1986-87) between North Zone and West Zone.
Lamba represented India in 4 Tests & 6 ODIs, including a Man of the Series performance in an ODI against Australia in 1987.