Thursday, April 12, 2007

If Sri Lanka can produce a top class cricket team, why can't Karnataka...

If Sri Lanka with a population of 20 million can produce a quality cricket team, there is no reason why every state of India cannot do the same. Yes, I am not talking about single Indian team, but every state - Karnataka, TN, Maharashtra etc with populations 2-4 times that of SL should be producing such teams. After all, these states are no worse than SL in economic parameters or in level of interest in cricket and we are no different genetically/racially either.

So why doesn't it happen? Simply because of this stupid nationality based format which allows a Test team for a tiny country like SL but also limits a huge nation like India to one team. So since the requirement is to produce just one team out of a billion population the system has geared itself to produce just one team out of this huge amount of raw material we have. Change the requirement to produce twenty teams instead of one and each state will be churning out a team like that of SL or the current Indian team.

Just goes to show ICC's stupidity - they constrain a huge cricket crazy nation of one billion into producing just one team and then go around desperately trying to create teams in places like Netherlands, Canada, what have you.

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silkboard said...

Oh yes! Why wait for ICC to do it. Hope Zee, Nimbus or BCCI will do this sooner :)

Anonymous said...

Well... going by the population ratios if we could find 1100 international level cricketers in India, we should also had many thousands olympic medals by now. I wish everything were in such equal ratios. On the other hand world would not be talking about the 3 million plus programmers in India either. It is nice to believe that all men are created equsl, for their fundamental rights, but does not mean they are equal in all respects. Indian selectors are finding it difficult to find the 13th player beyond the old men they still hang on to. They keep saying they are "rested" (well, true they are old, but old people retire too). So I think it is ego to think that Karnataka can produce top class cricket team because they have more population than Sri Lanka.
Now, coming to question, why can't Karnataka produce, there are numerous reasons.. players attitude, easy money, politics in selection, lack of dedication, lack of coaching, lack of school grounds, lack of facilities at grass root level, etc. Cricket is no exception. Lets admit, we can't produce good athletes. We don't have 11 good players to play soccer. We dont compete in Asiad, forget world cup. So why do we think we can in Cricket? It is not right to blame the "one team one nation" policy alone. If it were true, we should have at least produced one team consitently better than SriLanka first, for that matter all other cricket playing nations. When we are lesser than Bangladesh and Srilanka it is not statistically correct to prove we can in every state.
What I can believe is, Australia can field their 10 teams and 8 of them will be in super 8. Not because of population ratio, just their physical strength and mental toughness. Agree, it was not the same in 80s, they were beatable then, but I can't see that happening next decade or so. So more than us, who return after first week in world cup, 77 more aussies should be blaming the "one team, one nation" policy of BCCI. We have only us to blame.

Mohan said...

silkboard: Indeed. Can't wait for Zee's league to take off.

Not able to produce olympic medalists, soccer team, etc. - simple, there is no interest for those sports in India. Whereas that is not the case with cricket. There is a huge interest in cricket across the country.

lack of school grounds, lack of infrastructure, politics, etc. - Sri Lanka is no better. Worse than India, in fact. Then how come they can produce a team almost as good as India's? Simple. There is a requirement to produce such a team and they do that. Similarly, bcci is required to produce just one average team and that's what they are doing perfectly. They have nothing to gain by producing a world beating team - in terms of keeping the viewers interested, an average, unpredictable team like India that can even beat Australia one day and manage to lose to Bangladesh another day is the best you can do. Now, you ask bcci to produce 20 teams instead of one and they will produce 20 similar teams. Sure, we may not have the conditions (genes, diet, weather) etc to produce top class fast bowlers like Australia and South Africa, but we can produce another 100 Zaheer's and Agarkar's, Tendulkar's and Dravid's.

Think of it this way - we have 100 times the raw material of same quality as Sri Lanka have. But both are required to produce just one team and naturally the end product of both is roughly of same quality. Just because we have more raw material, we can't produce teams of higher quality. But what we *can* do is produce more teams of same quality.

It is simple logic, but first you need to get rid of the notion that I am bragging about India or making this argument to show that India is superior or anything. Most people in India have gone beyond looking at cricket performance as a matter of pride (even when they do well), because now India's progress is most spheres of life is taken for granted. Cricket is just an entertainment show rather than a matter of national pride.

Mohan said...

again, when I say we can produce another 20 teams of same quality, that doesn't mean there are 20 Dravid's and Tendulkar's waiting to be picked in domestic cricket. BCCI has no need to keep dozens of Tendulkar's on the bench and naturally they don't pay the domestic cricketers well and as a result talented players seek out other careers rather than waiting in the wings. So that answers your question, "if we can produce so many teams, then how come there are no decent back-up players to replace the existing ones". bcci obviously believes in just-in-time production - when there is a need to replace the existing players, they go and get them. Yes, it might take a while, but then, what's the hurry. It is not like their revenues are impacted if the team loses a couple of series.

Anonymous said...

Mohan: I got confused with your comment that "..karnataka can produce a top class cricket TEAM.. " I was reading it more from the team perspective, since it is a team sport, and objective is to win. I was also thinkig outside of what India has produced so far, individuals. Yes, we can spread the stars in to 20 different teams, and elevate some lesser stars into higher star level of Tendulkar and Drvid and keep drawing the crowd. Even with Tendulkars, Dravids in one team, we have not produced a top class team which wins consistently. So that constraint of one team should be relaxed to have a more optimal revenue plan.
So it would have appropriate if the title were "top class cricketers " rather than a team concept here.
Now coming to commnets regarding "pride.. progress.. " etc. will leave that for a later time.

Mohan said...

"Even with Tendulkars, Dravids in one team, we have not produced a top class team which wins consistently."

Shekar, remember I was comparing with the Sri Lankan team. Indian team is still a better team than them - we are ranked 4th in Tests and they are ranked 5th. Don't let the results of couple of world cup matches cloud your judgement. All I am saying is we can produce 20 more such teams if given the opportunity.

And no, it is not just a matter of distributing the stars and elevating a few others. My argument is not based on what exists today but based on the amount of raw material and the potential that is there. You remove the constraint of one team, then the system will automatically reconfigure itself to produce as many teams as required and then we will see dozens of Tendulkar's and Dhoni's blooming across the country. To give you an example - when Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman made their test debut in '96, millions of aspiring batsmen across the country must have stopped playing cricket seriously because they knew the middle order was set for next decade and there is no point continuing to play just the domestics hoping for one of them to fail. If there were 20 teams instead of one, they need not have given up and there would have been many more Dravid's and Laxman's.

Anonymous said...

"we are ranked 4th and they are ranked 5th". Is that all the difference the abundance of "raw material" can bring into the quality? Everything else being equal (as you said), we should have had a minimum of 3 Vaas, 2 Murali, 2 JayaSuriya, and our own Dravid, Tendulkar, Dhoni, Yuvraj in every team. The probability of producing such one team in India to SriLanka is over 600:1. You tell me why Indian team will be just one notch above Sri Lanka and knocked out twice in WC. Oh yes, people stopped playing cricket. They never thought that these stars could break a finger once in the 45 ODIs every year and they could be in the team and could be looking at a few millions in ad money right away. If one innings in 96 could set three middle order batsmen for life, with the abundance of raw material they could be knocked out with, it just goes to prove my point how unjust our selection process is. The abundance of raw material should have made Tendulkar a thing of the past when he hit two consecutive zeros in his first two ODIs, or no centuries in his first 45 ODIs, at an ordinary average of 30+. But it does not happen in Indian team. Because there was no one better to replace him. Not just then, even today. When Bret Lee gets injured Shaun Tait comes in, you immediately forget Lee. How? The abundance is in quality, not quantity. Having a million more who huff and puff to play 30 overs does not entitle India to have 20 more teams. It adds no value to international cricket. There is no data to prove that there could 40 more power hitters like Hayden and Symonds. So why watch 20 more pathetic Gangulys?
I am amazed at the theories you can come up with and state it as if there is data to prove it. Oh ya, I forgot, there is no need for proof, because the theory is so logical :).
BTW, I am still waiting for a proof for why India exit out of WC 2007 while it could bring in 70% of advertisements. Or why all Indian series are not going to the last ball to be decided. Or why India is not in so many finals in the recent past. Questioning everything is fine.. providing answers is entirely different... :)

Mohan said...

"You tell me why Indian team will be just one notch above Sri Lanka and knocked out twice in WC."

Because there is no requirement to produce a better team. Every system organizes itself to produce optimal results. In this case, optimal for bcci is to produce the kind of team they are producing. Why would they do any better when there is no need to?

"Having a million more who huff and puff to play 30 overs does not entitle India to have 20 more teams. It adds no value to international cricket."

Are you kidding? Having 20 more teams like India will do wonders to international cricket. You no longer have to have teams like Bermuda, Ireland, Kenya, Canada etc participating in world cup. You can have 25-30 teams of absolute top class quality each of whom can compete with everyone else. Sure they may all not be Australia, but still pretty close. Compare with say football. In terms of geographical area or population, football's reach is not much bigger than cricket. European Union is to football what India is to cricket. Yet they can have 32 teams in world cup atleast 16-20 of which can compete at the top level because they don't have just one united team for whole EU. If they had done that like cricket, then they too would have had just 3 top class teams - EU, Brazil, Argentina and very little else. Instead, now they have Germany, France, England, Italy, Portugal, Sweden etc. Sure these regions call themselves countries, whereas we here in India refer to such regions as states, but that is hardly relevant.

In any case, it is simple logic. Since there is nothing to differentiate between Sri Lanka and India in any parameters (genes, infrastructure, per capita GDP, level of interest in cricket etc) it follows that each state of India should be able to produce a team like that of SL. If that hasn't happened, it is only because of lack of opportunity and nothing else.

As for wc fixing etc. well, we have beaten it to death.