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Chris Gayle – Pointing out the elephant in the room

May 13, 2009

Someone’s finally gone and said it. That it “wouldn’t be so sad” if test cricket eventually gave way to the twenty20 version.What Chris Gayle really meant was “It wouldn’t be so bad if lucrative IPL stints weren’t hampered by silly things like representing your country in test series”.

It is possible that he has developed such a strong bond for his IPL franchise that he rated playing an extra game for them higher than getting over jet lag in time to turn up at Lord’s. Yes, Lord’s. For all those years of talk about “too much cricket”, the Australian board had to actually prescribe R&R for its players ahead of the Ashes. Earlier, Dwayne Bravo made little secret of his glee at not being chosen for the England series by throwing himself around for the Mumbai Indians in South Africa. The reason for his exclusion, fitness.

Pre-IPL kid: Wakes up, dons whites, shrugs on his kit bag, warms up, visualizes his hero (one of top 10 list of run-scorers/wicket-takers on test matches over the last 5 – 10 years) , practices hard, dreams of scoring a ton on debut at Lord’s…

Flash-forward three years…

  • The big draws now excuse themselves from national duty in the build up to the IPL. Not contractually allowed? but what’re you going to do about niggles?
  • TRP races will have elevated the bits and pieces cricketers to demi-god status, when those with the ‘swishiest’ blades will endorse their team owners’ products. Test cricket relegated to those times of the year when the IPL can’t be played (like monsoon season on the subcontinent)
  • Those knocking on the doors of the U-19 teams of their respective states will prefer adding part-time slow-medium bowler to their resume in addition to big-hitter than refine that non-essential skill of a backfoot defensive.
  • Sure, fielding skills will be slightly elevated (amazing how much less grass burns hurt when they fetch you the additional $200K), but the next generation of batsmen will look like mass-produced assembly line products, ugly ones, that move their front foot towards mid-on and heave at the ball, irrespective of line or length.
  • Bowling. What’s that?

Post-IPL kid: Wakes up later (coz of the IPL game last night), dons his multi-coloureds, snaps on the franchise headband of the Ahmedabad Kiteflyers, remembers the roar of the crowds as he attempts to launch each delivery out of the ground while complaining about the tinge of grass left behind by the groundsman, dreams of franchise cap…hugging voluptuous team owners (no, not the owner of the Bangalore Challengers)…

Gayle is only the first to say it.

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