Saturday, Dec 07, 2002
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By K. SRIKKANTH
It was unfortunate that the Indians had the silly `Max Game' as their first match on the tour of New Zealand. It just did not make sense.
As it is, the Indians have just one first class game ahead of the first Test, and here they were forced to play in what effectively was an exhibition match, that was only going to hamper their preparation for the Test series.
The rules of this so called `Max Cricket,' have been framed in such a manner that the bowlers have been absolutely marginalised. As it is, the very nature of one-day cricket (we are talking about 50 overs a side games here) works against them, and Max cricket completely, `destroys' them.
If batsmen start collecting 12 and eight runs for sixes and fours aimed at a particular area, just imagine how a bowler's figure will look at the end of a stint. It's just not fair.
I must say that Max Cricket is not the game to assess, judge, or evaluate a player's performance. The bizarre Max Cricket rules are such that it would give you a distorted picture. Having 40 overs split into four innings, just to provide artificial thrills, is hardly the way to promote or popularise the game.
It is cruel to put the players through such meaningless games at the start of a tour. Some might call it just an exhibition match, but, as a former cricketer, I can tell you that a cricketer can get demoralised even in such games, for the pressure to perform is often very high.
There is no need for experiments such as `Max Cricket' when there already is so much limited overs cricket played. One-day matches continue to be so popular, and there really is little requirement to condense the game even further.
It is time that the International Cricket Council stepped in and ensured that Max Cricket was not a part of a touring side's programme. It is the job of the ICC to ensure that cricket is played in a popular way, and not in a manner that makes a mockery of the rules.
If at all, such matches and concepts have a place, it is during the off-season, when the players can have some practice and also some fun. Otherwise, there are enough thrills in regular limited overs cricket.
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