Leaving their cynicism and reservations aside, cricket fans lapped up the return of Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir to the international fold. The manner in which the left-hander bowled to India during Saturday’s Asia Cup T20 game in Bangladesh underlined yet again what the evil of spot fixing had deprived cricket followers of since that 2010 scandal in England.
The other aspect worth rejoicing in is the kind of strip Amir was bowling on. The Amir vs Kohli contest on a bowler-friendly pitch was a sight for the gods. This was a refreshing departure from what we constantly see in T20 and 50-over cricket, where bat dominates ball to such an extent that not many kids would like to become bowlers. The Bangladeshi curators deserve a pat on their backs for the kind of tracks they have rolled out for the Asia Cup. The sight of raining fours and sixes is too much of a good thing. There is a limit to what bowlers can do with their variety and it is a shame that cricket administrators are not doing enough to make limited overs cricket contests fair.
Curators have often lamented how they are pushed to prepare flat pitches because it contributes to a financially healthier game. It’s also time for cricket fans to realise that a cricket match is not only about big hits, but subtleties and variations. The more they accept this junk food-like element in their sporting diet, the more the administrators will provide.
It was also heartening to see a good, pace-friendly pitch for the recent Mumbai vs Saurashtra Ranji Trophy final at Pune. Sure, the game was completed inside three days, but that was not because of Pandurang Salgaocar’s greenish pitch. It was because Mumbai exploited it well and Saurashtra just fell to pieces.
Pune also laid out a seaming track for the India vs Sri Lanka T20 game that MS Dhoni found too English in nature. Even at the risk of becoming unpopular, curators should think of fast bowlers while going about their jobs. That’s easier said than done considering the amount of pressure involved, but there must be a way to infuse excitement in the game. Probably, more fast bowlers should become curators.