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Miss and no hit!

Updated on: 28 February,2024 06:17 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Balvinder Singh Sandhu |

The lucrative IPL serves as a safety net, allowing players to skip other domestic cricket games without losing their place in the team. It’s time to reschedule the Ranji Trophy

Miss and no hit!

A representation image of the 2023 IPL. Pic/Getty Images

Balvinder Singh SandhuFuelled by their passion for the game, cricketers in the past exhibited extraordinary courage, endured excruciating pain and took injuries in their stride with the sole purpose of representing their country.

Legends like Sunil Gavaskar and Mohinder ‘Jimmy’ Amarnath demonstrated remarkable resilience. Jimmy, despite being hit on the head by Richard Hadlee and suffering a hairline fracture in the English summer of 1979, continued to play through various injuries. Gavaskar, after taking a fierce blow to the forehead from Malcolm Marshall, elegantly scored a brilliant unbeaten 147 at Georgetown in 1983.

Ravi Shastri, known for his mental toughness, faced tough times on the 1982-83 tour of Pakistan, where he was asked by skipper Gavaskar to open the batting in the final Test. Despite a hand injury, Shastri batted for long hours, scoring 128 against the Pakistani pace bowling. This gritty performance likely changed the trajectory of his career.
In the 1980-81 series Down Under, Sandeep Patil was hit on the head by Len Pascoe. After being sent to the hospital, he scored an epic 174 in the next Test at Adelaide, challenging the formidable Australian pace attack.

Cmmitment at all levels

Anshuman Gaekwad faced brutal deliveries include one from Michael Holding which hit his left ear at Kingston in 1976, but didn’t give up. The commitment of these players went beyond the international level. Even at lower levels (Kanga League in this case), players, like this columnist played through pain, emphasising their passion for the sport.

During that era, players were driven by emotion rather than professionalism, as monetary rewards were not a significant motivator. With a limited number of international series per season, missing an opportunity meant a prolonged wait to rejoin the Indian team. This challenge was a great motivator, prompting players to passionately pursue their goal of representing India. The era was characterised by players’ dedication and love for the game, making sacrifices, and enduring pain for the sheer joy of playing cricket.

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Players then didn’t have fancy gyms or personal trainers. They stayed fit by practising in the nets, bowling and spending time batting. Their diets were simple, often relying on home-cooked meals due to limited funds. The equipment they used wasn’t as advanced as today’s standards.

Nowadays, players take a more professional approach. They have better opportunities and financial security. The cricket calendar includes various series, providing chances for players to get into the national team. The IPL serves as a safety net, allowing players to skip other games without losing their place in the team.

Change leads to challenges

However, this change has led to some challenges. Players, especially those in the IPL, sometimes skip important domestic tournaments, affecting the quality of competition. This poses a problem for teams and associations investing in talent development. The BCCI, which supports these associations financially, views the IPL as a major contributor to its funds. To address this issue, the BCCI should think about rescheduling the Ranji Trophy. Moving it to October-December and having shorter games in January could give IPL players enough practice while keeping the Ranji Trophy prestigious and competitive. This adjustment will balance player-readiness for the IPL while considering the preferences of the newer generation who like quick and action-packed cricket, similar to fast food.

1983 World Cupper Balvinder Singh Sandhu could swing and turn the ball

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