Although the Super Series is on a shaky pitch so far, the ICC deserves some credit for at least giving it a try.
Its still early days, but it appears the fates have
conspired against the ICC and their grand plans for
the Super Series between world champions Australia
and the Rest of the World.
Certainly the first two matches at Melbourne's Telstra
Dome failed to inspire much interest among the
spectators. And the pathetic batting in the first match by the cream of the world's cricketers was also a big let-down.
Personally, as mentioned before in these columns, I am
disappointed by the way the ICC is bandying about this
official tag. Next week will see the first Test
match in 128 years not involving two countries and I
find this unsettling. No other world sport governing
body sanctions official status to such events.
Apart from that particular issue, some of the wind was
taken out of the sails of this concept with
Australia's defeat at the hands of England in the
Ashes series. It means that though the Aussies
continue to be ranked number one in the world, England
is close behind in second place, their air of
invincibility has been punctured.
Although the home side looks determined to erase the blemish of the Ashes setback and has registered two quick wins. The World team on the other hand is only be playing for individual pride and records. What else can possibly motivate a cricketer, apart from monetary gains, unless he is wearing the colours of
It is interesting that both the Aussie vice-captain
Adam Gilchrist and selector and former captain Allan
Border have raised this issue, though the ICC would
not be too pleased with their candour.
Also, the absence of Sachin Tendulkar was a big blow
for the organisers as he is still considered one of
the world's leading batsmen and would have brought
extra star quality to the series.
Cricket fans outside of Asia (where ODIs are dominant)
tend to be somewhat traditional and in this regard the
timing of the series is also suspect in the eyes of
Australian spectators where the season takes off only
in November. That may account for the poor turnout for
And while playing cricket indoors under a giant roof
eliminates the rain factor, that bane of cricket around
the world, it also takes something away from the
atmosphere associated with a cricket match, both
literally and figuratively.
Here again cricket's traditional aspects takes a beating as weather plays a key role in the way a match is conducted, the elements affecting both batting and bowling in numerous
The two previous Rest of the World series which were
sanctioned by the ICC (they had first-class but not
Test status) were played in England in 1970 and then
in Australia in 1971-72. England were trounced 4-1 while Australia were beaten 2-1.
Whether this will be an annual exercise or not depends
much on the response to the remaining ODI and the
Super Test. Although early indications are that this
could well be an experiment that backfires, the ICC deserves some credit for at least giving it a try.