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Afro-Asian Cup is bogus!
by Gulu Ezekiel
Aug 06, 2005
From a purely cricketing point of view, one fails to understand what purpose this contrived event will fulfill since the international calendar is already packed.

If on the other hand, it is meant to emphasis some sort of ‘Third World’ solidity in the world of cricket, then it appears even more pathetic.

In today’s post-Cold War world, concepts such as non-alignment and its like have lost their meaning and purpose. The real purpose one feels is to help some individuals cling to power while allowing others to sneak back in through the back door of world cricket.

India is one of the few cricket nations willing and happy to send their national team to the benighted nation of Zimbabwe where starvation and political ruthlessness are the norm. Even the country’s cricket has become irrelevant as it is nothing but a political tool in the hands of the ruthless government.

The Zimbabwe cricket chief Peter Chingoka is an agent of that government and no doubt he will use the Afro-Asian Cup as a convenient way to re-establish his tarnished credentials. After all, the tournament involves six of the 10 ODI playing nations.

No doubt the collective arm-twisting power of those six nations was enough to persuade the ICC to grant the matches official ODI status. Having granted this status to last year’s tsunami charity match at Melbourne, the ICC had little choice in the matter.

Few if any international sporting bodies grant official status to matches which do not involve two nations facing each other. FIFA, world football’s governing body for example labels all charity games and those involving continental or world sides simply as ‘friendlies.’

The ICC has surely cheapened international cricket by being so cavalier in bandying about the ‘official’ tag.

All this makes it all the more astonishing that Sourav Ganguly should raise such a storm over his exclusion from the Asian XI.

On current form alone he would probably have been dropped some time back if not for the fact that he was (and may soon be again) the captain of the Indian team.

Ganguly has of course come back with a rather scratchy innings of 51 in the last match against Sri Lanka. But that does not take away the fact that it has been three long years and 68 innings since he last scored an ODI century against a full-fledged nation (v. England at Colombo in September 2002).

In between he did score three centuries in the 2003 World Cup but those came against Kenya (2) and Namibia. In fact Ganguly’s ODI average since the start of 2004 (36 matches) is a poor 29.41.

While it is true that Virender Sehwag (who has been selected) averages just 27.74, that is hardly cause for Ganguly and his loyal band of supporters to raise such a hue and cry over the decision of the selectors.

Ganguly would be well advised to first ensure he can score consistently for India and cement his place in the side as a batsman before he entertains further thoughts of making it into any combined side.

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