Best Vs All the best; Cricket on vintage trip

Written by: Sajith Balakrishnan
Published: Monday, July 5, 2004, 15:49 [IST]
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The decision of International Cricket Council (ICC), the game's governing body to stage three One-day Internationals and a six-day Test match with a combined world XI against the number one ranked One-day International team and the leading team (Test nation) is the one to be welcomed whole-heartedly. The series that is to be known as Super Series is likely to take place next year probably in Australia considering the fact that the Kangaroos are (atleast for the moment) the number one side in the world in both forms of the game.

The Super Series will remind one of the games played with great fervour in the early 70's between Rest of the World XI featuring illustrious names such as Rohan Kanhai, Barry Richards, Tony Greig against top-notch sides of the time. It may be recalled that eventhough those matches lacked official Test status, Gary Sobers's 254 against the likes of Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson is still considered to the best knock in the annals of cricket history. The fact that the legendary Don Bradman lost his sangfroid on watching that innings proves the value of that immortal knock.

Now, cricket fans are in for a mouth-watering battle when a batting line-up comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Jacques Kallis takes guard against McGrath, Gillespie and Co on levelplaying grounds. Imagination boggles at such a thought. Cricket will be at its vintage best and crowds will flock to see Sachin having a whack at the red cherry and Shane Warne bamboozle a star-studded batting line-up with his mixed bag of tricks.

Legends like Wasim Akram in their playing days always lamented over the fact he couldn't bowl to Sachin on a pitch where there was something for the bowlers as the Indo-Pak matches were always held in the featherbeds of the subcontinent where the ball always kept low. Super Series provides an opportunity to correct such anomalies. For the time being, world's premier side will have a home advantage, but still to see Brett Lee unleashing his thunderbolts against the combined onslaught of Kallis and Sehwag will be invigorating. If the three ODIs provide relief for the slam-bang ideologists', the proposed six-day Test will be a connoisseurs' delight.

At a time when the ghosts of match-fixing as well as the chucking controversy still occupies reams of cricketing space, ICC deserves accolades for coming up with such an enthralling idea where the contest will be "even" between the bat and the ball.

Cricket will be returning to the good old days when it was played with great fervour, vim and vitality as well. The glorious uncertainties of the game are set to return. No longer are the contests going to become predictable. A fascinating contest is on the cards.

So, watch out!

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