‘Need to be care­ful about 100-ball cricket’

The Sunday Guardian - - Sports -

KOLKATA: For­mer In­dia cap­tain Sourav Gan­guly on Fri­day joined some of the English play­ers who have ex­pressed their con­cerns about the England and Wales Cricket Board’s plan for a 100-ball com­pe­ti­tion, but re­mained open-minded about how it’s go­ing to shape up.

“It’s ac­tu­ally 16 and half overs. So from 50 overs, it has come down to 20 and now to 16 and a half. Let’s see what hap­pens. I think they are try­ing to make 100 a num­ber in­stead of overs. We will have to wait and see how shorter it gets. “You got to be very care­ful that it should not be such that be­fore a spec­ta­tor comes and blinks, the thing is over,” Gan­guly said while speak­ing at the Pro Star League, an U-16 school cricket tour­na­ment which aims to iden­tify and nur­ture ta­lent at the grass­roots.

“The spec­ta­tor wants the fun and pres­sure to go on for a cer­tain pe­riod of time and then find gen­uine ta­lent and gen­uine win­ners,” he added.

Gan­guly said the shorter the for­mat gets, the gulf be­tween the best and the or­di­nary re­duces.

“The shorter the for­mat gets, the dif­fer­ence be­tween the very good and the or­di­nary be­comes much lesser.”

The 45-year old put his weight be­hind test cricket, say­ing the real chal­lenge is when you have to bowl with the same in­ten­sity even in the last ses­sion of a day.

“That’s why test cricket is the big­gest chal­lenge in cricket still. It tests you as you have to come and bowl in the morn­ing and then in the af­ter­noon and then at tea time when you’re tired field­ing all day, you still have to bowl at 140kps and that’s when it’s tough.

“The 100-ball cricket for­mat was pro­posed in April as a way to at­tract new and younger au­di­ences to the game but has had a mixed re­ac­tion from play­ers and fans.

England direc­tor of cricket An­drew Strauss has said the 100-ball pro­posal, which the ECB wants to in­tro­duce from 2020, is aimed at “mums and kids in the sum­mer hol­i­days”.

The pro­gramme in­volves over 900 schools across 10 cities hav­ing 24 teams from four zones — east, west, north and south — qual­i­fy­ing for the men­tor­ship phase.

Gan­guly is one of the men­tors along­with Yu­vraj Singh, V.V.S. Lax­man and Za­heer Khan. “When I was grow­ing up, there was not enough school cricket in Ben­gal. Bom­bay had a lot of school cricket. The likes of Sachin (Ten­dulkar and Vinod (Kam­bli) had come up by scor­ing lots of runs in school cricket. So it’s im­por­tant that school kids get an op­por­tu­nity,” Gan­guly said about the im­por­tance of school cricket. IANS

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