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Thursday, January 26, 2006

net bowlers to enhance net worth

One more exercise in futility has come to an end with the second Test in Faislabad going the way of the first one at Lahore. When the pitch is prepared to ensure a draw, it means that the host team management is apprehensive of the outcome. Such tactics can be interpreted to be abject surrender to the better team, instead of proving in the field which is the better team. The visiting team, obviously, scores the psychological advantage. It speaks volumes for the management of the Indian team.

Cricket is one of the most attractive of outdoor games today. It is enjoyed by the young and the old alike from Chandigarh to Chennai, from Vadodara to Visakhapatnam, from Kolkata to Kanyakumari – whether it is an ODI or a Test match is immaterial. The longer version was written off by some, but it is regaining ground and is inching up the popularity chart thanks to the induction of youngsters who love to dazzle with both the bat and the ball. Today, it is becoming a team of 11 all-rounders. The electronic media has played a major role in this aspect – all the major TV channels like Aaj-Tak, NDTV, Star News, and Sahara News rope in specialists of the game who present their versions of the forecasts before the start of play and the analysis at the end. The time slots are also staggered to allow greater participation. Gone are the days when a score of 125 for a full day’s play was passé – today scores are accounted as the number of runs versus the number of balls faced. Also, RPO has become an important index to judge the effectiveness of either the bowler of the batsman – if the RPO is small, credit goes to the bowler; else, to the batsman.

In such a changing scenario, the thought of allowing ‘spare’ bowlers into the team throws up immense possibilities. Apart from the regulars, whose numbers are restricted, this option of carrying ‘net bowlers’ will permit a few more players to travel with the team and enjoy fringe benefits. It will enhance the net worth of the team.

If the idea does find favor, we may see several others inducted into the team. For example, experts may be roped in to prepare those fluffy idlis or the crispy dosas when the players are in the Caribbean or down under. There could also be cuisine specialists capable of preparing mouth watering veggie dishes with locally available ingredients, or who can prepare paneer in far off countries and transform the paneer into delectable matar-paneer or palak-paneer or who excel in serving typical Indian sweets like gajar-ki-halwa or rosogollas or gulab-jamuns. Other important additions could be considered of the footwear specialist, the hair stylist and the clothes man. Such positive actions will certainly boost the morale of the team, encourage them to give their best and not make them homesick.

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