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Thursday, March 06, 2008
The Indian cricket team has finally won an ODI series after six years,defeating ODI world champions Australia. Most of the new players have proved themselves in their very first ODI tournament overseas. But there is a flip side to this.While Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar have been tipped to be the future spearheads,the selectors will now find it challenging to accommodate the likes of Zaheer Khan and R P Singh into the side. Going into a game with four pace bowlers cannot be considered a viable option due to the presence of Piyush Chawla,India's new full-time leg spinner after Anil Kumble. Given that he is able to turn the ball,it is important that he be given sufficient chances so that he can be groomed into someone like Kumble. The best thing the selectors could do is to create a pool of ten fast bowlers from which they could pick the best performers. This might help avoid creating a problem of plenty.

The Indian Cricket League,which was expected to meander in oblivion, while the IPL auction was going on,seems to be growing strong with players like Damien Martyn, Jason Gillespie and Mike Kasprowicz signing up for the T20 grand championship scheduled to begin on March 9. Edelweiss Capital has offered to sponsor Rs.20 crore for the ICL, resolving, to some extent, the problem of sponsorship.However it has to do something innovative, apart from signing in retired overseas players, to live up to its goal of changing the face of Indian cricket.

Two new teams have come up in the ICL. They are the Ahmedabad Rockets and Lahore Badshahs. The former will be captained by Damien Martyn while the latter by Inzamam-ul-Haq, who captained the ICL's Hyderabad Heroes in its last tournament. Hyderabad Heroes will in turn be led by Chris Harris. The first non-Indian team has been created supposedly because of the large number of Pakistani players signing up. However Shabbir Ahmed will continue to play for the Chennai Superstars.

Given the huge number of New Zealanders in the ICL, it would not be surprising if another non-Indian team, say "Wellington Wizards" or "Auckland Fighters" were formed. Picture this:Nathan Astle,Chris Cairns,Craig McMillan,Hamish Marshall,Shane Bond,Daryl Tuffey,Adam Parore,Chris Harris,Andre Adams--most of them phenomenal cricketers. The reason for switching to the ICL is because of the insufficient remuneration and the unstable contracts with the national side. This reminds one of the Australian team of the 1970s most of the players of which signed up with Kerry Packer for his World Series.

With the ICL Grand T20 on March 9 and the second edition of the IPL auction on March 11, there definitely is cricket happening everywhere.

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