Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features > Moments in history >

When the game of cricket was white and pure

When the game of cricket was white and pure

The Australians, led by Ian Chappell, set out uniformly in their whites and pullovers while spectators in the background looked chilled out. Cricket has changed a lot since those days in the 70s on and off the field © Getty Images

 

By Sarfaraz Rehman 

 

Lord’s, 1982. When Imran Khan threw the ball to Mudassar Nazar, a collective groan went up. England were nine without loss as I watched sitting on the rickety benches positioned on the cover boundary. Sarfraz Nawaz had gone off field from a suspected side strain.

 

As he ran into bowl, Mudassar looked like Shoaib Akhtar from where I was. I saw him bowl, saw the batsman leave and Wasim Bari dive behind the stumps but I didn’t see the ball. Suddenly, England were nine for three – Derek Randall, Allan Lamb and David Gower all back in the hut. Pakistan went onto win that match by 10 wickets.

 

Earlier, in January 1977, the team had to make 32 runs as the whole of Pakistan tuned into proceedings from the Sydney match. There was Majid Khan facing Dennis Lillee. I couldn’t see the ball as Majid was beaten. Sadiq Mohammad and Zaheer Abbas were already dismissed and Lillee had hit Majid on the head. I remember shaking – was it the cold or was it the tension, I didn’t know. Another bouncer, but this time Majid deposited it into the stands. Pakistan won by eight wickets.

 

Things have changed now. Some changes are visible – the advent of Twenty20. But the neutral umpires (you have to watch an Indian umpire in Bangalore 1987 to appreciate that), the helmets and the pitch covers too; the uncultured slash from Virender Sehwag over third-man or a Shahid Afridi miss-hit for six.

 

When I was in school, I was expelled from the second XI for lofting the ball twice in an over. I’d spend hours in front of a small radio, tuning into Test Match Special. There were no talks of money, no fixing issues but just pure love for a game of nobility. No endless analysis and, above all, no Facebook or Twitter ‘experts’ sharing their views.

 

The game has moved on a lot from the days when the world was still young. My first experience of National Stadium Karachi was the same as Lord’s: No chairs, just steps and no shamiana cover either. It was tough going. You dare blink risking missing a wicket or a six. But it was spontaneous and passionate. Today we see replays, but can’t appreciate the game. The serious spectator has disappeared with the space taken up by the Twenty20 enthusiasts. Even at a run-a-ball required, players and spectators still want to see a slog. The ‘we will make them in singles’ just doesn’t exist anymore.

 

It was a quiet and non-commercial game back then – before the advent of Kerry Packer, that is. With money came great things like affluence, viewership, fairer umpiring, innovation and improved fitness. Experience was made to last and the spectacular became imperative. Pitches were toned down, the game shifted towards batting. Tail-enders started hooking and pulling without fear. Fitness improved careers and ‘gods’ were created, greater than the game itself.

 

Cricket died and was cremated. Now we have less skilled players and, at times, it becomes excruciating to see batsmen not capable of concentrating. So while the spectator experience has improved considerably, the quality has gone out of the game.

 

I lament for the game which I loved, but there are very few who hear and understand.

 

(The above article is reproduced with permission from www. http://tribune.com.pk/)

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 17, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

More

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 16, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 41 runs

Womens World T20, 2014

Apr 6, 2014  at Dhaka

Australia Women won by 6 wkts

T20 WC 2014

Apr 6, 2014  at Dhaka

Sri Lanka won by 6 wkts

Womens World T20, 2014

Apr 4, 2014  at Dhaka

England Women won by 9 wkts

T20 WC 2014

Apr 4, 2014  at Dhaka

India won by 6 wkts

Photos

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge play cricket

Videos

Prince William, Kate Middleton meet McGrath, Ellyse

IPL 7: Vintage Jacques Kallis showed his class for Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians

IPL 2014: Onus on Chris Gayle to take Royal Challengers Bangalore all the way

IPL 2014: Capacity crowd at UAE provides glimpse of the T20 league’s huge following

Narendra Modi’s tea-vendor origin influences MS Dhoni in calling laundrymen to clean up BCCI mess

Delhi Daredevils vs Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL 2014 Preview: RCB have advantage over DD sans Kevin Pietersen

Australia BCCI England India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kolkata Knight Riders Lasith Malinga Moments in history Mumbai Indians Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders Royal Challengers Bangalore Sachin Tendulkar

England should stick with Ashley Giles, says Mickey Arthur

Chris Rogers backs Sam Robson to play for England against India, Sri Lanka this summer

IPL 2014: Delhi Daredevils coach Gary Kirsten happy with all-round squad

Glenn McGrath couldn’t resist having a dig at Prince William over Australia’s Ashes win

IPL 7: Ross Taylor happy to be back with Delhi Daredevils

IPL 7: Vintage Jacques Kallis showed his class for Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians

IPL 2014: Onus on Chris Gayle to take Royal Challengers Bangalore all the way

IPL 2014: Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowlers have their work cut out against Delhi Daredevils

IPL 2014: Capacity crowd at UAE provides glimpse of the T20 league’s huge following

Narendra Modi’s tea-vendor origin influences MS Dhoni in calling laundrymen to clean up BCCI mess

Fan of the Day

Mahesh Yadav

Mahesh Yadav

39 Posts | 0 Fans

CCL 4: Live Free Streaming Bhojpuri Dabanggs Vs Chennai Rhinos at Ranchi

Yeh Hain Mohabbatein’s Divyanka Tripathi to tie the knot with boyfriend Ssharad Malhotraa?

Spotting during second trimester — 4 reasons why you shouldn’t neglect it

Katrina Kaif chooses Ranbir Kapoor over her Cannes debut

IPL 2014: Delhi Daredevils coach Gary Kirsten happy with all-round squad

Snoop Dogg recruited for Call of Duty: Ghosts voiceovers

Heartbleed fix may slow Web performance

Spotting or bleeding during third trimester of pregnancy

Chris Rogers backs Sam Robson to play for England against India, Sri Lanka this summer

Also on cricketcountry.com